United States District Court, Newark Vicinage/Direct

Lenora Lapidus, Claudia Flores/ACLU Women's Rights Project; Andrew Fields/CUNY School of Law Int'l Women's Human Rights Clinic; Baher Azmy/Seton Hall Civil Litigation Clinic

The ACLU-NJ filed suit on behalf of a Beletashachew Chere, an Ethiopian immigrant forced to work without pay as a live-in domestic and child care worker for a New Jersey couple. The suit alleges that Chere's employers seized her passport and other identification, and barred her from having contact with anyone outside of the home, including health care providers. Chere eventually escaped. The suit seeks damages under state and federal labor laws, the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against involuntary servitude, and international laws against trafficking in persons, enslavement and forced labor. The case is in discovery.

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