tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC May 28, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
colleague craig melvin here in new york, great to see you. >> good to see you in the flesh, geoff bennett, good to see you very much, in fact. good morning, msnbc headquarters in new york city. breaking news from the u.s. supreme court, a big decision on abortion tackling a key part of a law in indiana. how could it affect the states in the middle of passing laws of their own to restrict abortion? and an outbreak of tornadoes tears through western ohio. one person dead, homes, schools, businesses, destroyed. and the danger is not over just yet. also ahead this morning, a new warning about the safety of products that we use with our children every day. the woman who used to run the agency tasked with making sure that those products are safe is sounding a new alarm about how her former agency is being run. she's going to join me live. we start with the breaking news, the supreme court striking down parts of an indiana law that limited abortions. the measure was signed into law back in 2016 by then-governor
mike pence. and the decision comes as eight states have passed new restrictive abortion laws. this year alone louisiana is expected to pass its abortion law any time now. our justice correspondent pete williams is outside the high court with details on this particular decision. pete, let's start with what's affected by today's ruling. >> reporter: right, so there were two provisions of this indiana law. one said that you could not get an abortion based on characteristics of the fetus. and groups that opposed this law said if a woman, for example, knew that her child would happen down syndrome, she would have to carry the pregnancy to term and could not seek an abortion. that is the provision that was struck down by the lower courts which the supreme court left intact today, they left intact the lower court rulings that invalidated the provision. the supreme court said it was
expressing no view on the constitutional merits of that provision, but it simply said that it doesn't normally rule on big cases like this unless the lower courts have had a chance to rule on it, and since there was only one lower court decision, it was simply going to duck it. and so the court did not take up an appeal from indiana on that. it left the lower court provision in place that blocked enforcement of that. so that part of the law cannot be enforced. a second provision that was also struck down in the lower courts can be now enforced, and it regulated how fetal remains are to be disposed of. the law said the fetal remains could not be disposed of as medical waste but could be buried or cremated. that is a provision of the law that the supreme court reversed the lower court on and is allowing the state to enforce. as to the alarming significance, the supreme court said that the opponents of these provisions never argued that either one was
an undue burden on a woman's right of access to abortion. that undue burden phrase is key to challenges to abortion restrictions over the years. it comes from a sort of seminal case in this area from the supreme court earlier. so the supreme court seemed to be signaling that it's not really taking another look at the undue burden test, that it didn't enter at all into the calculus today. there were only two signed opinions today, one from clarence thomas, basically agreeing with what the court did, and one from ruth bader ginsburg, who said the court applied the wrong test in upholding this fetal remains provision. so it's hard to see that there's much of a wider significance here. the court seemed to be trying to thread a very, very narrow path here, craig. >> really quickly here, and you may not know the answer to this question, that's not going to
stop me from asking the question, with regards to fetal remains, what if a woman can't afford to have the remains of a fetus disposed of by cremation or burial? >> reporter: you know, the provision has never gone into effect, because it had been blocked by the lower courts almost as soon as it was passed in 2016. so there is very little experience with how the law is going to work. >> okay. justice correspondent pete williams, outside the supreme court, pete, thank you as always, sir. meanwhile, this country's heartland is reeling from those devastating storms and flooding. monday marked the 13th straight day that at least eight tornadoes touched down. severe weather has been pummelling the midwest since last week. in oklahoma alone, flooding is a danger after the area was hit with severe tornadoes and thunderstorms. meanwhile, in ohio, this was the scene as a tornado tore through
montgomery county's largest city. this was the seen in dayton, at least one person was reported dead in celina, ohio. more than 50,000 people are without power in that area alone. nbc's gabe gutierrez has made his way to dayton. gabe, what are you seeing there, what are people on the ground telling you? >> reporter: hi there, craig. we're starting to see the amount of devastation here both from the ground and also from the air, from the drone that we're now starting to get a look at all this damage. this is grafton-kennedy elementary. this is a school that was just ripped apart. the ceiling collapsed on several of the classrooms. luckily of course no one was inside. this tornado ripped through here late last night, sometime around 10:30 or so. as you mentioned, craig, this was a wide swath of severe weather that campaign through not only ohio but indiana and several other streets as well. at least 52 reports of a
tornado, just last night overnight alone, as you mentioned, one person was killed in nearby celina, ohio, according to the mayor there. at least 40 people throughout ohio were injured as well. many people still without power. and authorities are now going door to door to mind sure some of the hardest hit neighborhoods may not have had anyone trapped inside. they had to rescue some people trapped inside their homes yesterday. shelters have been set up here. the governor is expected to tour this area, this hard-hit part of ohio later on today. again, the full extent of the devastation, craig, we're just starting to see it now, now that it's first light. >> my goodness, the devastation that you can see there using that drone, it really is quite remarkable. perhaps even more remarkable, not to diminish the one death, but you look at the widespread damage and it's pretty amazing that we haven't seen more fatalities and injuries. again, the look there at what
used to be an elementary school in dayton, ohio. our gabe gutierrez on the ground surveying the damage. gabe, we'll come back to you a little bit later and try to get another assessment as people literally start to pick up the pieces there. meanwhile, back to politics. president trump expected back in washington just a few hours from now. the president wrapping up his weekend trip to japan with a visit to u.s. troops stationed there. but the trip was not without controversy. the president, while abroad, contradicting his own advisers on the seriousness of the north korea missile launch and publicly agreeing with north korean leader kim jong-un's unflattering assessment of democratic presidential candidate joe biden. philippe ryan is former assistant deputy secretary of state and nbc reporter hallie jackson.
hallie, there has been some criticism on the president's comments on north korea and joe biden specifically. what more can you tell us about th that? >> reporter: craig, the criticism is coming from both side of the aisle for president trump, specifically on the comments he made first in tweet form and then in spoken between form at a news conference next to prime minister shinzo abe that essentially kim jong-un was correct when he insulted former vice president joe biden. president trump was pressed about this by my colleague in the white house, jeff mason, about how the president could feel comfortable or appropriate siding with the north korean dictator over an american citizen, a former american vice president. president trump said he believed kim jong-un's attack on biden were correct. this shows how the president has his eye on domestic politics even as he's dealing with thorny foreign affairs issues in japan.
prime minister abe has spent the last four days trying to shower president trump with ceremonies, with praise, full of golf and sumo and a royal visit and a hibachi style dinner. president trump was supposed to feel comfortable here, that was the goal as prime minister abe tried to reinforce that friendship with an important ally. that said, president trump was clearly thinking about 2020. the attacks on joe biden have drawn criticism not just from democrats, including, by the way, some of biden's primary rifles like pete buttigieg, but also from republicans, congressman adam kinzinger, overnight from congressman pete king, who is not somebody who often speaks out against president trump, which is notable. let me play for you what the president had to say at that news conference we researchers. referenced. >> does it give you pause at all to be appearing to side with a brutal dictator instead of with a fellow american, the former vice president, joe biden? >> well, kim jong-un made a statement that joe biden is a
low iq individual. he probably is, based on his record. i think i agree with him on that. but at the same time, my people think it could have been a violation, as you know. i view it differently. i view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention, and perhaps not, who knows? >> reporter: so that's the fallout there on the domestic politics front, craig. as far as the foreign policy front, there's also fallout, because president trump had a notable split, not just with his own advisers, including national security adviser john bolton, but with prime minister abe, when president trump dismissed the idea that north korea was violating u.n. security council resolutions with its recent missile testing. that is something that prime minister abe does not agree with, standing along side the president. why is that important? listen, japan is right in the zone of potential danger if north korea were to do something
more than simply test missiles. this is a real concern for abe. and he made that very clear, even in this weekend that was intended to make president trump feel at home. speaking of home, he lands back home later this afternoon, craig. he's currently about 30,000 feet above ground level heading back to washington. ate pret it's a pretty quick trip at home for him, he will turn around four days later and head to london and then france for the anniversary of d-day, and the first official visit to the uk. watch for him to receive much less of a warm welcome than he did in tokyo. we know protests are already being planned. >> outgoing prime minister there theresa may, and if i'm not mistaken, hallie, he'll be back in tokyo in just a few weeks for the g20. >> reporter: we're on the road a lot this month. >> a lot of frequent flier miles. philippe, your take on what we heard from president trump there in japan. his remarks on north korea, his remarks on joe biden. how surprised were you?
>> not at all. i'm sure that donald trump is are anxious to get back to the united states so he can resume his usually routine of tweeting, lying, and golfing, which he had to forego in japan. obviously i'm being facetious, there's absolutely no difference in his behavior when here or there. i think hallie touched on an important point, which is, look, he can have whatever opinion he wants about north korea's intentions and kim jong-un in terms of their missile testing, not about joe biden. but he's going -- he went to south korea, he went to japan. these are places, when you're in japan, you don't say, oh, i don't think it's a big deal. that's the equivalent of going to an american town in the mid-california or arizona, and there being smoke billowing over the next set of streets, and saying, oh, my people say fire is bad, but i have a different opinion, i don't think fire is bad, you have nothing to worry about, see you, take care, i'm going home. these countries worry about these things, these leaders
worry about these things. on biden, what's amazing to me is that for someone who is such a fraud and who is such a liar, he can't recognize in other people when they are lying and playing him. he had kim jong-un saying -- do you think kim jong-un has an opinion of joe biden? maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. it's not coincidence that it's a low iq individual. he's playing donald trump. then you fast forward ten minutes and donald trump is saying, oh, kim jong-un might not be doing anything wrong with these missiles. it's amazing that he doesn't process it. and it's amazing that the republicans around him tolerate it. and you know, hallie made a really good point, for pete king to come out and criticize trump, you know he's gone too far. >> philippe, here's the thing that strikes me. from a strategic standpoint, politically speaking, one has to wonder, in this crowded field of democrats, why the president would continue to treat joe biden like the frontrunner, to continue to go after him specifically and directly. that's what continues to strike
me as strange, purely from a strategic standpoint. >> yeah, well, i think there are two schools of thought with donald trump about everything, whether it's politics, whether it's international diplomacy. it's, one, that he's this evil genius who everything, every action has a meaning behind it, has a strategy. or the other, which i find myself in, which is that he's basically an amoeba, he basically does whatever is in front of him, no different than any other single cell organism. and when he attacks joe biden, it's because he probably saw joe biden on tv or he read a poll that says joe biden is the frontrunner. he's nervous about joe biden. he doesn't want to face joe biden. he knows that head to head polls have joe biden beating him by as much as ten points. he knows that the key to 2020 is his retaining pennsylvania and he knows that biden will give him a run for the money. that don't mean he's not nervous about others in the field. again, he sees biden on tv, he reacts to biden on tv. if for some reason we have a
different frontrunner a week from now, i don't think he'll be fixating on biden, he'll be fixating on whoever is the frontrunner at that time. >> thank you, philippe. hallie jackson, safe travels back to america. historic trial. the first case holding a drug maker responsible for the deadly opioid epidemic that's plaguing this country. that trial beginning right now in oklahoma. should a drug company be held criminally liable for the opioid crisis? we'll dig into that. too many options? why that crowded democratic field of 2020 contenders may come down to a basic rule of retail. ke up! there's a lot that needs to get done today. small things. big things. too hard to do alone things. day after day, you need to get it all done. and here to listen and help you through it all is bank of america. with the expertise and know-how you need to reach that blissful state of done-ness.
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my owner got a new puppy. my name is tiny. nobody cares. right now in norman, oklahoma, the first major trial in the opioid crisis is getting under way. that state suing drug maker johnson & johnson over its role in the opioid crisis. it could set a precedent for giant pharmaceutical companies, testing whether drug manufacturers can be held liable for a drug crisis that's straining so many communities, destroying fast and financially-strapped local governments as well. i'm joined by a former "new york times" reporter who is the author of "painkiller: an empire of deceit and the origin of america's opioid epidemic." this is a book that came out, at least the first print, in 2003,
long before a lot of folks would even acknowledge the crisis that exists right now in so many communities. oklahoma, as you know, just a tip of the iceberg. there are similar claisases, as understand it, for similar drug makers, in nearly 1,900 federal lawsuits. you've been researching this for 20 years now. do you think personally that drug maker should held liable? >> craig, there's been a huge amount of damage caused by the overmarketing of opioids. cities and states have absorbed tremendous expenses in the treatment of drug addiction. so the question ultimately for this judge and other judges and jurors to answer is whether manufacturers and drug distributors need to bear a portion of those costs. >> based on your research, is there a conclusion that you can draw or are you reluctant to do that because even though you're no longer at "the new york
times," you're still a big "j" journalist? >> i'll let the judges and juries make those calls. >> i got it. how important is it as far as winning the money? >> it's important for drug companies and manufacturers of all kinds to be held accountable for their actions. it's game on now in the legal system, where this epidemic is concerned. >> you first started reporting on this crisis in 2001, when someone serving on the board that regulates ohio's pharmacies tipped you off that a drug called oxycontin appeared to be highly addictive despite the company's claims otherwise. you wrote in your book at the same time, you wrote a book sounding the alarm 18 years ago. why do you think that government has been so slow to respond? >> it's been remarkable and it's been a tragedy. the pharmaceutical industry is very powerful.
it can purchase politicians. it can hire forceful advocates and allies. you had rudolph giuliani working for many years for purdue pharma as one of its main interlocutors with government agencies. it's taken a long time to get to the point where 60,000 people are dying a year of drug overdoses both from prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like counterfeit fentanyl, for governments to start taking actions, to start taking this seriously. >> you updated your book and expanded it last year. what's changed since you started your research back in 2001? why did you feel like you needed to update the book? >> like all journalists, you think that when you write about something you're going to do something to affect the situation. all that i found here was that the number of deaths was increasing every year, the number of prescriptions, for
prescription painkillers, was increasing every year. and the situation was growing more and more out of control. >> barry meier, thank you. we'll keep a close eye on that trial in oklahoma and we hope you'll come back. >> thanks so much. democratic hopeful joe biden holding his first town hall tonight as a candidate. we'll look at his strategy of who doesn't keep a low profile in the early part of this campaign. how long can that last? gn how long can that last
a first today for vice president joe biden in the campaign episodes to ride to the white house. in just a few hours mr. biden will take part in his first town hall, taking questions from an audience of teachers in houston, texas. our road warriors have it covered. they're on the trail today, garrett haake is in houston for biden's event. vaughn hillyard is in greenville, south carolina, talking specifically to african-american voters there, as senator kamala harris prepares for her own town hall at the best college in the united states of america on msnbc tonight.
vau vaughn, we'll get to you in a moment, garrett, let's start with you there in texas. why is this biden's first stop since announcing his candidacy, his first town hall, i should say, and what should we expect? >> reporter: craig, at this stage of the game, especially if you're the frontrunner, you can have your finance schedule with more priority than your other schedules. you have 4 million people in harris county, that's more people than live in iowa and new hampshire combined, and texas is a super tuesday state. there's real value in campaigning here particularly in this cycle. oh, by the way, you have two other texans on the primary ballot in this race so far. i've been talking to voters this morning, a wide, diverse group of opinions about this race. i'm struck by unanimity, some
skepticism about biden, work that he's still going to have to do to convince voters he's the right man for this particular moment. take a listen. >> it doesn't, because i don't really believe in it. i don't think you beat something so far right with something so middle ground. joe biden is so middle ground for me and i think you need something farther left to combat that. >> uncle joe, everybody likes an uncle, but he's barack obama's friend, he's got the cool black friend, that's all it is. joe has a terrible history in the black community. and everybody just loves him because he's the fluffy old guy. he has given us no policies. and i like joe biden. but he's -- >> reporter: it doesn't sound like it. >> i do like joe biden, as a vice president. >> reporter: so there's something there, craig. look, there are 22 other campaigns that would probably happily trade places with joe
biden. the undisputed frontrunner across the board right now. but it's clear he's going to have some work to do to turn those poll numbers into real committed support throughout the duration of what could be a very long primary. >> you know, i've said this before, i love it when we can hear from actual voters. make sure that sound bite that you just played gets on the internet, garrett there in houston. let me turn to upstate south carolina. vaughn, california's senator kamala harris is going to be at my alma mater, wofford college tonight, for this town hall. if i remember correctly, that's a half hour from where you are right now. the voters that you talked to, what are they most interested in hearing from the senator? >> reporter: good morning, craig, we're about 40 minutes away from your campus of wofford college down here over in greenville, south carolina. you asked what are voters here looking for from the candidates. to be clear, to prebut that very
question if i may, a lot of these folks want to hear from the candidates. some of the people i spoke with, the question on their mind was who is kamala harris. let me introduce you to jada campbell in katarina, lopez. what about kamala harris? >> kamala harris. haven't heard of kamala harris. is he representing the democratic party? or independent? >> reporter: kamala harris is actually a democratic senator from california. >> oh, okay. >> reporter: he's a woman of color, she's going to be down the road in spartanburg. >> do you know who you're talking about? i'm sorry. >> reporter: it's okay. you would be interested to know more about her, though? >> absolutely. >> i heard you guys talking about harris. >> reporter: kamala harris. >> yes. i'm not sure how to say her name. she sounds very interesting and i was definitely wanting to hear a little bit more when i had walked past because i tried to do a quick google search, it just brought up her campaigning
and whatnot. >> reporter: in defense of both those women you heard from, craig, there are issues that are very much important to them. the first woman, jada, is a waitress, trying to raise enough money to go return to college. but what we hear, and again, to their defense, there's 23 candidates in this race. if you look across the country, morning consult released a poll this week showing where african-americans' support is. most of it is with joe biden, with bernie sanders and kamala harris behind him. folks know who bernie sanders and joe biden is. kamala harris is just in her third year in the u.s. senate. she's from california. there is a large part, just because you've been here six times does not mean the folks here in south carolina are familiar with you. and what we heard from those women and other folks that we talked to is that they want to hear from these candidates. that's a good eight months until the south carolina primary.
they will vote but they first need to get that introduction. that's why a town hall like this for kamala harris tonight is important, because there's still much introducing on her behalf to do. >> clearly. vaughn hillyard there in greenville, garrett haake in houston. let me bring in my friend christina greer, an associate professor of political science at fordham university, also a columnist with a podcast. we can't work in everything. >> that's all right. >> let's start with kamala harris, where vaughn just left off there. it would seem as if there's a bit of a name i.d. issue for the california senator, probably not just in south carolina. >> right. and this is where we're seeing the biden/bernie bump, in the sense that, keep in mind, bernie was around in 2016, there was a long, contentious primary with hillary clinton. so he has a strong built-in name i.d., obviously joe biden after eight years with barack obama. the key for kamala harris, she needs to win in south carolina or do very well in south carolina. it's not just go there and visit
or do these town halls, but really get surrogates on the ground who will do the work when she's traveling across the country. people who are either faith leaders or pillars of the community who have some sort of respect, who can then build in her name recognition and her name i.d. when she's not there. and so that's the gulf that she needs to cross. it's still very early, we're eight months away. the media follows certain candidates. >> shine owe objects, you cy ob it. >> we know kamala harris will do well on the debate state, pete buttigieg will do well on the debate stage, they'll get an elevated bump after the first few debates just because kamala harris is very pointed, we've seen her in the judicial committees in the senate. this is sort of a natural stage for her. elizabeth warren has a plan for literally everything. and pete buttigieg, with his
sort of message of honesty, he's kind of the positive hope candidate of the 23 right now. i think that will resonate with voters as well. we'll see bernie and biden possibly getting frustrated with so many people getting attention. >> let's turn to biden for a moment. nbc news sort of took a unique look at his candidacy, alex seitz-wald talked to a psychologist who studies consumer habits, and basically he says that when buyers have too many options, they tend to stick with the brand they know most. quote, instead of choosing on the basis of policies or past performance people may choose on the basis of something easy to evaluate like familiarity. he suggests that explains the joe biden phenomenon in this huge field of candidates. a lot of folks came to know joe biden as barack obama's vice president. to hear the guy in texas call
it, that's all that joe biden has going for him with african-american voters. >> in may of 2019, joe biden is leading the pack. we'll see what that looks like in january of 2020, when kamala harris, elizabeth warren, someone like pete buttigieg, maybe even mayor de blasio, have time to talk about their messaging and their plans, because once you start to scratch the surface for joe biden, beyond being barack obama's best friend for eight years, there are some things that are of great concern. so as i talked about last week, i think there is a real generational divide as to what voters want, what they're familiar with, and sort of what they're comfortable with right now. but that could very well change in the course of the next few months especially since joe biden has missed the mark on several key issues these past few weeks. >> i notice you worked for de blasio. >> we're in new york. as i said before, his idea of working people as opposed to working class people, if he can get that in and seed that with a lot of voters, i think that
could really resonate, maybe not coming from him, but the idea of working people is fundamentally different than this working class people that joe biden is talking about, going to scranton, coal minorers, a very white male viewing of the democratic party, where is working people is more ethnic and gender diverse group of people. >> professor, thanks as always. again, tonight senator kamala harris will join lawrence o'donnell for a live town hall at my alma mater, wofford college in south carolina, tonight at 10:00 eastern only on msnbc. the former head of the consumer product safety commission slamming the trump administration for failing to protect our children. we'll explain why. and inside the lives of millions of people forced into labor in this country, an nbc news exclusive. severe rheumat,
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children with multiple reports of injuries. app brownann brown joins us now. walk us through the examples you cite here, what concerns you most about what you're seeing? >> first of all, craig, thank you for having me. and we shouldn't expect any safety for children from an administration that has separated parents at the borders, that keeps children in cages wrapped in tin foil. and we see the consumer product safety commission following in that. they have a name, pretty in pink. but this fisher-price and kids 2 sleeper has had multiple deaths. 36 deaths since 2011. the kids are in the sleepers and they can turn over, they get face down, and they suffocate.
and this has been a terrible problem. and the agency just recalled them even though they knew about them since 2013 because it was in consum"consumer reports" and another magazine. that's scandalous, to treat children's safety like that. then we have the bridx bob's stroller, a stroller parents can push while they're jogging. but a mother in cleveland found that when she pushed the child in the stroller, the front wheel rolled off. and there have been reports of 200 such incidents with this stroller. and multiple very serious injuries. and nothing was done until two republicans appointed by trump decided there should not be any kind of a mandatory standard but they should just do a robust
educational campaign. and they had a few things that could repair it. the only problem is, is that the replacements had to be recalled also because one of the replacements had a problem. so you see the kind of thing that's happening. we still have a consistent problem with furniture tipover. >> ann, you also write about how your former agency is testing products, quote, for decades the agency has had a children's product defect team in its office of compliance and field operations, i trusted those experts, you wrote, they spotted defects in children's products had got manufacturers to recall those products. do you think, ann, that part of it is incompetence or do you think it's indifference? >> well, this group was terrific, they spotted the problems ahead of time.
i depended on them totally to know everything about children's products. and it is no more. i think it's not only indifference. i think there's a certain kind of can't care, make it work, make it look all right for the industry. i think that parents should be very fearful that they are not having safe products for their kids, even though it appears that this agency is trying to do the job. >> ann brown, we'll leave it there, former consumer product safety commission chairman under president clinton. thank you for your time, it's a fascinating op-ed, i hope folks read it. human trafficking hiding in plain sight. millions brought to this country and forced to work in jobs that you may benefit from. our jacob soboroff is going to share his eye-opening exclusive investigation. this is the couple who wanted to get away
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and your family perhaps benefit from. jacob soboroff is here with a very, very reeling look. >> you know, craig, president trump has talked a lot about ending human trafficking, he's made it a top priority for him. but if the first year of his visas, the number that were given out were halved and backlog has been created. a pending visa applications of those who are victims of human trafficking. we want the figure out who was caught in the middle. take a look. are rp l >> reporter: los angeles international airport. >> this is men's restroom. this is an advertisement target victims of human trafficking. they want the victims to call this national human trafficking hotline. the reason social security here -- it's here in the bathroom is because this is one of the places where trarvfficking victs
are alone. >> folks are reaching out 24 hours aday leaving trafficking situations. >> police are ware of the situation. >> reporter: calls come in from all over the country and involve potential victims from all over the world. over 40 million people are trafficked worldwide. the vast majority in labor slavery. that includes jobs in domestic service, farm work, restaurants, construction and service industries. >> you may get more sex trafficking calls but that's not reflective of what type of trafficking is the majority in the united states. >> yes. >> labor trafficking is forced against your will to work. you thought you were going to be a manager and turns out you're forced to be maid. >> reporter: back in los angeles, attorney anita works on behalf of trafficking victims. >> the majority of cases are labor trafficking cases. a lot of times they go and work at a restaurant and are not being paid correctly. they feel like they can't go anywhere else.
many times victims don't self-identify as victims. >> even though they might be a slave? >> right. >> reporter: we went to meet some of the traffic victims she's represented. >> hi. jacob. >> reporter: the house in east hollywood is where a handful of 1100 traffic thai workers live today. >> are you able to go home? >> they took my passport so i couldn't. >> everybody's they took away? >> yes. >> reporter: they lived and worked in conditions like heez in hawaii and washington state. they were given $9 day to live on but that stopped after a month. they asked from help and arranged for labor attorney to visit the farm. the traffickers found out. >> the supervisor came back with guns. >> reporter: the u.s. granted them visas. they were able to bring their
wives and children over from thailand. >> what does it make you think that you parents had a tough time? >> like, oh my god. it's hard to describe. >> reporter: hard to describe because evidence can be ambiguous and potential victims afraid to talk. >> arnie were tipped off is there's human trafficking victims living in an apartment on that corner. >> it's right down the street. >> here is the building. i'm a journalist. this is my colleague. we're doing a story about the economy in the area. >> he says he's been promised a lot and it hasn't panned out. he says bosses here are very bad. >> the bosses are very bad. he says american bosses are better but the chinese are very bad. >> reporter: to speak more freely, he came out on the sidewalk. >> he says the chinese bosses
haven't paid him. >> he said he's only here for about 20 days then he's off to florida, new york. he's working all over the country. >> if he wanted to leave and go back to kmie thchina, could you? >> he said he left something on the stove. we followed him and we were greeted by man who had been inside that same apartment. >> shut up. >> okay, okay. >> reporter: it was clearly time the leave. we headed to show our footage to deputy los angeles city attorney who heads an anti-labor trafficking task force. sgh >> he seemed to be very free until you asked about china. >> he's not wearing handcuffs. he's not trapped inside this building. how the we know for sure? >> that's the challenge. this is not a physical forced
situation. remember, coheoergs takes different forms. >> how do we spot a troubling situation? >> generally there are tells. the guy we spoke with said things i have to go back and forth between jobs every 20 days or so all across the country. my bosses aren't giving me what i'm promised. many trafficking victims don't self-identify as being trafficked. the other part is so many people think trafficking is sex trafficking. the bottom line is labor trafficking makes up the vast majority of the cases. it doesn't minimize the horrendous nature of the sex traffic cases. they are very hard to prosecute because it's hard to point the finger at who is responsible. >> thank you. we want the pass along this phone number to the hotline that jacob joe eshowed us. there's the phone number. it's the national human trarvegitrarveg i -- trafficki inkin inking hotl. we're going to put that phone number on the website as well.
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