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Indian American couple sentenced for forcing young cousin to work at gas station

NRI PULSE STAFF REPORT

Richmond, VA, June 26, 2024 – A Virginia Indian American couple has been sentenced for forcing the man’s younger cousin to work at their gas station and convenience store for over three years. Harmanpreet Singh, 31, and Kulbir Kaur, 43, who have since divorced, received different prison sentences for their crimes. Singh was sentenced to 135 months, while Kaur was sentenced to 87 months in prison. Additionally, the court ordered the couple to pay the victim $225,210.76 in restitution.

The couple exploited their relationship with the victim, luring him to the United States with false promises of helping him enroll in school,. Instead, they confiscated his immigration documents and subjected him to threats, physical force, and mental abuse, coercing him to work long hours for minimal pay, a Department of Justice press release said.

Following a two-week trial in January, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Virginia convicted Singh and Kaur of conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, harboring for financial gain, and document servitude.

Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that, in 2018, the defendants enticed Singh’s younger cousin, then a minor, to travel from India to the United States with false promises of helping him enroll in school. Instead, they forced him to provide labor and services at Singh’s store for over three years, from March 2018 to May 2021.

The victim was compelled to work 12 to 17 hours a day, nearly every day, for minimal pay. Singh and Kaur used various coercive means, including confiscating the victim’s immigration documents, subjecting him to physical abuse, threats of force, and other serious harm, and at times degrading living conditions to compel him to continue working. The defendants also left the victim to sleep in a back office, limited his access to food, refused to provide medical care or education, and monitored him using surveillance equipment.

Anyone with information about human trafficking is encouraged to report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, available 24/7. More information about human trafficking can be found at www.humantraffickinghotline.org and the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat human trafficking at www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.4o

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