NJ woman married immigrant to keep her as a house slave
SECAUCUS — A New Jersey resident has been charged with bringing a woman from Sri Lanka to this country and keeping her as a slave.
Alia Imad Faleh Al Hunaity, also known as Alia Al Qaterneh, was arrested earlier this year on federal charges including forced labor and alien harboring, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito said. Hunaity brought the woman to her home in 2009 on a temporary visa to perform domestic work and then caused the woman to stay past the expiration of her visa, Carpenito said.
In the nine years the woman was in this country, she lived exclusively with Hunaity and was not paid for her work, according to Carpenito. She also forced the woman to marry her so that she could become a resident and continue to work for free, Carpenito said. Hunaity also limited the amount of contact the woman had with the outside.
The forced labor charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while the alien harboring and marriage fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. She could also face a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain for her or twice the gross loss to others, whichever is greater.
Two years ago, the owner and manager of a halal chicken slaughterhouse were accused of forcing immigrants to work for as little as $2.90 an hour and forced them to live in squalid conditions. That same year, a woman in Essex County admitted to working with her family to force a teenage girl into becoming a sex slave.