A Fremont woman has been sentenced in federal court in Oakland to three years and one month in prison for confiscating the passport and visa of a Chinese woman in order to force her to work as an unpaid servant. Fang Ping Ding, 62, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong. Her daughter, Wei Wei Liang, 36, and son-in-law, Bo Shen, 43, were given sentences of home confinement and probation for harboring an undocumented immigrant. Prosecutors said in court papers that Ding recruited the 49-year-old victim in China in 2007 to work as a domestic servant for $650 per month and brought her to the Fremont home shared by Ding, Liang and Shen in 2008. The woman came from the rural Anhui province but had been working as a servant in Shanghai for two years. After her arrival in Fremont, Ding confiscated the woman’s passport and visa and began forcing her to work without pay seven days a week, from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m., cooking, cleaning and caring for Shen’s and Liang’s two young children, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors said Ding physically and verbally abused the woman and restricted what she was allowed to eat. Shen and Liang worked full time and were not in the house for long stretches of time, leaving Ding in charge of the victim. The victim escaped by fleeing the home on April 18, 2009, and contacted authorities with the help of a passerby. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said, “By being forced to work without pay for more than a year, physically abused and having her visa and passport taken from her, the victim in this case was denied a basic constitutional right that Americans take for granted — freedom.” The three defendants pleaded guilty before Armstrong on Nov. 1. Ding pleaded guilty to the crime of illegal conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labor. Her daughter and son-in-law pleaded guilty to charges of harboring an illegal alien private financial gain.
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