Consular Officer Arrested
A Queens grand jury has indicted a Bangladeshi consular officer with limited immunity on charges of labor trafficking, assault and allegedly forcing a foreign national to work for his family in their Queens home without financial compensation from 2012 through May 2016, when the victim was able to escape the residence, the Queens district attorney said.
Md Shahedul Islam, 45, who lives in Jamaica Estates and is the deputy consul general of Bangladesh, has been charged in a 33-count indictment. The defendant was arraigned on June 12 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Daniel Lewis, who set bail at $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash bail and ordered the defendant to surrender his passport, Queens DA Richard Brown said. Islam who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was ordered to return to court on June 28.
According to the indictment, the victim was brought to Queens from Bangladesh sometime between 2012 and 2013 to work as household help for Islam and his family. Soon after his arrival, Islam allegedly took possession of the victim’s passport and required the man to work 18 hours per day in the family’s home.
Even though the victim had a contract that outlined his compensation, it is alleged that he was never paid for his work. If the victim disobeyed the defendant’s orders, he was allegedly physically assaulted by the defendant, who either struck him with his hand or a wooden shoe. According to the charges, the victim’s only source of compensation came from tips from guests when he was a server at parties and from the miniscule amount of money that the defendant sent to the victim’s family in Bangladesh.
But in 2014, the defendant allegedly sought to cover up his actions by taking most of the victim’s cash tip money, which he gave back in the form of a check. The victim then was forced to deposit the check into his bank account to make it appear that he was receiving a paycheck, the DA said.
When the victim asked to leave the defendant’s employ on several occasions, the defendant is alleged to have hit him or threatened to have the man’s mother and young son in Bangladesh killed or his college-age daughter shamed if he did not continue his work.