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Illinois Woman Held 33 Immigrants In Her Basement In “Forced Labor” Scheme

March 30, 2019

The FBI raided a Cicero, Illinois home this week and found 33 Guatemalan immigrants held in the home’s basement in an alleged forced labor scheme. The homeowner, Concepcion Malinek, 49, has been arrested and thus far charged with 2 counts of forced labor.

19 adults and 14 children were found in the home, according to multiple news sources.

CNN reports Malinek, who holds dual citizenship in Guatemala and the US, apparently threatened the immigrants by telling the adults she’d have them deported and would keep their children with her state-side.

According to Fox News, it is unclear whether the immigrants were all in the United States legally, though Fox also reports a victim statement in the criminal complaint says that only two of the 33 were not documented.

Cicero, Illinois, is listed as a “sanctuary city.” Such cities have a “Don’t ask, don’t tell”-type policy regarding a person’s immigration status. Such cities have been criticized by advocates for stricter immigration policies.

Malinek is held without bond and faces a possible prison sentence of 40 years, or 20 years on each count.

News accounts include a statement by one man who came to the US “seeking asylum” who gave border authorities Malinek’s name and address as his American contact, and where he would await processing for citizenship status.

For using her name, the reports say, Malinek essentially enslaved the man, telling him he owed her $18,000 for such use. He managed to find a job, with Malinek’s help, that paid $1,956 a month, CNN reports, with Malinek taking more than half of that each month for his “debt” and other expenses.

Malinek is alleged to have told the immigrants that “immigration knows how many people live in this house, you guys are poor and I have all the money,” CNN reports.

At least one of the victims had met Malinek while working at a hotel she owns in Guatemala, CNN reports.

 

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