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A Georgia family was indicted today on human trafficking, alien harboring, witness tampering and making false statement charges after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

An FBI Atlanta Field Division put out a press release with the details: Malika Garrett, 42; her husband, Russell Garrett, 43, a Forsyth County Deputy Sheriff; and D. William Garret, 72, a Fulton County Magistrate Judge, allegedly conspired to encourage and induce a female Indian national to enter the United States under false pretenses for the purpose of serving as a nanny for the Garrett’s children.

According to the indictment, Malika and Russell Garrett later stopped paying the victim for her work as a nanny, significantly curtailed her freedom and ability to leave their home, and threatened to malign her to her family in India if she did not work for them. The couple routinely compelled the victim to work in their home for up to 16 hours a day as well as insulted her, intimidated her, and threatened her with jail and deportation.

The victim escaped the Garrett home with the assistance of a neighbor.

According to the release, after her escape the Garretts spread vicious, false rumors about her in her Atlanta neighborhood and the local Indian community. They falsely accused the victim of theft to local authorities, reported the victim’s illegal status to federal authorities; and falsely accused the victim of engaging in terrorism-related activities to the Department of Homeland Security.

“This case should resonate loud and clear throughout our immigrant community,” said Kenneth Smith, special agent in charge of ICE’s office of investigations in Atlanta. “ICE will continue to aggressively identify and assist victims of human trafficking and apprehend and prosecute those engaged in trafficking offenses. We will go after those who take advantage, exploit and prey on vulnerable immigrants who come to America’s shores seeking a better life.”

If convicted, Malika Garrett, Russell Garrett and D. William Garrett face a maximum penalty of 60, 50 and 10 years in prison respectively.

Read Bill Rankin’s piece for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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