Monday, December 17, 2007

We have Slaves in America.

Couple kept housekeepers as 'slaves' - Times Online
New York A millionaire couple have been convicted of enslaving two Indonesian women whom they brought to their New York mansion to work as housekeepers.

The Indian-born Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnani, 51, and his wife, the Indonesian-born Varsha Mahender Sabhnani, 45, were convicted of all charges at the district court in Central Islip, Long Island, in a indictment that included forced labour, conspiracy, involuntary servitude and harbouring aliens.

The Sabhnanis, who operate a worldwide perfume business from their home, face up to 40 years in prison, although lawyers predicted the punishment would be much less.

Allegations of abuse included beatings with brooms and umbrellas, slashings with knives and being made to climb stairs and take freezing showers as punishment.

Both women said that they were forced to sleep on mats in the kitchen. Bail has been set at $4.5 million (£2.2 million). Jeffrey Hoffman, for the defence, said that the Sabhnanis would appeal.

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