Siblings admit forcing cousin to work long hours in living rooms

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A brother and sister pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges for forcing their cousin to work long hours at a pair of Rancho Bernardo lounges owned by the siblings.

Prosecutors said Cindy Mydung Luu, 54, and Jason Luu, 46, both from Tierrasanta, brought the victim from Vietnam to San Diego and forced her to work long hours at the Eden Nails Lounge. & Spa and at the Majestic Nail Salon.

Victim – identified in court documents only as “LX” – was forced to work up to seven days a week, up to 12 hours a day and had to give up all of her earnings, the US attorney’s office said .

After LX obtained her nail technician license, the defendants told her to quit college and work full time in salons, prosecutors said.

The defendants also arranged for her to participate in a fictitious marriage to Jason Luu so that LX could become a lawful permanent resident in the United States, and then denied her her green card, according to prosecutors, who said the brothers and sisters then threatened LX with the loss of her immigration status if she did not work in the salons.

The US Department of Labor has estimated that the siblings owe LX back wages, overtime and damages totaling nearly $ 280,000.

The Luus, who pleaded guilty to documenting the easement, are expected to be sentenced on December 17.

“Forced labor is a form of modern day slavery that takes a heavy financial and emotional toll. In addition to depriving victims of fair wages and freedom, this systematic coercion instills a sense of helplessness, humiliation, disorientation and confusion, often causing lasting trauma, ”said Acting United States Attorney Randy Grossman.

The United States Attorney’s Office has indicated that common models for identifying victims of labor trafficking include:

  • Isolate victims to prevent them from getting help. Their activities are restricted and they are usually watched, escorted or guarded by associates of traffickers. The traffickers can even train them to answer questions with a cover story about being a student or a tourist.
  • Victims may be blackmailed by traffickers using their status as undocumented aliens or their participation in an illegal industry. By threatening to report them to law enforcement or immigration officials, traffickers force victims to comply.
  • Trafficked people often come from unstable and economically devastated places, as traffickers frequently identify vulnerable populations characterized by oppression, high rates of illiteracy, low social mobility and few economic opportunities.
  • Women and children are often the most common victims of labor trafficking.

Persons who suspect human trafficking are urged to call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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