In a case that left us all breathless, a courageous young woman stood up against Carnival Cruise Line today, when she contacted an attorney in Miami, Florida while allegedly being held against her will aboard Carnival Glory, forced into labor, used as slave labor, and alleges Carnival Cruise Lines is trafficking in slave labor, with other crew members also being held against their will.
Reshma Harilal, age 33, says she is being held against her will aboard the cruise ship still at sea, her passport was taken away from her, and that the cruise line lured her from her native home in South Africa with the promise of a cabin stewardess job earning $3000 a month, but instead she got the old bait and switch. She says that she has a signed contract for the better job description and pay, and wants the money that’s coming to her per her contract.
Once she arrived in Florida and boarded the ship, with little money to care for herself, she says the cruise line told her she could not work in the promised job description and instead placed her in a position as an assistant to a cabin steward making only $500-600 a month.
When she refused to work in the lower paying position, and requested to be sent home, she says her request was refused, she was held aboard against her will, and has asked a Florida court to force the cruise line to release her from the cruise ship Carnival Glory where she alleges she is being forced to work as slave labor.
Carnival Glory was in Port Canaveral on Saturday February 9th, and that is when Harilal requested her passport so she could leave the ship and go back home. Instead, she says officers refused to give her back her passport, holding her aboard and then left port with her aboard.
The passport Reshma holds is not the usual C1/D1 work visa other employees have, she is on a tourist visa. Holding her against her will is wrong on numerous levels. She has a daughter in Florida, and wanted to get off the ship while it was in port there to be with her daughter.
In addition, her petition alleges when she became ill suffering from a rash, they refused her medical care and told her if she insisted on getting medical care, she would be terminated.
Other crew members on cruise ships have told the public, that if the cruise lines decide you are not medically fit for work, it means being dumped in the nearest port, without money or any means to get home. Since Glory is cruising the Bahamas at this point in time, it would be a long way home for Reshma.
Then, Reshma alleges when she became desperate to get medical care and requested to be removed from the ship, officers prevented her from exiting the ship. She alleges in her complaint the the cruise line has enslaved crew members including herself and that the line is trafficking in human slavery.
Ms. Harilal alleges she is not the only slave aboard Glory, that other crew members are suffering the same horrible conditions, being held against their will and being paid wages way below what they were promised in signed contracts.
Reshma’s complaint outlines the damages she seeks, and that includes the seizure of the vessel used to commit the crime of forced labor, slavery and human trafficking, a penalty that is allowed by U.S. Law.
Carnival denies the allegations.
Cruise Bruise is asking other crew members who have worked for, are working for Carnival Cruise Lines, to come forward if you were held on the ship against you will, the ship’s officers refused to get back your passport, you signed contracts for one pay description and grade but were paid for lower pay grades, were refused medical treatment or were forced off ships in foreign ports because you were deemed medically unfit to work. Tell us your story.
Another incident also took place on Saturday February 9, 2008. The bomb squad was called to Terminal 10 at Port Canaveral where Carnival Glory was docked. A suspicious package shut down operatiions at the port until the package was identified and the owner was located. Passenger were beginning to board Carnival Glory for this same cruise, when the incident took place.
Less than two weeks ago, on February 1, 2008, another crew member mysteriously disappeared off of Carnival Glory in the middle of the night. That crew member was never found. The case is here
A copy of the official court petition is – here