FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, MARCH 7, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
WOMAN SENTENCED FOR HOLDING A DOMESTIC WORKER
IN INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE
WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Justice Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced today that on March 4, 2005, an Indonesian national was sentenced in District Court in Los Angeles to 46 months for holding a young Indonesian woman in involuntary servitude.
In 1997, the defendant, Mariska Trisanti, arranged for the victim to travel from Indonesia to Los Angeles on a tourist visa, with the expectation that the victim would work for her for two years as a nanny and housekeeper. When the victim arrived in the United States, however, Trisanti confiscated her passport to prevent her from running away and put her to work for 17 hours or more per day, seven days a week. The victim received virtually no compensation for her labor.
“Holding another human being in involuntary servitude is morally reprehensible,” said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights R. Alexander Acosta. “The Justice Department is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting those who perpetrate this ancient evil.”
“Human traffickers are violent criminals motivated by greed,” said Marcy Forman, Director of Investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “These criminals should consider themselves on notice: their callous disregard for human dignity will not be tolerated.”
Trisanti compelled the victim’s labor through constant threats and physical abuse. Trisanti threatened that if the victim attempted to escape, she would be arrested and put in jail.
In the Spring of 2000, Trisanti took a trip to Indonesia and left the victim and another young Indonesian domestic servant in the custody of Trisanti's husband. During this time, the victim and the other young woman fled the household.
The prosecution of individuals involved in human trafficking is a top priority of the Justice Department. Since 2001, the Justice Department has charged more than 190 human traffickers and secured convictions for 136 defendants, more than twice the number convicted during the previous four years.
This case was investigated by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with assistance from the FBI and the Labor Department. The case was prosecuted by attorneys from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and the United States Attorneys Office in Los Angeles.