A court located in Richmond, Virginia, ruled on three individuals today for conspiring to carry out forced labor. They forded a Pakistani woman do their domestic labor for a period of 12 years.
Zahida Aman, aged 80, was given a prison sentence of 144 months in a federal prison in the Eastern District of Virginia. Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri, who is 48, was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison. Mohammad Nauman Chaudhri, 55, was given a sentence of 60 months in federal prison.
The court also commanded Aman and Rehan Chaudhri to give the victim $250,000 in compensation for the back wages and other financial losses they caused due to their illegal activities.
At the conclusion of a week-long hearing in May 2022, the jury found all of the accused guilty of plotting to carry out forced labor. Two of the defendants were found guilty of actual forced labor, and the third, Aman, was convicted of document servitude.
Aman was the one who arranged for her son to wed the victim in 2002. Even after the victim’s spouse moved out of the residence in Virginia, the defendants kept the victim in the house to serve the extended family.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division noted that the suspects had taken advantage of the victim. They resorted to physical force and psychological torment in order to force her to work for them.
Clarke stated, “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.”
Luis Quesada, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, stressed that due to the global nature of human trafficking, it cannot be addressed by one nation alone. He declared that the FBI will continue to look into all varieties of human trafficking and collaborate with other law enforcement organizations in an effort to eradicate the issue.
The evidence presented in court showed that the defendants forced the victim to work as a domestic servant for their family, using both physical and verbal abuse against her. They limited her contact with her family in Pakistan, kept her immigration documents and money, and ultimately threatened to deport her and separate her from her children if she did not comply.
The defendants inflicted physical abuse upon the victim, ranging from slaps and kicks to beatings with a wooden board. In one instance, they even hog-tied the victim’s hands and feet and dragged her down the stairs while her children watched. All of these abuses were used to force the victim to work in the defendants’ home.
More evidence showed that the woman’s shifts were very early in the morning. She had a restricted diet, and she wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone outside of the family that trafficked her.