Queens couple plead guilty to keeping children as slaves

Sook Yeong Park and Jeong Taek Lee held two Korean kids as slaves in their home for several years.

This week in New York, a Flushing couple admitted to holding two Korean children as slaves in their home for several years, forcing them to work long hours and withholding contact with their parents.

Couple Who Kept Korean Teens as 'Slaves' at Flushing Home Plead Guilty

50-year-old Sook Yeong Park pleaded guilty to two counts of labor trafficking. Park was sentenced to six months in prison followed by five years probation, after taking a plea deal. The 60-count indictment against her included grand larceny, forcible touching and assault for her treatment of the two children. Her husband, 54-year-old Jeong Taek Lee, was sentenced to five years probation.

The two victims, a 9-year-old brother and 11-year-old sister from Korea, were brought to stay with the couple in January 2010. Shortly afterwards, Park confiscated their passports and effectively enslaved them.

The children were told that they had to work to pay for their living expenses. However, their parents were sending money to Park and Lee for their care -- "care" that included beating and making them sleep on the floor in a small closet, while cutting off all communication with their parents.

For several years, the female victim was forced to do housework and provide Park with massages, manicures and pedicures. She was also required to work a number of outside jobs, including in a grocery stores, a nail salon, a restaurant and as a babysitter, then forced to hand over all the money she earned to the couple. The male victim was forced to work in a grocery store.

According to the district attorney's report, the children regularly endured physical and emotional abuse. Park routinely beat them, striking them with objects, slapping them, stepping on their legs and kicking them for not obeying orders. In one incident, Park scratched the girl with a nail clipper because she was unsatisfied with a manicure. In another incident, Park became angry with her, cut off her hair and kicked her in the head.

The victims eventually told school officials about the physical abuse, which led to Park's arrest in January 2016. Lee was later arrested several months later. They will be formally sentenced in September.

After Park's arrest, the siblings returned to Korea and were reunited with their parents. According to DNAInfo, prosecutors consulted with them about the plea deal, but they didn't want to return to the U.S. for a trial.

Flushing couple to get jail time & probation for holding young children as slaves: DA

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