Affiliated Scholar Aaron Halegua's Ongoing Legal Work in Saipan

Affiliated Scholar Aaron Halegua’s work on a lawsuit dealing with claims of forced labor/human trafficking of Chinese men while constructing a Saipan casino continues to be featured in the news. Below is an article from the Financial Times. It was also covered in Reuters, The Telegraph, Guam Daily Post, and the local Saipan papers and TV station.


Chinese workers sue Saipan casino over forced labor scheme
March 14, 2019

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (AP) — Seven Chinese men allege in a lawsuit that they were victims of a forced labor scheme while constructing a Saipan casino.

The casino and its contractors violated U.S. trafficking laws by exploiting the workers, the lawsuit said. Saipan is part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The lawsuit was filed in December. It was amended Friday to add trafficking claims and to include casino owner Imperial Pacific as a defendant.

Representatives for Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific and the contractors named in the lawsuit couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

According to the lawsuit, the men were subjected to 12-hour workdays, dormitories without showers or air-conditioning and a dangerous construction site.

“Their supervisors yelled and cursed at them, and forced them to pay fines if they did not work hard enough or arrived late,” the lawsuit said. Imperial Pacific knew about, or “recklessly disregarded” the exploitation by their contractors, the lawsuit said: “However, rushing to complete the project, rather than remedy the situation, Imperial Pacific and its contractors sought to conceal their illegal scheme from government authorities, medical providers, and any party that might hold them accountable.”

U.S. officials announced $14 million in settlements last year with Chinese construction firms building the casino after finding workers were paid less than required.

“Many foreign migrant workers suffer injuries and endure abuse, but have no access to a remedy,” said Aaron Halegua, a New York attorney helping represent the construction workers. “Fortunately, because these events occurred in a U.S. Commonwealth, the plaintiffs are protected under U.S. law.”

 https://www.ft.com/content/efef39d0-471b-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

Wrongful Convictions Observer

Two great pieces on junk science litigation and investigations this week:

The first, from the ABA Journal, tracks a lawsuit by the Innocence Project against the National Museum of Health and Medicine of the Department of Defense seeking disclosure of the records of the American Board of Forensic Odontologists (ABFO) (aka "the bite mark experts"), more here: 

Gelatt Dialogue 2018 Video Highlights

In November 2018, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute hosted our 24th Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia. The theme to the forum was “East Asia, America & International Law'“ with noted speakers from Asia and the United States to discuss human rights, intergovernmental and territorial disputes, and international tribunals.

Financial Times: China’s globetrotting labourers face dangers and debt

Affiliated Scholar Aaron Halegua quoted and referenced in recent Financial Times article. Desperate for cash because he had not been paid for two months and fearing he could be deported because he lacked official papers, Jiang Wei and two colleagues turned up at the Chinese consulate in the Zambian capital of Lusaka in search of help.

Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) 2018 Annual Report

(October 10, 2018) U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair and Cochair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued the Commission’s 2018 Annual Report and announced several new joint initiatives to protect U.S. citizens and residents from intimidation and address possible crimes against humanity occurring in China.

Discussing China's Belt & Road Initiative

Discussing China's Belt & Road Initiative

 On August 31, USALI affiliated scholar, Aaron Halegua, presented his research on worker exploitation in Saipan and labor abuses along China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The conference, held in Brussels, was hosted by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and co-organized by Dr. Maria Adele Carrai, a former visiting scholar (2014-2015) and Global Hauser Fellow (2016-2017) at NYU Law School.

USALI’s May 2018 Trip to China: Preventing Wrongful Convictions – Police Interrogations and False Confessions

In May 2018, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) traveled to China as part of its continuing program to work with partners in Asia to prevent and redress wrongful convictions. Working with Chinese partner institutions, we convened several events in Beijing and Shanghai to share the research and expertise of Western scholars on one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the U.S. and around the world: false confessions.

Book Launch in China

On May 29, 2018 the U.S.-Asia Law Institute held a book launch for two the release of their two newest publications, “Questioning Police Interrogation Methods” and “The Evolution of Pretrial Detention Law.” These two books are the result of many year’s work, and feature a variety of articles from leading legal scholars and practitioners about these two important and evolving fields of pretrial detention and interrogation methods.

The books feature an English language and Chinese language versions, with articles translated into Chinese by USALI staff and scholars. The Evolution of Pretrial Detention Law introduces the history and practice of U.S. and Chinese pretrial release history. Meanwhile, Questioning Police Interrogation Methods offers a perspective and methods to alleviate police-induced false confessions. 


The book launch was held at Beijing Normal University, where friends of USALI, the publisher China Law Press, and contributors to the book gathered to discuss the contents and the evolution of the work itself. USALI Executive Director Ira Belkin states, “I am confident that this book’s groundbreaking research, comprehensive commentary and imaginative proposals will stimulate further law enforcement progress in China and the United States.”



Recent Events: Bail Reform in Massachusetts

USALI has been working with experts in in Asia to share information about criminal justice reform generally and in China to share information about “bail reform”  in particular.  In fact, we have a bilingual book scheduled for publication later this month comparing pre-trial detention regimes in the United States and China.

Jerome A. Cohen Honored with the Order of the Rising Sun from the Government of Japan

April 4, 2018 -- Jerome A. Cohen, NYU Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute, received the illustrious honor of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. Consul General Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi awarded the prestigious honor. The evening also featured congratulations by NYU Law School Dean Trevor Morrison and U.S.-Asia Law Institute Senior Fellow Ren Ito. Professor Cohen was awarded for his outstanding contributions in promoting interactions among Japanese and U.S. legal professionals as well as to enhancing the understanding of Japan among people in U.S. 

2017 - 2018 Visiting Scholar Presentation Series

Every spring the U.S.-Asia Law Institute holds the Visiting Scholar Presentation Series. It's an opportunity for our Visiting Scholars to share their research with the NYU Community. In addition to sharing the research that they have conducted during their year at the Institute, it also allows them to share various topics and issues from their home country. 

Gelatt Dialogue 2017: Watch & Read

On November 6, 2017 the U.S.-Asia Law Institute held its 23rd Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia. This year’s theme - “China and International Law: Human Rights, Sovereignty, and Maritime Disputes” - focused on China's approach to international law during the Xi Jinping era as seen through the Communist Party's human rights record, Taiwan-Mainland cross-strait legal problems, China's maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas and the erosion of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong. This all-day event will feature speakers from China, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as well as the United States.