March 12, 2020
A New Jersey woman who forced a Sri Lankan woman to work in her home as nanny for more than nine years without pay – during which time the defendant married the victim in order to keep her in the United States – was sentenced to prison by a federal judge in Camden this week.
Alia Imad Faleh Al Hunaity, 44, of Secaucus, Hudson County, had brought the woman to the U.S. from Sri Lanka on a temporary visa to perform domestic work at her North Jersey homes, according to court documents.
Hunaity was sentenced on Tuesday to five years and 10 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, along with being ordered to pay the victim $1.2 million in restitution, online court documents stated. The Sri Lankan woman was not identified by name throughout court proceedings.
Most temporary work visas last for around one year. However, once the visa ended the woman was forced to stay illegally in the U.S. for nearly a decade, cooking and cleaning for Hunaity, federal prosecutors said. Then in 2018, Hunaity forced the woman to marry her so the victim could continue to work for Hunaity, often providing childcare for her three sons.
The whole time the woman working for Hunaity wasn't paid a cent despite being promised she'd get the small sum of $150 per month, and Hunaity forced the Sri Lankan immigrant to sleep in public spaces of the home, like in on a bed in the kitchen, federal prosecutors said.
In May a federal jury found Hunaity guilty of forced labor, forced marriage, and harboring an alien for financial gain.
Hunaity hasn't been in custody since the conviction last May, and U.S. Bureau of Prisons had not assigned a date for her to start serving her sentence.