WASHINGTON—The Justice Department today announced the conviction of a Wisconsin couple, Jefferson and Elnora Calimlim, on human trafficking charges for using threats of serious harm and physical restraint against a Philippine woman to obtain her services as their domestic servant for nineteen years.
Jefferson and Elnora Calimlim, both doctors in Milwaukee, held the victim in a condition of servitude for nineteen years, requiring her to work long hours, seven days a week, as a domestic servant for the Calimlim family. The Calimlims threatened the victim with deportation and imprisonment if she disobeyed them. They also confined her inside their home, not allowing her to socialize with others, communicate freely with the outside world, or leave the house unsupervised. The victim was required to hide in her basement bedroom whenever non-family members were present in the house.
“Preying on this woman’s hope for a better life, this couple instead forced her into a life of involuntary servitude,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department takes these crimes seriously and is committed to prosecuting those involved in the systematic abuse and degradation of others.”
The defendants Jefferson N. Calimlim and Elnora M. Calimlim were convicted of violating one count of 18 U.S.C. §371 (conspiracy to commit forced labor), one count of 18 U.S.C. §1589 (forced labor), and one count of 18 U.S.C. §1594 (attempted forced labor). Additionally, the defendants and their son, Jefferson M. Calimlim, were convicted of violating two counts of 8 U.S.C. §1324 (harboring an undocumented alien). Defendant Jefferson M. Calimlim was acquitted on a charge of 18 U.S.C. §1001 (false statements to the FBI). Jefferson and Elnora Calimlim each face a maximum sentence of up to 65 years in prison, mandatory restitution, and $1,250,000 in fines. The government is also seeking forfeiture of the Calimlims' house as an instrumentality of the crime.
Combating human trafficking is a priority of the Justice Department and the Administration. In the past five years, the Civil Rights Division and United States Attorneys’ Offices have prosecuted a record number of human trafficking cases opening 480 new investigations into allegations of human trafficking – approximately 325% more than were opened in the previous five-year period. So far, in the first eight months of FY 2006, we have convicted more trafficking defendants than in any other prior year.
The convictions in this case are the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case was jointly prosecuted by attorneys from the Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.