Three members of the Filipino-American Gamos family were sentenced to prison in San Mateo County Superior Court after being found guilty of human trafficking and labor-related crimes, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
The sentencing stems from crimes committed over a decade while the Gamos family operated the Rainbow Bright daycare and residential care company in Daly City, ABS-CBN reported.
Sentences imposed included nine years, eight months for Joshua Gamos, five years for Noel Gamos, and five years, eight months for Carlina Gamos.
Gerlen Gamos previously pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date. The restitution hearing is scheduled for March 2, 2023.
The defendants targeted members of the Filipino community, many of whom were recent immigrants, using threats of arrest and deportation, false promises of immigration assistance, and passport confiscation.
“However, today’s sentencing did not recognize the level of horror that the Rainbow Bright victims experienced at the hands of the Gamos Family,” Bonta —who is Filipino-American—said in a statement.
“After ten years of abuse and nearly five years of court proceedings, today’s sentencing only put them through more trauma. The victims showed resilience and courage throughout the proceedings.”
“We stand with them and will continue our fight to protect all Californians from injustice—because all Californians deserve dignity and respect,” he added.
The jury returned 38 felony guilty verdicts with multiple enhancements and aggravating factors against these defendants.
Employees of Rainbow Bright were forced to work excessive hours and sleep on floors and garages.
They were also deterred from leaving the dismal conditions by threats of being turned over to immigration officials and passport confiscation.
The jury found that the defendants took over $500,000 (about P27.2 million) from the scheme and acted with cruelty, viciousness, and callousness.
The California Department of Justice’s Victims’ Services Unit has worked with victim service providers to provide resources and support for survivors and their families throughout the case.
The Attorney General noted that human trafficking is a major issue in California and is prevalent in various industries, including hospitality, commercial sex, and construction.