Human trafficking

Wealthy Minnesota family accused of forcing Chinese nanny to eat her own hair

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Lili Huang, charged with assault and imprisonment of Woodbury nanny.(Washington County Sheriff)

In the well-off city of Woodbury, Minnesota, police discovered a badly bruised 58-year-old woman who said that she had been beaten, starved, and threatened with death while working as a nanny for a wealthy local family. The woman, who spoke only Chinese, said she began working for the Huang family in Shanghai, where she took care of the family’s daughter. She was treated well in China, the nanny said, so she agreed when she was offered $890 a month to work for the family in the U.S. When she arrived in Minnesota in March, however, the nanny says she was never paid. Instead, she said she received beatings, was made to walk like a dog, and was even forced to eat her own hair. Upon being taken to the hospital by police, the woman was found to have multiple broken ribs and a broken sternum, in addition to two black eyes and other injuries.

The nanny’s employer, 35-year-old Lili Huang, appeared in court Friday to face charges that included human trafficking, seizing a passport with intent to violate labor trafficking, false imprisonment, and assault. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said that Huang confiscated the nanny’s passport so she couldn’t return to China, comparing the nanny’s treatment to “slavery or indentured servitude.” Authorities said that over the course of four months working from the family, the nanny’s weight plunged to 88 pounds from 120 pounds due to starvation. The nanny finally made her escape, according to the county prosecutor’s statement, after an incident in which the nanny spilled food on the counter and “the defendant came after the woman with a knife threatening to kill her.” The woman fled the house, walking more than two miles before being discovered by police.

Among the items seized by police from the family’s $539,000 home was a bag hidden under the nanny’s mattress that was found to be full of human hair. The nanny said that she had hidden the hair after Huang had ripped it from her head, allegedly to prevent Huang from “[forcing] her to eat it.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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