BATON ROUGE, La.—About 350 Filipino teachers who worked in Louisiana will receive about $2,200 each in a class-action lawsuit against a placement agency, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers announced Oct. 25. The teachers had been forced to pay $5,000 plus 10% of their second-year salary to Universal Placement International and its head, Lourdes “Lulu” Navarro, to get jobs around the state. A 19th Judicial District Court judge upheld the state Workforce Commission’s 2010 order that the placement firm and Navarro had to pay the teachers $1.8 million. The state Department of Education had paid Navarro $47,500 to recruit 25 teachers for the New Orleans “Recovery School District” after Hurricane Katrina, the LFT said, and as many as 160 had worked in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system as of 2009. Most were women and taught math, science, and special education. “This is the bittersweet ending to a sad story of exploitation,” LFT President Larry Carter said in a statement. “While these teachers can never be properly compensated for their suffering, we have at least vindicated the rule of law and sent a strong message to those who would profit from such human trafficking.”

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