Even criminal defense attorneys recognize that it takes a special type of awful to prey on the hopes and dreams of the less fortunate only to exploit them later. It takes a certain black-heartedness that most of us cannot understand. Especially when the exploitation takes so much planning and years of consistent pressure to execute.
Such is the plight of one Cicero woman who was recently sentenced to six and a half years for the forced enslavement and labor of Guatemalan immigrants. In this article, we will discuss what the woman did.
Concepcion Malinek recruited Guatemalan immigrants to come to the United States selling them on the concept of the American dream. The immigrants were told that they would be able to set up lives here in the U.S., get jobs, and have a better life. Prosecutors say that the reality the immigrants were presented with once they arrived in the U.S. fell far short of the American dream.
Immigrants who contracted with Malinek for her “services” were forced to live in squalid conditions for exorbitant prices ensuring that they could never work their way out of Malinek’s grasp.
When authorities raided her home, they found 22 adults and children living in squalor in Malinek’s basement which was teeming with roaches. They shared a single bathroom between them. Malinek’s bedroom uncovered more atrocities. She had kept a ledger with all the debts she held over the exploited immigrants. She had charged them not only for soap and other necessities, but also roach spray. To make matters even worse, Malinek held the adult’s children over their head as leverage saying that if the adults did not continue to work, the government would come and take their children away.
Between sobs, Malinek delivered a 40-minute apology statement to the victims and the court saying that she tried to do her best as a human and a woman.
Immigrants shared a number of disheartening stories concerning their treatment by Malinek. One told the court that Malinek refused to allow her child to go to the hospital after he was burned by boiling water.
Malinek was charged with a single count of human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation.
Malinek’s defense centered on whether the immigrants were treated better in their own country than they were by Malinek. Of course, that is not a real defense. You cannot kill somebody and then claim that they are better off dead. Even if it is true, it is not a defense to the charges, and it is especially not a defense when the perpetrator is benefiting from the crime.
The prosecution asked the court for eight years, but the judge sentenced Malinek to six and a half.
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