Elderly Indian motel manager sentenced for trafficking, forced labour in US

New York, Dec 8 (IANS): A 71-year-old Indian motel manager in the US state of Georgia has been sentenced to 57 months in prison for trafficking a victim and subjecting her to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude or forced labour.

Shreesh Tiwari, an Indian national and legal US permanent resident, was also ordered to pay $42,648 in restitution to seven individuals on Thursday.

"Human trafficking can occur anywhere since traffickers are adept at identifying someone's vulnerabilities and often fraudulently extend hope to someone looking for an opportunity to improve their dire circumstances," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

"This sentence and the restitution secured for the survivors of this heinous labour trafficking scheme make clear that the Justice Department is committed to prosecuting anyone who flagrantly exploits their position of power," Clarke added.

According to court documents, Tiwari began managing the Budgetel Motel in Cartersville in 2020, a Department of Justice release said.

Shortly thereafter, he hired the victim to work as a maid at the motel and provided her with a room where she could live.

Tiwari knew that prior to arriving at the motel the victim had experienced homelessness, struggled with a heroin addiction and lost custody of her young child.

He promised the victim that he would help her regain custody of her child by providing her with pay, an apartment and an attorney.

Instead of following through with his promises, Tiwari monitored the victim's interactions with motel guests and employees and forbade her from speaking to them.

He also discouraged the victim from communicating with her family and friends, falsely claiming that they did not care about her, and also made numerous sexual overtures to the victim.

When Tiwari became angry at the victim, he threatened to evict her from the room he provided her at the motel, knowing that she would become homeless as a result, the documents stated.

In addition, he threatened to report the victim's drug use to law enforcement or child welfare agencies whenever he was angry at her.

Eventually, Tiwari began to regularly "evict" the victim from her motel room, and even locked her out of her room at night without warning.

He even threatened to call animal control to remove the victim's dog despite permitting her to live with her pet in her motel room at first.

Ultimately, he asked the victim to perform sex acts with him to stay at the motel, and threatened to remove her from the property if she did not.

"Tiwari preyed upon the victim's difficult past and fear of homelessness to control and extort her, subjecting her to unspeakable horrors," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Travis Pickard of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta.

Pickard said the law enforcement will continue with its efforts to ensure that "predators" like Tiwari are held accountable for their actions.



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Title: Elderly Indian motel manager sentenced for trafficking, forced labour in US

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