Cambodian Woman Awarded $1.7 Million From Crooked Rockport Couple
It's hard to imagine that even in 2022, there is still modern-day slavery happening, and it's going on right in front of our faces. One woman was just awarded $1.78 million after being forced to work for a family for years after being trafficked from Cambodia.
32-year-old, Sophy Treadway 32, filed a civil lawsuit back in 2019 against a Rockport couple and their doughnut business, 'Rockport Doughnuts'. Matthew and Sopheak Otero were being sued by Treadway who had worked for the couple until 2015 when she got married.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Treadway grew up living with her aunt, Sinoeun Mao in Cambodia. According to her attorney, Xenos Yuen "Sophy did not have a formal education, and at the age of 14 she began working in a factory, making garments for western consumers."
THE NEW NANNIES
The Oteros and Treadway met in 2008 when they moved to Cambodia for a job. Only a year after meeting, the Oteros hired Treadway and her aunt Mao as, "full-time domestic servants and nannies to their two young children," only paying them 2-3 dollars a day.
Fast-forward to 2011, the Oteros obtained 3-month VISAS for both Treadway and her aunt Mao for $40,000. According to the suit, the Oteros "brought the women to the United States never intending to let them return to Cambodia, but illegally harboring them to work them for three years either without pay or with virtually no pay."
The two ladies worked for the Oteros in their home and eventually in their doughnut shop, 'Rockport Doughnuts.' According to court documents, Mr. Otero would brag about his workers calling them, "My ladies, one I take to my room, the other cleans my room, and the other cooks my meals, what a life, huh?"
Originally, Treadway and Mao were told they would get VISAS and come to the US in exchange for 3 years of work. The woman worked as domestic servants to repay the Oteros for the debt incurred when transporting them to the United States.
However, "the Oteros continued to attribute new debt obligations to her (Treadway) and force her to work practically for free, until her marriage to her husband, Rocky Treadway, allowed her to obtain a green card in 2016."
A TYPICAL WORKDAY
A typical workday for Treadway would be working at the doughnut shop around midnight and ending her day doing errands and chores at the family's home until 8 pm. Treadway and her aunt would receive $75 monthly for "working nineteen to twenty (19-20) hours per day, seven (7) days per week, three-hundred sixty-five (365) days per year."
THE SUIT AND RESULTS
The Oteros and their business were ordered to pay Treadway $282,282 in compensatory damages for her past labor and $1,500,000 in punitive damages.