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Men Took Advantage Of Workers At Perth Amboy Slaughterhouse: Feds

Patch logo Patch 7/11/2021 Carly Baldwin
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PERTH AMBOY, NJ — Two New York City men were arrested Friday for allegedly forcing employees to work for them at a halal chicken slaughterhouse in Perth Amboy, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.

The people they are accused of forcing to work were undocumented immigrants, said the U.S attorneys office, who said the duo took advantage of the employees' non-legal status, requiring them to work 100 hours a week, paying them $290 a week and then deducting room and board, and also having employees live in an unheated, bug-infested boarding house.

Mohammad Abdul Wahid, 54, of Queens, New York, and Mohammed Iqbal Kabir, 42, of the Bronx, were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit forced labor (human trafficking); conspiracy to harbor undocumented persons for financial gain; and violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From July 2011 through January 2016, Wahid owned and operated a halal chicken slaughterhouse business in Perth Amboy. "Halal" means the live poultry was slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law, and the chickens had to be killed by Muslim individuals. The poultry would then be cleaned and prepared for sale by other employees.

Wahid and Kabir allegedly employed undocumented people. The employees were paid approximately $290 a week in cash and would typically work 70 to 100 hours a week, working six or seven days a week. The employees were not paid more if they worked more hours, nor were they given overtime pay. The employees lived in a boarding house in front of the slaughterhouse, for which Wahid allegedly deducted $40 a week from the employees’ paychecks. The boarding house did not have heat or hot water and was infested with insects.

The men employed two Muslim individuals to slaughter the chickens and forced them to continue working at the slaughterhouse. When these two victims complained about the hours they were working and the conditions of the facility (no gloves, masks or proper soap), the defendants allegedly threatened to call the police. The victims were afraid of being arrested and deported and they continued to work until health inspectors closed the slaughterhouse.

The two men are facing prison time.

“The Department of Justice is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to seek justice on behalf of vulnerable victims of human trafficking,” Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, said.

“This is precisely the kind of case the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams) were designed to investigate and prosecute,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “The criminal complaint against these defendants describes conduct that is as inhumane as it is illegal. By bringing to bear the resources of multiple law enforcement agencies with expertise on human trafficking, we can work more effectively to combat these kinds of crimes.”

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