A Mohammed Quotient of three so far, the two arrested and one of the lawyers.
The slave trade is certainly one of the contributions Muslims have had on American history. Source: Men forced others to work in Halal slaughterhouse, authorities say | NJ.com
NEWARK — Federal agents on Tuesday arrested two New York men on human trafficking charges after they say the pair forced undocumented migrants to work in a Halal chicken slaughterhouse they ran in Middlesex County.
Mohammad Abdul Wahid, 54, and Mohammed Iqbal Kabir, 42, are charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit human trafficking, conspiracy to harbor undocumented persons for financial gain and violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors say that between July 2011 and January 2016, Wahid and Kabir paid the workers approximately $290 a week for 70-100-hour work weeks, deducting $40 a week for allowing them to live in an insect-infested boarding home in front of the Perth Amboy slaughterhouse.
Prosecutors say the workers weren’t paid overtime or additional wages for working longer hours.
Two Muslim individuals who were employed to slaughter the chickens also were threatened with arrest and deportation when they complained about their working conditions, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors say the arrests were the result of collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, IRS, Department of Agriculture and the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
Both men face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted of the human trafficking charge, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The charging documents do not name the business.
The factory, which was in operation between July 2011 and January 2016, employed only Muslim workers, a requirement of Halal meats.
Proper saftey equipment, such as gloves, masks or soap, was not provided to employees. When employees complained, Wahid and Kabir threatened to call the police. The employees did not further their complaints over deportation fears.
If convicted, the pair face steep fines and lengthy jail sentences: they could face up to 30 years in prison and have to pay $510,000 each.
And more: 2 in NJ charged with keeping immigrants as slaves in halal slaughterhouse
The state Labor Department, as a matter of policy, does not investigate workers’ immigration status or share workers’ immigration status with federal immigration officials. Nevertheless, unscrupulous employers often use fear of deportation or arrest to exploit illegal workers, officials say.
The federal complaint says all the workers in Wahid’s business were undocumented immigrants. The complaint also refers to co-conspirators who are not named in the charges.
Wahid’s attorney, Mohammed Gangat, declined to comment on the specifics of the case.
“We do deny all charges and intend to have our day in court,” he said Tuesday.
Kabir is being represented by the federal public defender’s office.
The two merchants face as many as 20 years in prison and a $250,000 if convicted of human trafficking, another 10 years and $250,000 fine if convicted of harboring.
The were released on $75,000 unsecured bond with home confinement and electronic monitoring.
Why aren’t state agencies – many of whom thrive on state and federal taxpayer dollars – not required by law to report immigration status in criminal, if not all, matters?
Update: Looks like Abdul irked his neighbors too, and previously filed a lawsuit against the city and its officials. Muslim poultry processor may continue discrimination suit, judge says
Abdul has operated the plant in Perth Amboy for the last five years. It has an adjacent duplex that Abdul rented, with the other side used for workers who use the space to sleep. The plant, records say, operated 24 hours a day.
Martini also noted that Perth Amboy in its response says inspectors were dispatched because neighbors complained of odors. They reportedly found “excessive flies, foul odors, feces, blood and animal refuse on the property,” it said. The problems were left uncorrected, it said.
In addition, it said that “undocumented” workers, paid under the minimum wage, were found in the duplex in “deplorable living conditions.”
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