RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Three family members found guilty and convicted of treating one of their family members in a way a U.S. attorney described as, “the modern-day equivalent of slavery,” for more than a decade, were sentenced to less than 30 years combined prison time.
The three family members, a mother, Zahida Aman, 80, and two of her sons, Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri, 48, and Mohammad Nauman Chaudhri, 55, were found guilty in May 2022 of charges stemming from holding a woman against her will and forcing her to work under unbearable conditions in their Midlothian home for more than 12 years.
The victim of the abuse moved into the family’s London Park Drive home after an arranged marriage to a third, unnamed brother in 2002, court documents state. Over the next 12 years, she was forced to perform domestic services at the home such as cleaning, painting the house, and mowing the lawn — all while under the coercion of physical, verbal and psychological abuse.
“The defendants slapped, kicked, and pushed the victim, beat her with wooden board, and, on one occasion, hog-tied her hands and feet and dragged her down the stairs in front of her children,” the Department of Justice said. On top of taking her immigration documents and threatening deportation, court documents state the defendants would also limit the victim’s access to her children and threaten to separate them in order to force her to work.
- Zahida Aman — Convicted of conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, and document servitude
- Mohammed Naumann Chaudhri — Convicted of conspiracy to commit forced labor
- Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri — Convicted of conspiracy to commit forced labor and forced labor
- Zahida Aman — Sentenced to 12 years in federal prison
- Mohammed Naumann Chaudhri — Sentenced to 5 years in federal prison
- Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri — Sentenced to 10 years in federal prison
In addition, Aman and Rehan Chaudhri were ordered to pay the victim approximately $250,000 in restitution for back wages and other financial losses associated with the criminal conduct.
“The defendants exploited the victim’s trust and inflicted cruel and inhumane physical and mental abuse on her, all so they could keep her working in their home as their domestic servant,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke in a previous statement. “Human trafficking is a disgraceful and unacceptable crime.”
According to state documents, the victim’s husband was not charged.