A mother in a wealthy Minnesota suburb has been accused of abusing her nanny and keeping her in slave-like conditions.
Lili Huang, 35, is facing five felony charges including human trafficking, false imprisonment and unlawfully taking another person’s passport.
The 58-year-old nanny from China — who has not been named — was found bruised and wandering in the streets of Woodbury, Minnesota, just after midnight on Thursday, July 14, Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported. She had two visible black eyes, and X-rays at a hospital later revealed broken ribs and a broken sternum.
“She was held in pretty appalling conditions, in appalling discipline,” Washington County attorney Pete Orput told Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
The victim began working for the Huangs in Shanghai, China, where they treated her well, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She was brought to the U.S in March.
According to the complaint, she was forced to work up to 18 hours a day and was forbidden to leave the $539,000 home. Authorities calculated her hourly salary to be $1.80, but she did not receive any of her pay.
“During the time in the home she was physically assaulted by defendant, often times in front of the children,” Orput told The Washington Post in a statement. “When this occurred she told defendant she wanted to return to China. Defendant acquired the victim’s passport and kept it and told the woman she was ‘not going anywhere.’”
The nanny claimed she was fed nothing but crackers, causing her weight to plummet from 120 pounds to 88 pounds in four months, per The Washington Post.
On July 4, Huang allegedly bashed the nanny’s head into a table, the paper continues. On July 10, she was so incapacitated by the beatings that she walked around on her hands and knees like a dog for for hours, the Woodbury Bulletin reported.
When police and authorities from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security searched the home, they discovered a bag full of human hair, which Huang had allegedly ripped from the woman’s head, according to the Associated Press. The nanny had been hiding it under her bed so Huang wouldn’t find it “and force her to to eat it.”
Huang is being held on a bail of $350,000.
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