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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Couple Accused of Holding Housekeeper as Virtual Slave

November 18, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A husband and wife have been indicted on federal charges for allegedly forcing a smuggled Bangladeshi woman to work in their Los Angeles home against her will for five years, the U.S. attorney's office said Friday.

Nur Alamin, 40, and his wife, Rabiya Akhter, 32, who are Bangladeshi nationals themselves, were charged with conspiracy, forcing involuntary servitude and harboring an illegal immigrant.

Prosecutors said the victim was smuggled from India to Saudia Arabia and then to the United States in July 1995. Arriving in Southern California, she was forced to work for Alamin and Akhter as a live-in housekeeper and baby-sitter, receiving little or no pay, they said.

Alamin and Akhter were accused of kicking and hitting her and threatening harm to her family in Bangladesh if she tried to leave them. The woman fled, however, after allegedly suffering a subsequent beating.

If convicted, the two face a statutory maximum of 45 years in prison.

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