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Guatemala, Guatemala – July 11, 2013

Press Conference and Report Release
 
The trickle of reporter and news media outlets this morning quickly turned into a downpour of demands on the press release speakers’ time, as TV crews, radios, and print journalists pulled Global Workers’ Executive Director, Cathleen Caron, and report author and Global Workers defender Aroldo Palacios aside for one-on-one interviews. The press release, or Rueda de Prensa, stayed true to its name, driving speakers to answer rounds of identical questions during the press conference for our report,  Confiscation of Property Titles by Recruiters in Guatemala of Temporary Workers with H-2B Visas
 
The report draws attention to and publicly denounces the corrupt practice of appropriation of property titles by recruiters of temporary migrant workers. The investigation is based on 10 cases brought to Guatemalan courts by its author, where he documented the pilfering of worker after worker, as recruiters forced them to surrender their property titles as collateral to make sure they fulfilled the terms of their H-2B contracts despite any abusive working conditions. The reports findings reveal a worrisome practice that is widely accepted by temporary workers throughout the country as quid pro quo for seeking a better life. It also cites Article 34 of the Federal Labor Code and examines its enforcement. 
 
The public release of the report succeeded with a panel cosponsored by the Pastoral de Movilidad Humana de la Conferencia Episcopal de Guatemala, the Oficina de Derechos Humanos del Arzobispado de Guatemala, and the entire Global Workers Defender Network. 
 
Recommendations stemming from the report: 
1. Information sharing to enable the filing of complaints against illegal confiscation of property deeds.
2. Raise Awareness – inform workers that they have no obligation to hand over their property titles to recruiters.
3. Urge Guatemalan and U.S. authorities to take legal action against recruiters to eliminate this practice in Guatemala.

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