5 Feb 2003

Closing arguments begin in modern slavery case in Hawaii

6:10 pm on 5 February 2003

The modern slavery case against Daewoosa Samoa owner, Kil Soo Lee, has begun hearing closing arguments in Hawaii.

Lee is charged, along with two former managers, for holding more than 100 imported Asian workers in involuntary servitude and forced labour at his garment factory in American Samoa.

Other charges include money laundering, attempting to bribe a bank official and making false statements.

More than 20 witnesses have testified for the federal government, including a Vietnamese employee who lost her eye in a clash in the factory between imported and local workers.

This is the first case of involuntary servitude that's been taken to court using the US's Human Trafficking 2000 law.

Lee's defense lawyer, Alexander Silvert, says four charges against his client have been dismissed.

The case will be decided by a jury.