Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Child slavery in Flushing
The neat brick facade along the tree-lined Queens street gave no indication of the horrific crimes taking place inside, according to the district attorney.
Sook Yeong Park, 42, is accused of holding two South Korean children as slaves for six years, starting when they were just 9 and 11. Park, who faces charges of labor trafficking, among others, forced both children to work grueling hours at the house and at nearby businesses, forcing one child to sleep on the floor with no mattress and the other in a closet, according to the Queens District Attorney.
“According to the charges, the defendant cut off all contact between the two young victims and their parents in Korea," said D.A. Richard A. Brown. Park enslaved the children after one of her relatives brought the brother and sister to the country in January 2010, according to the criminal complaint. She then confiscated their passports and moved into a well-kept home on 196th Street, where she would hold them for years, Brown said.
The children were forced to meticulously clean the house, with the girl working after school from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., during which time she was also expected to give Park lengthy massages, manicures and pedicures, according to the complaint. On at least one occasion, Park allegedly made the girl give her a body massage for five hours while she watched television.
Sometimes she would pull the children out of school for days or even a month while forcing them to work on her home at 43-52 196th Street, according to the district attorney. Along with the work at home, Park made the girl and her brother work at a Queens grocery store for $10 an hour and pocketed all of her earnings, according to the complaint.