A high ranking Taiwanese official pleaded guilty to foreign labor contracting fraud involving two Filipino housekeepers whom she illegally employed in Overland Park, Kansas.
Prosecutors said Lui Hsien Hsien, also known as Jacqueline Liu, the director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Missouri, may soon face deportation after pleading guilty to enslaving two unnamed Filipino housekeepers.
Balitang America contacted Don Ledford, spokesperson of the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri, who said that the two Filipinos are now safe in an undisclosed location.
Ledford added that victims will receive a combined restitution of more than $80,000 in unpaid wages and may file for a T-Visa if they choose to stay in the US.
Court documents obtained by Balitang America showed that in November 2010, Liu recruited a Filipina from Manila; identified in the plea agreement as Female Victim #1 or FV1.
The two Filipino victims were made to work 16 to 18 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, and was paid only a quarter of their agreed wages. They were originally promised $1,240 a month, but Liu only paid the Filipina $450.
Liu also allegedly threatened the Filipina with deportation if she “acted out” or do not follow Liu’s rules. The Filipina housekeeper was reported to have stopped eating after going into depression as a result of the physical and verbal abuses from their employer, Liu.
The government’s investigation uncovered evidence that Liu had earlier engaged in the same conduct with another Filipina employee. Although the original federal criminal complaint charged Liu with conduct related to Female Victim #1, the affidavit filed in support of that complaint referred to a second victim, FV2.
As part of the plea agreement, Liu is required to accept responsibility for the prior Filipino victim whom Liu employed in 2009-2010.
US prosecutors said the two housekeepers were victims of severe form of human trafficking and will soon receive a government support visa that would allow them to stay legally in the US.
Meanwhile, the Philippine government through The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said the two Filipina OFWs may approach the nearest Philippine Embassy or the Philippine Overseas Labor Office for assistance.
OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon said her office is prepared to extend all possible assistance within their mandate.
Liu may face up to five years in jail if convicted of the single charge of fraud in foreign labor contract.
Meantime, the Taiwanese envoy remains in federal custody while she awaits sentencing date, to be determined shortly.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia L. Cordes. It was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.