A multimillionaire Indian couple have been arrested on the charges of keeping two Indonesian women as slaves and torturing at least one of them
Mahender Sabhani and his wife, Varsha, who are in the perfume business, were booked in a Federal Court on the charges of using threats of physical harm to obtain services.
"No one would ever think that human beings were being brought into the United States and held for slave labour, and beaten, and tortured in a beautiful mansion right here in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods on Long Island," said federal prosecutor Demetri Jones, who is prosecuting the case along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko.
If convicted, each faces a prison term of 17 to 22 years.
It is alleged that Varsha forced the two to work from 4 in the morning to midnight and at least one victim told the prosecutors that she was beaten, tortured, denied food and forced to sleep in the kitchen.
Newsday reported quoting prosecutors that one of the two Indonesian women was beaten by Varsha Sabhnani with a broomstick, cut behind the ears with a knife, burnt with scalding water, made to walk up and down stairs as much as 150 times in a row, and, at one point, was forced to eat "25 extremely hot chili peppers," according to Jones and Lesko.
The prosecutors submitted pictures showing what they said were the bruises and cuts inflicted on one of the women.
Investigations began after one of the women came to a Dunkin Donuts restaurant dressed only in pants and a towel and an interview by police personnel revealed that the upper part of her body was bruised and she related her story through an interpreter.
A search of the house revealed the other woman too was being kept as a slave and that both were expected to hide in the basement if someone came.
Slavery, Immigration, And The Press
Oppression All The Way Down