A woman who traveled from China to Woodbury, Mn. to work as a nanny claims she was horrifically abused for months before escaping this week.
Her alleged captor, Lili Huang, is being charged with five felony counts including labor trafficking, false imprisonment and assault for holding the woman in a state of "slavery or indentured servitude," according to prosecutors. The 58-year-old nanny, who is not being named, worked for the wealthy family in Shanghai and came to the US with them on a visa in March of this year. The woman was supposed to receive around $1.80 per hour for cooking, cleaning, and childcare but police say she was never paid, according to the Washington Post.
Instead, they say, 35-year-old Huang forced the nanny to work up to 18 hours a day, feeding her a starvation diet of crackers that brought her weight down from 120 pounds to just 88 pounds. She was not allowed to leave the house and was often beaten, sometimes so badly she could not stand and was forced to crawl around the house "like a dog" for hours.
Huang reportedly took the woman's passport after she expressed that she wanted to return to China, telling her she was "not going anywhere." She felt trapped without identification or the ability to speak English, but finally made her escape when the abuse came to a head on July 13, after Huang threatened to kill her with a knife for spilling food. She ran from the captor's home and was found two miles away with blackened eyes. X-rays taken at the hospital revealed she had many broken bones, including a broken sternum and broken ribs. Speaking to a translator, she said she had been looking for an airport to go home when she was found.
Police arrested Huang and seized a number of items from the home, including a bag of human hair found under the nanny's mattress. The woman said she had hid it there for fear Huang would find it and "force her to eat it." Huang is being held on $350,000 bail, according to the Star Tribune.
Representatives for Woodbury Police did not immediately return Complex's request for comment.