Despite being a privileged woman and living in a wealthy Minnesota neighborhood, police say 35-year-old Lili Huang is accused of keeping her 58-year-old Chinese nanny in “slavery or indentured servitude.” As reported by Fox News, Huang now faces five felony charges, including seizing a passport while intending to violate labor trafficking, false imprisonment, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault causing substantial bodily harm.
Minnesota woman charged with holding a Chinese nanny in a state of 'slavery' https://t.co/zImnfxa4JT— Leslyn Lewis (@LeslynLewis) July 19, 2016
The nanny, whose identity was not made available, was found wandering the streets of Minnesota last week and police say she had two black eyes. Furthermore, when she was examined at a nearby hospital, X-rays revealed she suffered from broken ribs and a broken sternum. Although the woman couldn’t speak English, she told police via a translator that she had been beaten, starved, and threatened with death by her employer, for whom she worked as a nanny.
The victim reportedly began working for Huang in Shanghai, China, where she was treated well. In March of this year, she was brought to the United States to continue to perform her duties as a nanny and this is when everything changed.
According to the complaint, she was forced to work up to 18 hours a day and was forbidden to leave the house. Officials estimate that her salary was one dollar and 80 cents per hour but she never received a dime. It was reported that during the time she was employed as a nanny, she was physically assaulted by the accused, often in front of Huang’s child.
The nanny told investigators that she was fed only crackers, and because of this, she lost more than 30 pounds in four months. She was often hit with various items and eventually fled the house when her abusive employer threatened to kill her with a knife. At one point, Huang reportedly beat the woman so bad she could not stand up, the complaint said. The woman was then forced to crawl about the house on her hands and knees “like a dog for about four hours.” She told police she tried looking for the airport so she could go back home to China, but Huang withheld her passport, prosecutors said.
Authorities say the woman came to the United States with a Visa at the end of March under the assumption that she would have a normal job as a nanny. However, this was not the case and she was forced to work long hours each day, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of Huang’s child.
Regarding this disturbing case, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that “she was held in pretty appalling conditions, in appalling discipline.”
Huang’s lawyer, David Le, also gave a statement to the press in which he denied the shocking allegations.
“My client categorically denies the false allegations levied by a former family friend and will be vindicated through our system of justice,” Le was quoted as saying.
Following the testimony of the victim, several agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security raided Huang’s house and arrested her. The report says that the condition of the home was deplorable. Under the nanny’s mattress, officials found a bag of hair, which the nanny said Huang had ripped from her head. The nanny said she hid it so Huang wouldn’t find it “and force her to eat it.”
As of the time of this report, Huang is being held on $1 million unconditional bail and $350,000 conditional bail. Her next court appearance is set for August 18.
“Human labor trafficking is a crime that no one can believe exists in their community,” the county prosecutor said in a statement. “However, it is here, it is being committed by some of our citizens, and it amounts to nothing less than slavery in the 21st century.”
[Photo by Washington County Jail/AP Images]