Amite Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Obtain Forced Labor from Woman with Disabilities
Bridget Lambert, 21, pleaded guilty on Thursday, Sept. 27 in the Eastern District of Louisiana to one count of a forced labor conspiracy for conspiring with members of her family to obtain forced labor from D.P., a woman with cognitive disabilities.
At the plea hearing, Lambert admitted that, between Aug. 13, 2015, and June 30, 2016, in Amite, Louisiana, she conspired with other members of her family to obtain D.P.’s uncompensated household labor and services by a number of means, including by force and threat of force. Lambert admitted that, as part of the conspiracy, she and the other conspirators forced D.P. to live in a locked shed in the backyard and to perform housework and yard work in exchange for food and water. The defendant admitted that the conspirators subjected D.P. to routine physical abuse, threats, and verbal and psychological abuse designed to ensure her continued compliance with the family’s orders. The defendant further admitted that, on one occasion, she advanced the conspiracy by striking D.P. in the head with a wooden board, causing D.P. to bleed from her head, and on another occasion advanced the conspiracy by holding D.P.’s arm in place so that a fellow conspirator could punish D.P. by burning her with a cigarette lighter.
“Lambert conspired to brutally coerce a vulnerable victim with disabilities to work long hours in despicable conditions and no monetary compensation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “The Department of Justice continues to combat human trafficking by forced labor and today’s guilty plea reflects our commitment to seeking justice for victims.”
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to seeking justice on behalf of all victims including vulnerable individuals such as D.P.,” said U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser of the Eastern District of Louisiana. “We will continue to partner with federal, state and local law enforcement to hold these human traffickers accountable for their crimes.”
“FBI New Orleans strives every day to protect the civil rights of all, however we make a concerted effort to defend those who cannot defend themselves,” said Special Agent in Charge Eric J. Rommal for the FBI New Orleans Field Office. “In this case the offender’s actions are inexcusable.”
Lambert will be sentenced on Dec. 20, and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Field Office in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Tangipahoa District Attorney’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Risa Berkower and Nicholas Reddick of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Assistant United States Attorney Julia Evans, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and by the Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney’s Office.