(CN) - A high-ranking Bangladeshi diplomat in New York forced a servant to toil in "slavery-like conditions" after luring him to the United States with the promise of a dream job, the man claims in Federal Court.
Mashud Parves Rana, a Bangladesh native, sued the consul general of Bangladesh, Monirul Islam, and his wife, Fahima Tahsina Prova, in Federal Court in Manhattan. He claims they promised to pay him $3,000 a month to work in their luxury Midtown apartment.
However, Rana says, after taking his first-ever plane flight and arriving in New York in September 2012, the diplomat and his wife forced him to work 16½ hours or more a day, seven days a week, for 18 months, without a single day off - and didn't pay him "even a single dollar of his promised wages."
During this year and a half, he says, they prohibited him "from leaving their residence under his own volition, threatening to beat him or kill him, threatening that the police will arrest him or kill him if he left the residence, physically assaulting him on at least two occasions, [and] maintaining possession over Mr. Rana's passport and visa."
Rana says he had to "cook all meals from scratch, iron clothes, wash clothes by hand, watch defendants' 11-year-old son, and clean the entire apartment daily."
"Mr. Rana would complete his daily tasks by approximately 11:00 p.m. each night. However, if defendants were attending an event outside of the house, Mr. Rana was required to wait for them to return to let them in and prepare a late meal for them. On these occasions, Mr. Rana did not finish work until approximately 1 a.m.," he says in the complaint.
In addition, "Several times per month, defendants hosted parties and gatherings in their home, for which Mr. Rana was required to cook for all of the guests, serve, and to clean up after the guests left. On these occasions, Me. Rana did not finish his work until at least 3 a.m."
On top of that, he claims, "Defendants also required that Mr. Rana cook food for events at the Bangladesh Consulate and required that he work as a busboy and server at monthly community events at the Bangladesh Consulate."
And if his work conditions were bad, Rana says, his living conditions were worse.
"In defendants' first apartment, Mr. Rana was required to sleep on a mattress on the floor in the kitchen despite the act that there was a spare bedroom that was unoccupied unless guests were visiting," he says. "In defendants' second apartment, Mr. Rana slept in a room that was primarily used for extra storage space. Mr. Rana was not given any place to keep his personal belongings and stored them in a plastic bag near his bed."
While he literally slaved away in the defendant's kitchen, Rana says, the defendants never allowed him to eat their food or to eat anywhere but alone in the kitchen and then, he "was only allowed to eat expired or leftover food that was deemed not suitable for defendants to eat."
Rana says that throughout his ordeal, the defendants maintained possession of his passport and immigration documents.
He seeks unpaid wages and compensatory, punitive and liquidated wages with pre- and post-judgment interest, on claims of false imprisonment, assault and battery, trespass to chattel, conversion, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, violation of the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and multiple violations of federal and New York employment law.
He is represented by Dana Sussman of the Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Diplomats in New York are frequently accused of putting countrymen to forced labor.