Defendant Thuy Tien Luong, 36, was charged on March 3, 2020, in an indictment with one count of forced labor, announced Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for Civil Rights and U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina.
According to the allegations set forth in the indictment, between late 2017 and June 26, 2018, the defendant forced the victim, whom she employed as a nail technician, to provide labor and services at her salon by means of force and threats of force to the victim. The indictment further alleges that the defendant obtained the victim’s services through means of serious harm and threats of serious harm, means of abuse and threatened abuse of law and legal process, and by means of a scheme, plan and pattern to cause the victim to believe that if she did not perform such labor and services, she would suffer serious harm.
“Human trafficking is our generation’s form of physical and psychological captivity. It is modern day slavery. These vile acts involve fundamental violations of our rights and the perpetrators must be stopped,” said Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
“Forced labor deprives victims their basic human rights and strips away their dignity. Labor trafficking schemes are deplorable and do not have place in modern society. My office remains committed to combatting all forms of human trafficking and holding perpetrators accountable for their criminal actions,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.
“Traffickers treat human beings as commodities. They use force, fraud or coercion to prey on people’s vulnerabilities,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Charlotte Special Agent in Charge Ronnie Martinez. “HSI special agents will continue to focus their efforts on eradicating this heinous crime; no one should be subject to human trafficking.”
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. If convicted of forced labor, the defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, as well a mandatory restitution.
The case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from the Davidson Police Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimlani M. Ford for the Western District of North Carolina and Trial Attorney Maryam Zhuravitsky for the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
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