Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe today announced that Rajani Jagota (DOB 12/03/80) of 28 Butternut Drive, New City, New York was sentenced to a determinate term of two years and one-to-three years indeterminate in state prison on her February 2012 conviction after a nonjury trial on the top counts of the indictment that charged her with:
"Simply put, this is a tragic case of modern-day slavery. The victim was physically assaulted, psychologically coerced and fearful of reporting the often-daily abuse to authorities. We are committed to using aggressive and innovative tactics to hold accountable those who harbor and exploit others for their own needs. This defendant will pay a very heavy price for their actions.”
The victim, now 25-years-old, is an Indian citizen who was brought to the United States through an arranged marriage with Vishal Jagota (DOB 01/16/78) of 28 Butternut Drive, New City, New York.
The defendant, along with her mother, Parveen Jagota (DOB 01/04/54) of 28 Butternut Drive, New City, New York, engaged in a scheme, using intimidation, physical abuse and manipulation to force the victim to work as a round-the-clock servant, performing a variety of household chores, cooking, child care and other tasks under threats of violence.
When the victim threatened to contact authorities, the defendants vowed to concoct wild stories, accusing her of committing various types of crime.
On one occasion, Parveen Jagota and Rajani Jagota burned the victims’ hand with a hot iron in order to “teach her a lesson,” following their displeasure with her ironing skills. Rajani Jagota, the victim’s sister-in-law, forbade the victim from receiving medical treatment for the serious burn, telling her to treat the open wound with toothpaste.
The victim was forced to face her captors for nearly three years, beginning shortly after her arrival in Rockland County in January 2008 until September 2010.
“Despite relentless exploitation, trapped in dehumanizing conditions, the victim in this case exhibited enormous strength by coming forward and participating in the prosecution of her captors. Victims of human trafficking rarely break free. When they do, most are too wary of authorities to detail their personal nightmare. Hopefully, this case has raised awareness of the plight of people caught in the dark world of modern-day slavery,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Arthur J. Ferraro.
This case marks the first indictments, trial and convictions under New York State’s new human trafficking law.
Parveen Jagota is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, 2012.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Amanda Doty and Chief Assistant District Attorney Arthur J. Ferraro.