Lawsuit Alleging Hindu Group Used Human Trafficking to Build NJ Temple Spreads to 5 States – NBC New York

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A lawsuit through which staff accuse a Hindu group of human trafficking by luring them from India to construct a temple in New Jersey for as little as $1.20 a day has widened to 4 different states.

Within the preliminary lawsuit filed in Could, staff at a Hindu temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey, claimed leaders of the Hindu group often known as Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, or BAPS, coerced them into signing employment agreements and compelled them to work greater than 12 hours per day with few days off, below the watch of safety guards. They traveled to New Jersey below R-1 visas, that are meant for “those who minister, or work in religious vocations or occupations,” in accordance to the lawsuit.

The amended lawsuit filed final month added a number of extra staff to the lawsuit. The employees, who the lawsuit says have been from marginalized communities in India, declare they have been exploited at temples in Chino Hills, California, exterior Los Angeles; Bartlett, Illinois, exterior Chicago; Stafford, Texas, exterior Houston; and Lilburn, Georgia, exterior Atlanta.

“U.S. Authorities officers have approved the usage of R-1 visas for stone artisans for 20 years, and federal, state, and native authorities businesses have recurrently visited and inspected the entire building tasks on which these artisans volunteered,” Paul Fishman, an legal professional representing BAPS, stated in an e mail Wednesday.

The employees in different states allege that, whereas they weren’t compelled to work as many hours as their counterparts in New Jersey, they have been paid properly under requirements set by federal and state minimal wage legal guidelines. A number of staff named as plaintiffs labored at greater than one of many temples, the lawsuit alleges, some for so long as eight or 9 years in whole.

Comparable to the allegations within the preliminary go well with in opposition to the Hindu temple in Robbinsville, exterior the New Jersey capital of Trenton, staff on the temples within the different 4 states declare they weren’t allowed to have their passports and slept in giant halls on the temple grounds that have been monitored by safety guards.

“On the Robbinsville temple and elsewhere, the defendants deliberately induced the employees to moderately consider that in the event that they tried to go away their work and the temple compounds, they might undergo bodily restraint and severe hurt,” the lawsuit claims.

The temples named within the lawsuit are all affiliated with BAPS, a company registered in Delaware and with places of work in Piscataway, New Jersey.

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