27.06.2008, Source: Blic online
One wealthy woman from New York was sentenced to an 11-years prison term for holding two Indonesian women in her house as slaves and abused them physically and psychically in the cruelest ways, reports BBC.
Varsha Mahender Sabhnani (46) and her husband Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnani (51), who will be sentenced latter today, were facing 12 charges including servitude, harboring aliens and forced labor.
Husband and wife, who are parents of four children and who are owners of a lucrative
world-wide perfume manufacturing and distribution business, brought two women into their home in Long Island as maids, but soon they started to treat them with cruelty forcing them to work 18 hours per day. They were arrested when one of two women was found wandering in streets wrapped in a towel.
Prosecutors described this case as “modern slavery” and said in court that Sabhnani family cruelly punished maids if they would oversleep or steal food in order to recompense very poor meals they received in this wealthy home.
Two maids said their “owners” beat them with brooms and umbrellas, stab them with knives and forced them to run upstairs and take cold showers.
Federal prosecutors suggested two women were due in one million US dollars for suffered abuse, but court is still to decide on this matter.
Defendants claim that two maids practiced witchcraft and may have abused themselves as part of a self-mutilation ritual. Defendants also said that Sabhnani family was often abroad and two women could have escape if they wanted.
Two maids, Nona and Samirah, came to USA legally in 2002, but Sabhnani took their passports with visas which have expired now.