June 18, 2008

Magistrate Faces Human Trafficking Charge

A magistrate and a sheriff's deputy were indicted on human trafficking charges involving a nanny from India, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

Malika Garrett of Woodstock, Ga.; her husband, Russell Garrett, a sheriff's deputy, and her father-in-law, D. William Garrett Jr., a county magistrate, were charged with human trafficking, alien harboring, witness tampering and making false statement, the department said in a release.

U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said the woman was brought to the United States from India to act as a nanny for their children. Malika and Russell Garrett later stopped paying the woman for her work, curtailed her freedom and ability to leave the house, and threatened her with jail and deportation.

When the nanny escaped from the Garretts' home, the couple spread false rumors about her.

This case is an example of alleged domestic servitude of a nanny brought over from India, Nahmias said. This type of abuse is insidious, as it preys upon those who are vulnerable due to their immigration status and unfamiliarity with this country's legal system.