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Man enslaved in United States reunites with family in Tampa

Jimmy Pineda left Honduras to provide for family
Posted: 10:14 PM, Jun 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-16 03:26:01Z

TAMPA — A family is reunited in Tampa after their father was enslaved in the United States. 

Jimmy Pineda lived in Honduras. He left Honduras to go to the United States so he could provide for his family.

He said he was promised the American Dream. Instead, he worked for no pay in Michigan. 

"He was working in the fields of Florida and was recruited by some labor traffickers that do a recruitment BBQ for the most vulnerable, unconnected, undocumented workers, and they bring them up North (Michigan) with a bunch of promises," said Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch with Migrant Legal Aid. 

ABC Action News spoke with Pineda with the help of a translator, David Carr Diaz. 

"The desire of leaving my country in Honduras was so I was able to provide for my family a better future and give them the things they need," said Pineda.

Pineda became a victim of labor trafficking. He was forced to work for no money in Michigan. 

"There were days when we were inside and wouldn't come out at all. I spent 20 days without even seeing the sunlight," said Pineda.

Pineda was rescued with the help of a non-profit based in Michigan, Migrant Legal Aid. 

"We have families that are kept apart. We have workers that are kidnaped and beaten like Jimmy was and his food rationed and kept captive, and this is an increasing problem and not a decreasing problem," said Hendricks-Pitsch.  

Pineda wrote a declaration to the United States government outlining what he endured. 

"The declaration he had to make is a form of an affidavit. We give it to the government and that explains to them how he got into this situation of labor trafficking," said Hendricks-Pitsch.

The non-profit helped the rest of his family come to the United States.

"We were able to move his family over because they are derivatives of trafficking visa," said Hendricks-Pitsch.

Pineda is living in Tampa with his wife and 3 children. He said he'll do everything to make up for those lost years.

"It was a great emotion just gathering with the whole family again," said Pineda.