Attorney General Ken Paxton today sued Austin Eco Bilingual School, a Spanish immersion preschool, accusing founder Adriana Rodriguez of labor trafficking. The victims found themselves in a dangerously mismanaged daycare that showed total disregard for immigration, labor, and child licensing laws. The foreign-born employees were lured to Texas with promises of lawful status, a decent salary and a rewarding career, but were instead victimized by an unscrupulous employer who trafficked them for their labor.
“Labor trafficking, like all human trafficking, is a manipulative and despicable form of evil. I will not stand by while traffickers use the promise and prosperity of Texas to recruit and exploit victims,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Ending human trafficking in Texas is one of my top priorities, and no trafficker will be allowed to operate schools and victimize the people who teach and care for our youngest, most vulnerable members of society.”
Rodriguez, who was once named the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Businesswoman of the Year, sabotaged and controlled her employees’ ability to work legally in the U.S. She threatened to have them deported, arrested, or separated from their children if they did not continue to work – often for far less pay than promised or no pay at all. Rodriguez kept her victims quiet and under control, which sometimes included forcing them to hide in closets or flee when childcare licensing inspectors arrived. She also constantly kept her employees from complaining by highlighting her connections to high-ranking law enforcement and other government officials. One former employee quoted Rodriguez as saying, “I am a very important person, and I can destroy you whenever I choose.”
If you or someone you know may have been a victim of labor trafficking at Austin Eco Bilingual School or elsewhere, please contact the Office of the Attorney General, Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section at (512) 463-1646 or [email protected].
Read a copy of the lawsuit here.