Sunday 23 October 2016

Indian Charged for Forcing Dancers Into Prostitution in US

Yoshita Singh/New York

An Indian man and a Pakistani psychiatrist are among four persons who were indicted here on charges of human trafficking and hiring female dancers in India and forcing them into prostitution and making them dance at nightclubs.

Rashmikant Patel, Riyaz Mazcuri, Sabja Khimani and Mehmood Hassanali Dhanani have been charged with four counts of forced labour conspiracy and visa fraud in an indictment brought by US Attorney in Manhattan Preet Bharara.

The indictment said that the group planned and committed human trafficking offences between 2008 and 2010 by hiring female dancers in India under the false pretense that they would be performing Indian cultural programmes in the US.

Once they arrived in the country, the dancers were forced to dance in nightclubs in front of crowds of men for 12 to 14 hours per night, seven nights a week, and pressuring certain performers to engage in prostitution.

The indictment said that the group confiscated the passports of the dancers once they reached the US and when they were not performing, confined them to hotel rooms and houses against their will.

The men had also made false statements in visa applications of the dancers so that the performers could enter the US.

The dancers were threatened that they would face "serious harm and physical restraint" if they did not follow the orders by the men.

The indictment also said that Patel submitted false documents and made fraudulent statements to obtain visas for the dancers.

Mazcuri, a resident of Texas was arrested last week and was released on a bond of USD 300,000. He would appear before a federal judge here later today.

A graduate of the University of Karachi in Pakistan, he has been a licensed psychiatrist in Texas since 1986.

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