A family in the US state of Virginia was sentenced by a federal court on Tuesday for committing forced labor of a Pakistani woman for 12 years.
The federal court in Richmond, Virginia sentenced Zahida Aman, 80, to 12 years in prison; Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri, 48, to 10 years behind bars; and Mohammad Nauman Chaudhri, 55, to five years in prison.
Aman and Rehan Chaudhri were further ordered to pay the victim, who was not publicly identified, $250,000 for back wages and other financial losses.
The defendants were found guilty by a jury in May of conspiracy to commit forced labor. Aman was separately found guilty of forced labor and document servitude while Rehan Chaudhri was found guilty of forced labor.
Aman was accussed of arranging her son's marraige to the victim in 2002, and keeping the victim in the Virginia home alongside the other defendants even after the husband left the household in order for her to serve the household as a domestic servant.
“These defendants callously exploited the victim’s vulnerabilities and brutally coerced her labor through physical violence and emotional abuse,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement.
“Human trafficking is an affront to human rights and to our nation’s core values. The Department of Justice is committed to vindicating the rights of survivors and bringing human traffickers to justice.”
Prosecutors said the family physically and verbally abused the victim, and forbode her from communicating with her family in Pakistan. In one particularly gruesome incident, prosecutors said the family hog tied the victim and dragged her down a set of stairs in front of her children.
They further confiscated her passport, and money, prohibited her from speaking to anyone outside the family, and threatened to separate her from her children by deporting her to Pakistan, according to the Justice Department.