About a dozen international students are suing Western Iowa Tech Community College, accusing the school of forced labor and trafficking, NBC News reported.
The lawsuit – filed last Monday – accuses the school of coercing students from Brazil and Chile to come to the school under a J-1 visa program.
Students were told the program was a two-year study, where they would complete internships related to their field of study and would work no more than 32 hours a week, according to the lawsuit.
But the students allege they were given jobs at a pet food company or a food packing company, working longer than 32 hours a week at jobs that “had no educational value and were completely unrelated to their intended fields of study.”
Other allegations include Western Iowa Tech taking some of the students’ wages for fees and that non-complying students were told they would be removed from the program and sent back home.
“Western Iowa Tech Community College vehemently denies the claims brought forth in the lawsuit,” WITCC President Terry Murrell said in a statement. “These accusations are completely untrue, sensational, and offensive. We look forward to defending the College and its employees in district court and welcome the opportunity [to] refute these malicious allegations.”