By Madina Toure
A Flushing woman has been charged with labor trafficking and other charges for allegedly holding two Korean children captive as slaves for six years, the Queens district attorney said.
Sook Yeong Park, 42, allegedly took the two children, 9 and 11 years old at the time, into her home in 2010 and forced them to work, claiming their mother was not sending her money from Korea, DA Richard Brown said. The girl spoke to her mother last week for the first time in three years, he said.
“According to the charges, the defendant cut off all contact between the two young victims and their parents in Korea, held them hostage in her home by seizing their passports, forced them to do household chores well into the night and to work outside of the home and turn over all their earnings to her,” Brown said.
Park was arraigned Jan. 9 on charges of labor trafficking, assault and endangering the welfare of a child, Brown said.
In January 2010, one of Park’s relatives brought the now 16-year-old girl and her 14-year-old brother to Park’s former Queens residence in the United States from Korea, according to Brown.
She allegedly took the victims’ passports and moved to her current location, Brown said.
Park forced the female victim to work nearly every day after school for about 10 hours, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., doing housework, including cleaning her home and forcing her to give her back and foot massages and manicures and pedicures, Brown continued.
From April 2013 to about 2014, the suspect made the girl work at a Queens grocery store about two days a week for eight hours a day on a salary of $10 an hour, Brown added.
The girl also had to work several days a week at a grocery store on Northern Boulevard as well as at other grocery stores in New York City for nine hours a day, the DA said.
The boy worked at the grocery store for at least one day a month starting in August 2015, Brown said.
Between January 2010 and January 2016, the girl slept on a small closet floor and the boy on a bedroom floor, each with one blanket and no mattress, and Park would beat them, the DA said.
She allegedly scratched the girl’s legs with a nail clipper, kicked the girl on her leg and head and cut off her hair, Brown said.
The girl attended Francis Lewis HS, where the assistant principal noticed she was often absent, had trouble staying awake and had bruises on her legs, he said.
The assistant principal went to Park’s residence, forced her to turn over the victims’ passports and brought the kids to the Northern Boulevard grocery store to collect their salaries and school officials notified the police, he added.If convicted, Park faces up to seven years in prison, and was ordered held on $10,000 bond/$2,500 cash bail and to return to court Feb. 16, Brown said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour