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Rich New York woman accused of keeping immigrant slave in mansion closet

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, March 2, 2012 12:59 EDT
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Llenroc mansion in upstate New York. Photo: Flickr user kurtman518.
 
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A criminal complaint filed this week against a wealthy New York woman alleges that she kept an undocumented immigrant as a house worker for years, paying her just 85 cents an hour for nearly constant labor, and making her sleep in a walk-in closet.

The immigrant, identified only as “V.M.” in documents filed by prosecutors, was reportedly promised $1,000 a month to come live with Annie George at her vast estate in New York. The woman came from Kerala, a state in India, only to discover that her job at the 30,000 square foot Llenroc mansion was one of servitude, with 17-hour days seven days a week, with no days off even when she was sick.

She cleaned the mansion from top to bottom, cooked for the family and watched over George’s five children for approximately 67 months before the National Human Trafficking Resource Center received a tip about the woman’s working conditions. Federal agents swooped in to her rescue last year, and now George, 39, is facing a criminal prosecution.

Prosecutors note that the woman’s son recorded a conversation with George, during which she suggested that the family tell investigators that the woman was a relative staying at Llenroc mansion as a guest. George allegedly remarked that if her son mentioned that his mother worked there, it could “become a big crime.”

The criminal complaint was first spotted earlier this week by The Smoking Gun. George appeared this week before a federal judge and is currently free without bond. The court papers do not specify what the woman’s immigration status was, merely calling her “illegal.”

The mansion was recently sold for just $1.9 million, a far cry from the original asking price of $12 million.

The United Nations and other groups suggest the number of forced laborers and sex slaves around the world today could be as many as 27 million people, more than at any other point in human history.

Photo: Flickr user kurtman518.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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