NEW YORK, (Reuters) – India’s consul general in New York and his family treated a former maid like a slave, paying her $300 a month, confiscating her passport and sexually harassing her, a lawsuit against the family said. The Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed on Monday is the latest in a string of allegations of abuse by diplomats in the United States. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Santosh Bhardwaj, the former maid, by the Legal Aid Society, a group that provides legal help to the poor.
The lawsuit said she was virtually enslaved by Consul Prabhu Dayal and his wife and daughter. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. “Defendants confiscated Ms. Bhardwaj’s passport and subjected her to approximately a year of forced labor and psychological coercion in their household, culminating in an incident of sexual harassment,” the lawsuit said. In a statement, Dayal’s attorney called the maid a “fraudster.”