Justice Department says Ill. family charged with 'years-long forced labor scheme' involving minors

Alleged forced labor, kidnapping plot occurred between 2015-2021.
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The U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
(Kevin Dietsch/Getty)

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced charges brought against an Illinois family over allegations of "conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and kidnapping" that took place over a period of six years. 

The family of "siblings and Guatemalan nationals" allegedly conspired to "bring two minor victims from Guatemala to the United States to work in [their] homes," the DOJ said in a press release.

The accused "used false promises of a better life and an education to gain the permission of the victims’ mothers for their minor daughters to be brought to the United States to live with the defendants," the Department of Justice claims, after which the accused "isolated the victims in their homes, restricted their communications with their family in Guatemala, and subjected them to physical, verbal and psychological abuse, among other coercive means."

If convicted, the defendants face "up to life in prison as well as mandatory restitution," the press release stated.

Federal and local officials—including the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service—are involved in the case as well, the DOJ noted.