Halal Slaughterhouse Operators Charged With Human Trafficking
2 Dec 2016
Perth Amboy, NJ

Two Muslim businessmen who ran a Halal chicken slaughterhouse were arrested and charged by federal authorities for alleged human trafficking and harboring illegal immigrants for exploitation and monetary gain.

Mohammad Abdul Wahid, 54, of Queens, New York, and Mohammed Iqbal Kabir, 42, from the Bronx, were each charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking-related offenses; conspiracy to harbor undocumented persons for financial gain; and violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced in a news release.

Between July 2011 and January 2016, Wahid owned and operated the Halal chicken slaughterhouse in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, which followed the traditional Islamic practice of Muslim individuals slaughtering poultry.

Wahid and Kabir reportedly employed Muslim illegal immigrants to work at the slaughterhouse, paying them only $290 a week in cash based on 70 to 100 hours a week.

The defendants allegedly did not pay overtime and forced employees to live in a boarding house nearby, which deducted $40 a week from each paycheck. That house was infested with insects and did not have hot water or heat.

Wahid and Kabir reportedly threatened employees that complained about work and living conditions with calls to the police for potential deportation. The matter would remain unresolved until the plant failed health inspections.

The pair is now facing up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the human trafficking charge alone. For harboring illegal immigrants and violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, they face up to 10 years in prison and an additional maximum of six months in prison, along with a an up to $260,000 fine.

The charges will be taken before a New Jersey grand jury for a possible indictment.