Restaurant owner arrested for enslaving cook

Pradeep Kumar is accused of enslaving and abusing an Indian restaurant worker for three years.

Damn. Been hearing way too many stories like this lately... In Southern California, a restaurant owner has been arrested for allegedly enslaving an Indian employee and holding him in servitude for several years.

Valencia restaurant owner accused of slavery, beating employee

47-year-old Pradeep Kumar was arrested this week on suspicion of mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon, human trafficking and holding a person in involuntary servitude. Police say the victim, an unnamed 55-year-old Indian national, endured three years of slavery and physical abuse.

The victim was lured to the United States in 2012 to work as a chef at Tandoori Grill in Valencia. But Kumar confiscated his passport, barred him from contact with the outside world, and forced the cook to work seven days a week, about 12 to 14 hours each day without pay. When he made mistakes, Kumar would beat him.

Investigators say the victim came from India, along with his wife, to work as a chef. They say he was tortured by his boss, and was forced to live with him at his home, deprived of the right to communicate with the outside world.

"He was beaten at the restaurant with a two-foot piece of knife-sharpening steel, and was also beaten on a regular basis at the home of the suspect, with a metal mop handle," Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Bureau Capt. Merrill Landenheim said.

Investigators learned about the alleged abuse in an email, sent by the victim's brother in Mumbai, claiming that his brother was being held against his will and was being forced to work as a cook at the restaurant. Later that day, Kumar was arrested and the chef was hospitalized for treatment.

This is an awful story. Unfortunately, it's pretty common. This kind of exploitation happens far too frequently. It took an email from the other side of the world for the local authorities to find out this asshole was holding a guy as his friggin' restaurant slave in suburban Santa Clarita.

Just last week, a group of eleven Filipino workers filed a lawsuit against L'Amande French Bakery in Beverly Hills and Torrance for labor violations and human trafficking, alleging that the owners lured them from the Philippines promising high-paying jobs, only to exploit them.

Anyone with further information about the Tandoori Grill case is urged to contact the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station at 661-255-1121. Tips can also be provided anonymously by calling LA Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus the tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website at LAcrimstoppers.org (reference #01113).

More here: Police: Man Enslaved, Beaten By Local Restaurant Owner, Forced To Cook Without Pay

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