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NRI couple's victims to get citizenship

india Updated: Dec 20, 2007 11:53 IST
PTI
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As the Indian American couple Mahender and Varsha Sabhnani await their sentencing after being convicted of 'modern day slavery', their two victims hailing from Indonesia may be on the road to becoming United States citizens.

Currently, Samirah and Enung are being looked after by Catholic charities which are under contract of the Justice Department to look after victims of human trafficking.

The two women had no legal status and were given visa for one year to testify. That would expire in May after which they are likely to get special visa which lets victims of such abuse stay in the country for four years at the end of which they get Green Card and then go on to become citizens if they so choose.

Both the women have no money and authorities are trying to calculate what the Sabhnanis own them in back wages. That could be a hefty sum even it is calculated on the basis of minimum wage.

Samirah has five children and Enung nine, the Newsday daily said. US District Judge Arthur Spatt had scheduled the sentencing for March 28 next year. Each could get 20 years in prison. The defence lawyers said they plan to file an appeal perhaps as early as next month.

Currently, Sabhnanis are on bail and living in their mansion which has been temporary turned into prison and are paying almost $10,000 per day for security which keeps an eye on them to ensure that they do not escape.

The couple was arrested in mid May after one of the women was found loitering near a restaurant wearing only pants and towel.