Woman Sues Over Oklahoma 'Slave Marriage'

Diptiben Mistry says she was brought from India to be 'house slave'
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2012 11:59 PM CST
Updated Jan 25, 2012 12:31 AM CST
Woman Sues Over Okla. 'Slave Marriage'
Diptiben Mistry says she became a household slave whose food was rationed and activities severely restricted.   (?Ivy Dawned)

An Indian woman is suing her in-laws for an arranged "slave marriage" in their Oklahoma home. Diptiben Mistry was a 20-year-old college student in India when she married her Indian husband four years ago and moved with him to live at her in-laws' US home. There, Mistry says, her food was rationed, cell phone use supervised, activities strictly limited, and she was forced to work as a household servant. "They took all of my personal belongings once we got to the US and kept them from me," she said. "For a long time, I told myself that I had to accept the harsh treatment because I was scared." Her in-laws, who had confiscated her passport, even dictated when she could use the bathroom, monitored her every move with a webcam, and abused her physically, according to the complaint. "By engaging in modern-day slavery, the defendants committed abhorrent acts condemned in all civilized countries," states her lawsuit.

Mistry is suing for more than $75,000 to compensate her for "forced labor, intense physical and psychological pain and suffering," and for depriving her of "basic human dignity." Her in-laws refused to discuss the case with ABC News. Mistry moved out of the house last year; her husband is apparently still living with his parents in the US. A spokeswoman for Human Rights USA said the lawsuit is significant because it raises "serious allegations of forced labor and human trafficking within a family, where those claims are rarely brought forward." (Read more arranged marriage stories.)

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