Indian origin man jailed for 15 years for human trafficking and forced labor


California based Indian origin man was sentenced to 188 months in prison for forced labor violations announced the Justice Department on Oct.22.

In addition, U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. ordered $15,657 be paid in restitution to three victims, in part to cover their back wages and other losses.

On March 14, 2019, after an 11-day trial, a federal jury found Satish Kartan, 46 and his wife, Sharmistha Barai, 40, guilty of conspiracy to obtain forced labor and two counts of obtaining forced labor. Kartan was also found guilty of one count of fraud in foreign labor contracting.

On Oct. 2, Barai was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison for forced labor violations.

“The United States abolished slavery and involuntary servitude more than 150 years ago,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“Yet, inhuman forced labor and deprivations of liberty and dignity persist because human traffickers proliferate modern-day slavery, and endeavor to exploit their fellow human beings for profit and other gruesome purposes. The sentence imposed today sends a stern message that human trafficking and forced labor will not be tolerated in the United States.”

In advertisements seeking workers on the internet and India-based newspapers, they made false claims about the wages and conditions of employment. Once the workers arrived at the defendants’ Stockton residence, Kartan and Barai compelled them to work up to 18 hours a day with limited rest and nourishment. Few of them were paid any wage. As part of the conspiracy, the couple kept the domestic workers from leaving and coerced them to continue working by threatening them, by creating an atmosphere of fear, control, and disempowerment, and at times by physically hitting or burning them. When a victim resisted or expressed a desire to leave, the threats and abuse became worse, the Department of Justice said.

“Kartan earned his sentence by the systematic abuse and exploitation of vulnerable women for the benefit of his wife and family,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott for the Eastern District of California.

“Today’s sentence will send a loud message to others engaged in human trafficking and labor. Moreover, it will give Kartan’s victims the peace of mind that he will never be able to abuse them again.”

“This sentencing is a success in the fight against the heinous crime of human trafficking in our region and our dedication to bring these criminals to justice,” said Tatum King, SAC, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for San Francisco and Northern California.