buddhist monk accused of enslaving immigrant worker

In New York, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has filed a complaint in Brooklyn federal court on behalf of a Korean immigrant worker against a Buddhist monk and his family members for violating federal human trafficking and labor laws: In Suit, Housekeeper Says Buddhist Monk Enslaved Her in His Queens Home.

According to the complaint, filed under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, Oak-Jin Oh worked for prominent Buddhist monk Soo Bok Choi and his family, who forced her to work long hours without pay and without freedom to leave their residence for twelve years. From AALDEF's press release:
The plaintiff, a citizen of the Republic of Korea, worked as a domestic worker for Soo Bok Choi, a prominent Buddhist monk, and his family members Sung Bok Choi, Kyung Bok Choi, Young Il Choi, Young Jin Choi, Young Mi Choi, and Ki Soon Lee. She also performed custodial duties for the monk's temple. The plaintiff arrived in New York in 1998, believing that she would work for the Choi family and receive her pay as agreed. Instead, the Choi family forced her to work long hours without pay and without freedom to leave their residence for 12 years. She cooked, cleaned, and performed numerous other household chores in the Choi family's home and Soo Bok Choi's Buddhist temple. Although she was promised wages for her work, she was never paid. When she asked for her pay, the Choi family responded with threats of physical harm and death. In addition, they did not allow her any days off, deprived her of medical care, withheld her passport, and restricted her ability to make contact with anyone outside the household. She was finally able to escape the Choi household last year.
Choi's family essentially held Ms. Oh as a slave. For twelve years. This is yet another instance in a string of recent cases involving immigrant domestic workers making similar allegations against their employers. Rather un-Buddhist of you, Mr. Choi. More here: Korean Immigrant Worker Sues Buddhist Monk for Human Trafficking and Labor Violations.

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