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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sharmistha Barai, 40, formerly of Stockton, was sentenced on Friday, Oct. 2 to 15 years and eight months in prison for forced labor violations. In addition, U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. ordered more than $15,000 in restitution to the victims.

On March 14, 2019, after an 11-day trial, a federal jury found Barai and her husband Satish Kartan guilty of conspiracy to obtain forced labor and two counts of obtaining forced labor. Kartan is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 22.

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott; Matthew Perlman, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), San Francisco Field Office; Sean Ragan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Sacramento Field Office; and Tatum King, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations for San Francisco and Northern California made the announcement.

“The United States abolished slavery and involuntary servitude more than 150 years ago.  Yet, inhuman forced labor and deprivations of liberty and dignity persist because human traffickers are modern-day slave masters who endeavor to exploit their fellow human beings for profit and other gruesome purposes.  The sentence imposed today sends a strong message that human trafficking and forced labor will not be tolerated in the United States. The defendant’s role in this scheme to compel the victims into servitude for up to 18 hours a day, with minimal pay, through intimidation, threats, and violence, is an unconscionable violation of the victims’ individual rights, freedom, and dignity. The Civil Rights Division remains committed to relentlessly pursuing justice on behalf of victims of human trafficking and holding perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division.

U.S. Attorney Scott stated: “The defendants’ horrendous conduct, done in the privacy of their home, was publically exposed during the trial. One by one the victims told their stories of the brutality they experienced: long hours of labor, inadequate food, and physical assault. Today’s sentence sends a clear message to others that systematic brutality against vulnerable victims will not be tolerated.”

“This sentencing sends a strong message: DSS is committed to ensuring that those who exploit and traffic individuals for personal gain will face severe consequences for their criminal actions,” said SAC Perlman of the Diplomatic Security Service, San Francisco Field Office.

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U.S. Department of State

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