Mon June 18, 2012
Milwaukee human traffickers released from prison, deported
A Milwaukee couple convicted of human trafficking in 2006 was released from prison this week and immediately deported to their native Philippines.
Jefferson and Elnora Calimlim worked as medical doctors in Milwaukee for more than 20 years; for 19 of those years they held a Filipina domestic servant in virtual slavery in their home. The woman was 38 when she was released, after the Calimlims were arrested. Over the 19 years, the woman was fed, but paid no salary and was locked in a basement room every night and forced to work seven days a week from 6 a.m.-11p.m. The Calimlims served six years in prison and were ordered to pay $900,000 in restitution to the woman. Shawn Neudauer is a spokesman for Homeland Security Investigations, the branch of the Department of Homeland Security that handles human trafficking cases. He says this case was one of the first cases prosecuted under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act: “It's the second longest indentured servitude case that our agency has investigated.“
Neudauer says human trafficking cases are often difficult to prosecute because the victims are held hostage by threat of violence and deportation. He says that makes it difficult to convince them to testify against a trafficker: “If we're going to continue to harm a victim by forcing them to testify, we would rather not: we would rather use our other unique law enforcement authorities and then have, of course, the U.S. attorney's office prosecute a case in a related matter, rather than forcing the victim through what could be a traumatizing experience.”
In continuing to protect the victim in this particular case Nedbauer would not reveal her name or current location but did say she has recovered from her years of slavery and is doing much better.