Charges of Human Trafficking and Labor Violations Filed Against Family-Owned Childcare Centers

September 07, 2018 - 11:35 am

(KNX 1070) -- Charges of human trafficking and labor violations have been brought against a Bay area family.

The family owned and operated the Rainbow Bright adult and childcare centers out of six homes. But Attorney General Xavier Becerra says what was taking place behind the scenes to the mostly immigrant workers was despicable.

Becerra adds that not only is this family of four facing human trafficking charges, but labor offenses including stealing the wages of their workers.

According to a statement from Becerra's office, the defendants— Joshua, 42; Noel, 40; Gerlen, 38; and Carlina Gamos, 67 — were charged with a total of 59 criminal counts, including human trafficking and rape. The defendants targeted members of the Filipino community, many of whom were new to the United States, for labor exploitation. While serving the arrest warrants, agents also seized 14 illegal assault weapons. Of the 14 assault weapons, three were "ghost gun" rifles without serial numbers. Ghost guns allow individuals to bypass background checks and registration regulations.

“No worker in the United States should live in fear or be subjected to violence, abuse or exploitation at the hands of their employer,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The charges against the Gamos family members are despicable. We must not turn a blind eye to abusive labor practices. Report it, and we will investigate and prosecute.”

According to the complaint, Rainbow Bright employees were forced to work nearly 24 hours a day, slept on floors and in garages, and were locked outside in the rain when the owners were not home. Rainbow Bright executives deterred the employees from leaving the dismal working conditions by regularly threatening to turn the employees over to U.S. immigration officials and by confiscating some employees’ passports.

The charges come as the result of a year-long investigation by the California Attorney General’s Office Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force and involving the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Labor, the California Department of Industrial Relations, the California Employment Development Department, the California Department of Social Services, the Pacifica Police Department, the Daly City Police Department, and the South San Francisco Police Department. The Department of Justice, Department of Tax and Fee Administration, Franchise Tax Board, and Employment Development Department pursued this case in partnership as part of the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force.