-San Diego — A handwritten note asking a nurse for help has led to labor trafficking charges against an Iraqi couple who are accused of forcing an Indonesian housekeeper to work without pay in their El Cajon apartment.
Her rescue a few days later is the first time in more than five years the woman, referred to in court documents only as W.M., has been free of indentured servitude, authorities said Friday.
“Today’s arrests bring to light the sad reality of modern day slavery,” Dave Shaw, special agent in charge for U.S. Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego, said in a statement. “… Forced labor, which often involves individuals who are held in isolation, degraded, and most alarming — stripped of their basic human freedom — has no place in a modern society.”
Firas Majeed and his wife, Shatha Abbas, pleaded not guilty in San Diego federal court Friday. They are charged with forced labor, trafficking and confiscating a passport.
The housekeeper pleaded for help in a note to a nurse on March 18, and the note made it to homeland security agents, according to the complaint.
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