US: Indian-origin couple likely to face 20-year of prison for forcing their cousin to labor

The couple might be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in jail, five years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, as per US attorney.

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An Indian American couple was found guilty by a federal jury in Virginia after a two-week trial of conspiring to carry out forced work at a petrol station and convenience store in the state, according to the US attorney.

According to the information, on May 8, Harmanpreet Singh, 30, and Kulbir Kaur, 43, were sentenced for force their cousin, the victim, into performing labor-intensive tasks at their store, such as serving as the cashier, cooking food, cleaning, and maintaining records. They might be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in jail, five years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and they would also have to pay back the forced work charge.

It is worth to be noted here that this is a serious crime that violates basic human rights and exploits the vulnerability of individuals based on their familial connection. 

As per assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the Singh couple exploited the victim's trust and his desire to attend school in the United States, the couple in question likely subjected their cousin to physical and mental abuse, deprived them of proper living conditions and pay, and coerced them into extensive work hours at their store.

While speaking on this, US Attorney Jessica D Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia said, "These defendants engaged in an egregious bait-and-switch, luring the victim with false promises of an education in the United States and instead subjecting him to gruelling hours, degrading living conditions, and a litany of mental and physical abuse."