GILROY, Calif. (KGO) - A California couple is charged with human trafficking on accusations they kept a man from India locked in their liquor store, where officials say he worked 15-hour shifts every day of the week without pay.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office says Amarjit and Balwinder Mann, both 66, face charges of labor human trafficking, witness intimidation and wage theft involving a total of four victims.
Officials believe the Manns engaged in predatory recruitment of workers from India.
“They are very savvy businesspeople who exploited their workers. One in particular, they lured to the United States on promises of travel and financial independence,” said District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
One of the victims slept in a storage room and bathed in a mop bucket while working for the Manns at their profitable liquor store and market in Gilroy, California, according to the district attorney’s office. The couple is accused of threatening the victim with deportation if he told police.
An investigation estimates the couple stole more than $150,000 in wages from the four victims.
If the Manns are convicted of the felony charges, they could face prison time.