Saket Soni

September 19, 2023 - 7:15pm
Prairie Lights

In a special event is sponsored by University of Iowa International Programs, The Center for Human Rights, and The Labor Center, author Saket Soni will read from The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams in America. In late 2006, Saket Soni, a twenty-eight-year-old Indian-born community organizer, received an anonymous phone call from an Indian migrant worker in Mississippi. He was one of five hundred men trapped in squalid Gulf Coast "man camps," surrounded by barbed wire, watched by guards, crammed into cold trailers with putrid toilets, forced to eat moldy bread and frozen rice. Recruiters had promised them good jobs and green cards. The men had scraped up $20,000 each for this "opportunity" to rebuild hurricane-wrecked oil rigs, leaving their families in impossible debt. During a series of clandestine meetings, Soni and the workers devised a bold plan. In The Great Escape, Soni traces the workers' extraordinary escape, their march on foot to Washington, DC, and their twenty-three-day hunger strike to bring attention to their cause. The Great Escape is the gripping story of one of the largest human trafficking cases in modern American history--and the workers' heroic journey for justice.

Saket Soni's writings have appeared in the L.A. Times, in the Nation, and other publications. And he is an experienced speaker nationally. Past engagements have included major foundation boards, the United Nations, the Council on Foundations, and progressive gatherings convened by leading organizations such as the Aspen Institute, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Center for American Progress.