Following the sentencing of his wife Sharmistha Barai, to more than 15 years in prison, Satish Kartan, 46, of Sacramento, was sentenced Oct. 22, 2020, to 15 years and eight months in prison for forced labor violations, the same term as his wife.
In addition, U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. ordered $15,657 be paid in restitution to three victims, all workers brought from India as domestic labor, in part to cover their back wages and other losses.
On March 14, 2019, after an 11-day trial, a federal jury found Kartan and Barai, 40, guilty of conspiracy to obtain forced labor and two counts of obtaining forced labor. Kartan was also found guilty of one count of fraud in foreign labor contracting. On Oct. 2, Barai was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison for forced labor violations.
“Kartan earned his sentence by the systematic abuse and exploitation of vulnerable women for the benefit of his wife and family,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor W. Scott is quoted saying in the press release. “He verbally abused multiple victims, withheld basic sustenance from them, and physically intimidated them. Today’s sentence will send a loud message to others engaged in human trafficking and labor. Moreover, it will give Kartan’s victims the peace of mind that he will never be able to abuse them again.”
“The United States abolished slavery and involuntary servitude more than 150 years ago,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Yet, inhuman forced labor and deprivations of liberty and dignity persist because human traffickers proliferate modern-day slavery, and endeavor to exploit their fellow human beings for profit and other gruesome purposes.”
“Those engaged in the heinous crime of forced labor will face severe consequences for their actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew Perlman of the Diplomatic Security Service, San Francisco Field Office. “The Diplomatic Security Service and our partner agencies will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute those who commit visa fraud to exploit others for their own personal gain.”
Authorities appealed to the public to report alleged human trafficking to law enforcement or submit a tip to tips.fbi.gov.”
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, between February 2014 and October 2016, Kartan and Barai hired workers from overseas to perform domestic labor in their home in Stockton. In advertisements seeking workers on the internet and India-based newspapers, the defendants made false claims about the wages and conditions of employment, the press release said.
Once the workers arrived at the defendants’ Stockton residence, Kartan and Barai compelled them to work up to 18 hours a day with limited rest and nourishment. Few of them were paid any wage. As part of the conspiracy, the couple kept the domestic workers from leaving and coerced them to continue working by threatening them, by creating an atmosphere of fear, control, and disempowerment, and at times by physically hitting or burning them. When a victim resisted or expressed a desire to leave, the threats and abuse became worse, the court documents quoted in the press release said.
This case was the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.
The Eastern District of California (Sacramento) is one of six districts designated through a competitive, nationwide selection process as a Phase II Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team, through the interagency ACTeam Initiative of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor, the press release said.