Housekeeper claims she was enslaved
October 15, 2009
SAN DIEGO, CA — A Mexican housekeeper is claiming that a married couple paid smugglers to bring her into the United States and held her captive for six years, forcing her to work more than 100 hours per week in their home, according to Courthouse News.
According to the story, Rosa Romero Hernandez claims that Samad and Yvonne Attisha had their secretary hire coyotes, or human smugglers, to smuggle her into the United States for $1,500 — a "debt" she says the Attishas forced her to work off.
Hernandez seeks damages of $125,800 in back wages and punitive damages for the alleged human trafficking, peonage, slavery and involuntary servitude, the story stated.
Hernandez says the Attishas "agreed to pay her $7 per hour to work as a babysitter for their infant daughter" and that the couple''s secretary would fix Hernandez''s counterfeit travel documents once she reached the United States, the story noted.
According to the article, Hernandez was rescued in 2008 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after the Attishas'' gardener, someone she called a "good Samaritan," reported her situation to authorities.
Hernandez, who claims her captors instructed her to "hide in the house when pedestrians walked by" and forbade her from contacting anyone, says the Atishas took her entire first year''s wages to reimburse the coyotes and pay for her airfare, the story added.
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