Photo Courtesy of Google
Shaheldul Islam allegedly forced the victim to work for him without pay.
By Forum Staff
Diplomatic immunity did not prevent a Queens county grand jury from indicting a Bangladesh consular officer, with limited immunity, on labor trafficking, assault and other criminal charges this week.
Md Shahedul Islam reportedly forced a foreign national to work for his family in their Queens home without financial compensation from approximately 2012 through May 2016, when the victim finally escaped the residence.
“The allegations in this case are very disturbing,” District Attorney Brown said. “A consular officer is accused of using both physical force and vile threats to control a person in his employment and whom he refused to pay. The defendant allegedly seized the victim’s passport and, from the first day on the job, refused to pay wages due the employee and, furthermore, used threats of harm to his family residing overseas to prevent him from leaving his employ.”
Islam, 45, who resides in Jamaica Estates, holds the post of Deputy Consul General of Bangladesh and is accorded limited immunity, which pertains specifically to official actions only. Islam has been charged in a 33-count indictment with second- and fourth-degree grand larceny, second- and third-degree assault, labor trafficking, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, failure to pay the minimum wage and second-degree harassment.
He was arraigned, released on $50,000 bond/ $25,000 cash bail and ordered to surrender his passport.
Islam, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was ordered to return to court on June 28, 2017.
The indictment says the victim was brought to Queens, New York, from Bangladeshi 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 a day in the family’s home. Even though the victim had a contract which outlined his compensation, he was never paid for his work.
The victim was repeatedly assaulted physically by the defendant whenever he didn’t follow orders exactly. Islam struck the victim with his hands as well as a wooden shoe on occasion.
The victim’s only sources of income came from tips from guests when he was a server at parties and from the minuscule amount of money that the defendant sent to the victim’s family in Bangladesh.
And in 2014, after watching news coverage about an Indian diplomat with similar charges levied against him, Islam came up with a plan to cover his tracks. He took most of the victim’s cash tip money and then gave it back in the form of a check to make it appear the victim was getting a weekly paycheck.
The victim asked to leave Islam’s employ on several occasions, and in response, he was either struck or threatened with harm to his family back home in Bangladesh. Islam specifically threatened to kill the man’s mother and young son and, on occasion, stated he would have the victim’s college-age daughter shamed if he did not continue to work as his servant. In May 2016, the victim managed to escape from the residence and reported his experience to the police.