NEW YORK (AP) – Authorities say a New York City woman kept two South Korean children as slaves in her home for six years.
District Attorney Richard Brown says Queens resident Sook Yeong Park took the sister and brother into her home in 2010 and cut off contact with their parents. The children are now 14 and 16.
Brown says Park seized the children’s passports, forced them to do household chores into the night and made them work at a grocery store and turn their earnings over to her.
“According to the charges, the defendant cut off all contact between the two young victims and their parents in Korea,” D.A. Richard A. Brown tells WPIX-TV. Park enslaved the children after one of her relatives brought the brother and sister to the country in January 2010, according to the criminal complaint. She then confiscated their passports and moved into a well-kept home on 196th Street, where she would hold them for years.”
One neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said she sometimes saw the kids in front of the house raking leaves or doing other chores. “Honestly you’d just think it was a cultural thing,” she told WPIX. “You’d see the kids, but there was no indication (of abuse) . . . we didn’t even know that it wasn’t their mother.”
Park was arraigned Saturday on charges of labor trafficking, assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Her attorney did not immediately return a call.
Brown says the abuse came to light when a high school assistant principal noticed bruises on the girl’s legs.