RICHMOND, Va. (TCD) — An 80-year-old woman and her two sons were recently sentenced to federal prison for holding a Pakistani woman captive in their home for 12 years and forcing her to perform labor as a “domestic servant.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Zahida Aman will spend 144 months in federal prison, and her two sons, Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri, 48, and Mohammad Nauman Chaudhri, 55, will spend 120 months and 60 months respectively for conspiracy to commit forced labor. Aman was also convicted of document servitude.
Additionally, the three family members will have to pay the victim $250,000 in restitution, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In 2002, Aman reportedly arranged for a third son to marry the victim, and she moved to the United States to stay with her husband’s family in their Midlothian home.
However, several years later, in 2006, the victim’s husband moved to Pennsylvania to practice medicine and went to California two years later while the victim stayed behind with the rest of his family. The victim and her husband shared four children, who remained in Virginia as well.
The U.S. Department of Justice said the “defendants kept the victim in their Virginia home to serve the extended family.”
The U.S. Department of Justice also said, “The defendants compelled the victim to serve the family as a domestic servant, using physical and verbal abuse, restricting communication with her family in Pakistan, confiscating her immigration documentation and money, and eventually threatening to separate her from her children by deporting her to Pakistan.”
The three family members reportedly “slapped, kicked and pushed the victim.” They also beat her with a wooden board and “hog-tied her hands and feet,” dragging her down the stairs in front of her children at least one time, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
All of these acts were reportedly done to force the victim to perform domestic labor around their home.
The suspects forced the victim to work every day for hours on end, and they’d order her to perform tasks such as mowing the family’s large lawn with a push mower, stripping and staining the deck by hand, putting together a concrete walkway, and more. They also reportedly restricted her meals, and she wasn’t allowed to learn how to drive.
Aman and her two sons were convicted following a seven-day trial in May 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a statement, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said, “These defendants callously exploited the victim’s vulnerabilities and brutally coerced her labor through physical violence and emotional abuse.”
Clarke continued, “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.”