Traveling carnival owner from Gilbert charged with trafficking of workers

Jul 7, 2021, 11:15 AM
(AP Photo, File)...
(AP Photo, File)
(AP Photo, File)

PHOENIX – The owner of a Valley-based traveling carnival was arrested in Utah on human-trafficking charges, accused of keeping passports from his workers so they couldn’t leave, authorities said.

Jordan Jensen of Gilbert was charged last week by the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Two of the more than 20 Midway West Amusements workers from Mexico told consulate officials their boss had control of their work visas, passports and pay.

“By withholding their H2B Visas, Midway West Amusements was coercing them to work under these conditions. That is a classic case of human trafficking or indentured servitude,” Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said in a press release.

“These laborers were living and working in inhumane conditions that could be dangerous to their health or even their lives. They were paid a paltry amount and had costs deducted on top of that.”

The carnival was set up at a mall in Ogden at the time of Jensen’s arrest.

The 31-year-old Jensen, whose family has been involved in the carnival business for more than 30 years, according to their website, faces three counts of human trafficking and nine counts of possession of another’s identity documents, the Attorney General’s Office said.

Human trafficking is a second-degree felony, while the document possession is a third-degree felony.

The carnival website lists an address in Sun City as home base.

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Traveling carnival owner from Gilbert charged with trafficking of workers