The man behind one of the most unconscionable treatments of a worker is behind bars.
“A South Carolina restaurant owner was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday for abusing a mentally disabled employee and forcing him to work with no pay for years.
Bobby Paul Edwards, who owned J&J Cafeteria in Conway, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to one count of forced labor for ‘coercing an African-American man with an intellectual disability to work extensive hours at a restaurant for no pay,’ according to a press release from the Justice Department.
“It is almost inconceivable that instances of forced labor endure in this country to this day – a century and a half after the Emancipation Proclamation,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in a statement. ‘The Department of Justice will continue to investigate, prosecute, and convict human traffickers involved in forced labor, seeking justice on behalf of their victims.’
Chris Smith, who has a mild cognitive disability, said Edwards would coerce him into doing over 100 hours of labor per week without pay. The abuse included Edwards beating him with a belt, fists, and pots and pans, according to the Justice Department press release.
In one incident, Smith said Edwards dipped metal tongs into hot grease and burned his neck.”
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