PHOTO: According to Queens DA Richard Brown, a Flushing woman allegedly forced two teen siblings to do her bidding over a six-year period. Photo Courtesy of Google
By Forum Staff
A Flushing woman has been charged with labor trafficking and other offenses for allegedly endangering the lives of two Korean children – now 16 and 14 – whom she took into her home in 2010 and then forced to do her bidding over a six-year period, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Sook Yeong Park, 42, was arraigned last Saturday on a criminal complaint charging her with labor trafficking, third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Park, who faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, posted the $10,000 bond/$2,500 cash bail. She was has been ordered to return to court on Feb. 16.
According to the criminal charges, the two victims — a 16-year-old female and her 14-year-old brother — were brought to the United States from Korea in approximately January 2010 by one of Park’s relatives, who delivered them to Park at her former borough residence. Thereafter, it is alleged that Park confiscated the siblings’ passports and moved to her present location.
Shortly after being placed with Park, the female victim was forced to work almost every day after school for approximately 10 hours (4 p.m. to 2 a.m.) doing housework, including cleaning Park’s home for her and her family, as well as forcing the teen to give her back and foot massages, and manicures and pedicures. In one instance, Brown said, it is alleged that Park forced the young female victim to give her a five-hour body massage while Park watched television.
Beginning in April 2013 and continuing until approximately 2014, the charges state, Park started requiring the female victim to work at a borough grocery store roughly two days a week for eight hours a day at a salary of $10 an hour—which the victim was forced to turn over in full to Park.
From approximately September 2014 through January 2016, Park forced the female victim to work several days a week at a grocery store on Northern Boulevard, as well as at other grocery stores in Manhattan, for nine hours a day at a wage of $10 an hour. As before, the victim allegedly had to turn over all her earnings to Park.
Beginning in August 2015, the boy was also required to work at the grocery store for at least one day a month and turn over all his wages to Park. The two children were allegedly told by Park that they had to work to pay their expenses because their mother wasn’t sending her any money from Korea.
During this time, Park allegedly routinely beat the siblings by striking them with objects, slapping them, stepping on their legs and kicking them about the body for not obeying her orders, causing them to fear her. Over the past year, it is alleged that Park often made the female victim miss school in order to assist her and clean her residence. In one instance, Park allegedly did not allow her to attend school for approximately one month so she could work in the house assisting Park.
The matter came to light when the children reported the physical abuse to school officials who, in turn, notified the police, Brown said.
“The defendant lives on a quiet, tree-lined Queens street with neat brick veneer homes that offered no clues to the horrors that she allegedly made her two young victims endure beginning when they were nine and eleven in age,” Brown noted.