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This Heinous Story Of A Guatemalan U.S. Citizen Who Tricked 33 Guatemalan Immigrants Into Forced Labor Is Horrific

Kendall County Sheriff

Human trafficking doesn’t just occur in grimy, faraway places. It happens right here, in our backyards, every single day. The latest proof: A forced labor scheme in the basement of an Illinois home.

Last week, Concepcion Malinek was arrested for labor trafficking after federal agents found 33 Guatemalan immigrants locked up in her suburban Cicero home, NBC News reports.

The woman, 49, is believed to have helped several of the captives cross into the US and charged them thousands of dollars through forced labor once they arrived at her residence. If they did not pay up, Malinek, a dual citizen of the US and Guatemala, told them they would be deported.

She allegedly drove the adults to and from work every day and locked them away in her basement, where they were not allowed to leave unless requested by Malinek, for the rest of the day.

One man, who authorities are calling Victim D, said he owed the woman $18,000 for letting him use her name and residence on his immigration paperwork. Another captive, a woman identified as Victim C who lived in the home with her husband and two young children, said Malinek was verbally abusive.

A federal prosecutor believes Malinek received at least $120,000 in cash from the hostages.

According to a 12-page federal criminal complaint filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Malinek held 19 adults and 14 children in her home since 2018.

The FBI were tipped off of Malinek’s operation in early March.

On Thursday, a federal judge at the Dirksen Federal Building denied her bond deeming her a flight risk and danger.

Malinek is in federal custody awaiting trial, where she faces a maximum of 20 years per count in the case.

Read: The New Documentary About Missing Madeleine McCann Is A Reminder Of These Latina Cold Cases

Guatemala’s Groundbreaking Decision To Allow U.S.- Based Citizens To Vote Could Change The Way We Cast Ballots In The Near Future

Things That Matter

Guatemala’s Groundbreaking Decision To Allow U.S.- Based Citizens To Vote Could Change The Way We Cast Ballots In The Near Future

lili_v_corona / Instagram

Voting in every single election is a crucial part of voicing your concerns about how your country is run. It’s also the perfect time to dictate change, especially with presidential elections.

There’s so much corruption in Latin American — and in the U.S. — that the only way we can make a difference is by voting corruption out. That’s exactly what is taking place in Central America.

Elections are taking place in Guatemala and for the first time ever, 60,000 Guatemalans living in the U.S. will be able to cast their vote.

Credit: @Forbes / Twitter

“At least 60,000 were eligible to vote in Los Angeles, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C., all home to large numbers of Guatemalan emigres,” the Associated Press is reporting.

Aside from voting for a new president, Guatemalans will be able to vote for a new vice-president, 158 congress members, and 340 mayors. Guatemalans living in the U.S. will only be able to vote for the president and vice president.

These elections are extremely important as the three previous presidents have been charged with corruption.

Credit: @BoscoJI65 / Twitter

“There is a belief that instead of advancing in these four years of government, we’ve gone backward,” Marco René Cuellar, 39, told the New York Times. “We’ve lost our way as a country, but we should not lose faith in the democratic process we have.”

Furthermore, the next president can help bring peace to the country and end the mass exodus that is going on in Guatemala.

Credit: @WSJ / Twitter

Since 2016, more than 90,000 Guatemalans have been deported from the U.S, NPR reports, and thousands more make the trek back due to lack of work, violence, and poverty.

While voting is taking place now, the second round of voting will happen in August.

Out of 19 presidential candidates including a former First Lady and an indigenous woman, it looks like Guatemala will have a female leader.

Credit: @Reuters / Twitter

According to the Times, “Sandra Torres had captured more than 22 percent of the vote, followed by four-time presidential candidate Alejandro Giammattei with 16 percent.” They also report none of the candidates will secure 50 percent of the votes or more so that 22 percent is looking really good for Torres.  

READ: Here’s How These Huaraches Are Helping Guatemala’s Mayans Fight Pollution

A Group Of Angry Tias And Abuelas Is Doing What The Government Cannot: Helping Undocumented People

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A Group Of Angry Tias And Abuelas Is Doing What The Government Cannot: Helping Undocumented People

Angry Tias And Abuelas / Facebook

All over the country groups and nonprofits are taking it upon themselves to deal with the immigration crisis in a humane way. They are doing what the government cannot: provide help to thousands of undocumented migrants looking for refuge. However, helping people isn’t as easy as one may think. Dr. Scott Warren was just on trial this week for giving undocumented migrants water and food. Thankfully the trial ended in a hung jury, but that goes to show that in this country, people do risk prosecution for giving people the dignity they deserve. That is why the story of these women warms our heart.

A group of women received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for their advocacy of undocumented people.

Facebook/angrytiasandabuelas

The women, who call their organization the Angry Tias and Abuelas, got honored last week for helping undocumented people transition from the moment that government officials release them from detention.

Here’s their mission: To advocate for dignity and justice for individuals and families seeking asylum at our borders. As they embark on their journeys to destinations across the U.S., our aim is to assure their basic health and safety needs are met. We provide emergency assistance such as food, water, clothing, toiletries, logistical support, and cash funds when needed to those recently released from ICE custody at bus depots or shelters in Brownsville and McAllen. We inform asylum seekers of their rights as they await entry across international bridges and give direct financial support to refugee shelters in the RGV and select immigrant shelters in Matamoros and Reynosa.

While the group said the award means everything to them, they are more frustrated with how the government is treating people at the border.

“Yes, we are mad,” she told NBC News. “We’re mad at the brutality of the United States government against the same people who are the same background as our own. These are families seeking safety from repression exactly like our own forefathers.”

The group launched just last year after seeing groups of women and children sleeping outside in torturous heat.

“It was quite a shocking scene,” Joyce Hamilton told CBS News about their first encounter with undocumented people. She said that her friends gathered to do something about it and help any way they could.

“We started talking to each other and meeting, and then enough of us were seeing each other enough times that some of us met for coffee at my house just to talk about coordinating a little bit and we formed the Angry Tias, thinking it would last for a few months,” Jennifer Harbury also said to CBS News. But the issue has not been resolved, and so they’ve continued to work.

Click here if you’d like more information on how you can help the Angry Tias and Abuelas group.

READ: Trial Begins For Scott Warren, The Volunteer Arrested For Giving Undocumented People Water, Saving Lives

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