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United States of America v. Zahida Aman and Mohammed rehan Chaudhri
Case Number: 3:19-cr-00085
Judge: John A. Gibney, Jr.
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Henrico County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney's Office in Richmond
Description: Richmond, Virginia criminal defense lawyers represented Defendants charged with conspiracy to commit forced labor for compelling the domestic labor of a Pakistani woman for 12 years.
Following a seven-day trial in May 2022, the jury convicted Zahida Zman, age 80, and Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri, age 48, of conspiracy to commit forced labor, convicted two of the defendants of forced labor and convicted Aman of document servitude. Aman arranged for her son’s marriage to the victim in 2002, but even after the victim’s husband moved away from the home, the defendants kept the victim in their Virginia home to serve the extended family.
“These defendants callously exploited the victim’s vulnerabilities and brutally coerced her labor through physical violence and emotional abuse,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “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.”
“Human trafficking is a global issue that cannot be tackled alone,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI will remain committed to investigating all forms of human trafficking and work with our law enforcement partners in combatting the problem.”
According to the evidence presented in court, 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 defendants slapped, kicked and pushed the victim, even beat her with wooden board, and on one occasion hog-tied her hands and feet and dragged her down the stairs in front of her children. All of these coercive means were employed by the defendants to compel the victim’s labor in their home.
The evidence further showed that the defendants required the victim to work every day, beginning early each morning. They restricted her food, forbade her from learning to drive or speaking to anyone except the defendants’ family members and prohibited her from calling her family in Pakistan.
Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Miller, Shea Gibbons and Heather Mansfield for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Leah Branch of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit prosecuted the case.
Title 18, U.S.C., § 371 - Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor/Title 18, U.S.C, § 1594(d); Title 28, U.S.C. § 2461(c) - Criminal Forfeiture
Title 18, U.S.C, §§ 1589, 1594 and 2/Title 18, U.S.C, § 1594(d); Title 28, U.S.C. § 2461(c) - Forced Labor; Criminal Forfeiture
Title 18, U.S.C, § 1592 and 2/Title 18, U.S.C, § 1594(d); Title 28, U.S.C. § 2461(c) - Document Servitude; Criminal Forfeiture
Outcome: Aman was sentenced to 144 months in prison and Chaudhri to 120 months in prison. The Court also ordered man and Rehan Chaudhri to pay the victim $250,000 in restitution for back wages and other financial losses she incurred as a result of the defendants’ criminal conduct.