A high-ranking Bangladeshi diplomat based in NY accused of forcing his servant to work for up to 18-hours a day without pay was charged Monday with labor trafficking and assault.
Md Shaheldul Islam (45), is the Deputy Consul General of Bangladesh in NY and holds "limited immunity" which pertains specifically to official actions only, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. Shaheldul Islam was arraigned yesterday on grand larceny, assault, labour trafficking and other charges.
Islam is due back in court June 28. If convicted, Islam faces up to 15 years in prison, the statement said.
Amin, to NY between 2012 and 2013 to work as household help, but took away his passport.
If Amin disobeyed his orders, he was allegedly assaulted by Islam, who struck him with his hand, or sometimes with a wooden shoe. Amin wasn't paid for his work despite having a contract that included compensation, the Queens DA said.
According to the charges, the victim's only source of income came from tips from guests when he was a server at parties and a minuscule amount of money that Mr. Islam sent to Mr. Amin's family in Bangladesh. Devyani Khobragade, who was India's deputy consul general in NY, was arrested and subsequently accused of visa fraud and forcing her housekeeper and nanny to work 100-hour weeks for just over $1 an hour. "If the allegations are proven to be true, the defendant must be held accountable for these alleged actions", Brown said.
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"It is alleged the victim then had to deposit the check into his bank account, thereby creating the appearance that the employee was receiving a paycheck", the Queens District Attorney statement said, referring to the Ms. Khobragade incident without naming the Indian diplomat.
But shortly after Amin's arrival, Islam confiscated his passport, the authorities said.
In May 2016, Mr. Amin was able to escape from the residence and reported his experience to the police.
According to Brown,"The allegations in this case are very disturbing. A diplomat is accused of using both physical force and vile threats to control a person in his employment and whom he refused to pay", Mr.
Khobragade's arrest and strip search provoked outrage in India and caused a major diplomatic rift between the United States and India. After she left the United States, a NY grand jury later issued a new indictment for visa fraud.
Last year, a Manhattan federal judge declared the former Bangladeshi consul general in NY and his wife to be in default for ignoring a lawsuit by a former domestic worker who claimed they forced him to work without pay in slavery-like conditions.
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