ACLU Lauds Punishment in Immigrant Slavery Case While Urging U.S. to Address Growing Problem

July 13, 2001 12:00 am

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Friday, July 13, 2001

OAKLAND, CA–The American Civil Liberties Union today said that the recent conviction of a man who enslaved and abused immigrant women and girls “should serve as a wake up call” to the United States and urged the government to aggressively enforce anti-trafficking, labor and housing laws.

the world,”” says Jayashri Srikantiah, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

According to the United States government, between one and two million women and children are trafficked each year worldwide, 50,000 of them to the United States. This number is on the rise, trafficking in humans being the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Typically, those targeted are poor, young, uneducated children and women.

Berkeley landlord Lakireddy Bali Reddy was sentenced on June 19, 2001 to nearly nine years months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2 million in restitution to the women and girls he brought from India for sex and cheap labor.

For more than two decades, Reddy built a real estate and restaurant empire by trafficking in human beings and abusing young girls. His criminal enterprise was located in the heart of Berkeley, a city known for its concern for and activism on human rights.

“If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere,” said Srikantiah. “If it had not been for the tragic death of one of these girls in November 1999, Reddy might still be operating today.”

ces that were revealed in this case.”

The sentencing brings an end to the case against Reddy. However, other cases remain pending. His brother, Jayaprakash Lakireddy, and sister-in-law, Annapurna Lakireddy, have pled guilty to conspiracy and will be sentenced this July. His sons, Prasad and Vijay Lakireddy, have refused plea bargains and their cases remain pending.

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