Three Rivers Residents Bound Over On Labor Trafficking Charges
By: Mike Stiles - Friday, May 24, 2024

(photo courtesy of Pixabay)

(CENTREVILLE) – Two individuals arrested on human trafficking charges waived their preliminary hearing.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessell says 40 year old Ikbahl Singh Machhal and his mother, 66 year old Shila Devi, both of Three Rivers waived their preliminary examination in St. Joseph County District Court on Monday. They are each charged with one count of Human Trafficking – Forced Labor and one count of Human Trafficking Enterprise.

Machhal, Devi and Devi’s husband 67 year old Kartar Chand, were all arrested in April, after allegedly trafficking the victim, who is the 33 year old wife of Machhal. It’s alleged that the suspects started trafficking the victim in 2012 when they forced her to move from Pennsylvania to Three Rivers, after Chand and Devi became the owners of The Broadway Market.

Shortly after arriving, the victim says she started working at the store, allegedly never receiving payment for her labor, and being forced to work 8 to 9 hours a day, 7 days a week against her will and under threat of severe physical, mental and emotional abuse.

It’s alleged that this continued for approximately 8 years until the victim was able to leave her home with the assistance of the YWCA Kalamazoo and local law enforcement in October 2020, following domestic violence charges against her husband.

No date has been set for Machhal and Devi’s next court appearance. Their bond remains at $1 million each. Chand has also been charged, but not arrested because he fled to India.


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