Slavery Gets Up to 20 Years

By The News May 25, 2007

Who cares about two Indonesian immigrant women being held as slaves? Many do. The courts. And the journalists and readers who’ve been following this news story since it hit this month. A millionaire couple in Long Island were arrested on federal slavery charges after one of their servants was found wondering outside a doughnut shop near their house, wearing only a towel and pants. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

Prosecutors said the women were beaten, scalded and forced to climb stairs repeatedly and take as many as 30 showers in three hours , all as punishment for perceived misdeeds. They said one was forced to eat 25 hot chili peppers at one time.

Officials say the case has all the trappings of modern-day American slavery. But a story today said that the slave-owning couple will only get up to 20 years if convicted. If these women were white or men, I think we’d be talking about death penalty or not. And Still, the larger question remains–What is the punishment for slavery in America? How do our modern courts decide this especially since no precedent was set during the emancipation of Black slaves for the punishment of their former slave owners?