Flushing couple gets light sentences for holding two young children as slaves in their home

196th Street
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A couple who held two young Korean children as slaves in their Flushing home have been sentenced to jail time and probation.

Sook Yeong Park, 50, and her husband Jeong Taek Lee, 54, pleaded guilty in July to two counts of labor trafficking. On Sept. 20, Park was sentenced to two to six years in prison and Lee was sentenced to five years probation for his role, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Park and Lee were entrusted to care for the brother and sister — who were 9 and 11 years old at the time, respectively — in 2010. Shortly thereafter, the couple, who lived in a home on 196th Street, seized the children’s passports and the female victim was forced to do Park’s bidding, including working ten hours a day on housework after school and giving her back and foot massages and manicures and pedicures.

Beginning in April 2013 and continuing through January 2016, the female victim was forced to work jobs at various institutions outside of the home and mandated to hand over all of her earnings to the couple. Beginning in August 2015, the younger victim was also forced to work at a grocery store and hand over his pay.

Between January 2010 and January 2016, the older sibling was forced to sleep on the floor of a small closet while the younger sibling slept on a bedroom floor. Park routinely abused the young children, hitting them with objects, slapping them or stepping on their legs.

All the while, the children’s parents were sending money to the couple for the children’s care, according to prosecutors.

The situation came to light in January 2016 when the siblings, now teenagers, approached school officials, who contacted police.

“This kind of treatment of another human being is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated in Queens County,” Brown said. “The victims in this case have been reunited with their biological parents in Korea and this resolution allows them to continue with their lives without having to revisit the horrors of their time with the defendants.”