Fierce

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

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.

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