Restaurant Owner Who Enslaved An Intellectually Disabled Black Man For 23 Years Imprisoned for 10 Years

Restaurant Owner Who Enslaved An Intellectually Disabled Black Man For 23 Years Imprisoned for 10 Years

The victim was forced to work for over 100 hours a week without pay.

In a shocking case of modern-day enslavement, a South Carolina restauranteur, Bobby Paul Edwards was sentenced to ten years in prison after he pleaded guilty to " 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."

The victim, Chris Smith, is an intellectually disabled man who was forced to stay in a room behind the restaurant and had physical signs of abuse over the years of enslavement. FBI Special Agent in Charge Jody Norris said: "This abusive enslavement of a vulnerable person is shocking. The FBI is always vigilantly searching for these offenses and stands ready to bring perpetrators to justice and help victims reclaim their lives. We understand human trafficking takes many forms and we encourage anyone with information related to these crimes to contact the FBI."

The official press release by The Department of Justice mentions the U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon for the District of South Carolina who said: "For stealing his victim’s freedom and wages, Mr. Edwards has earned every day of his sentence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will not tolerate forced or exploitative labor in South Carolina, and we are grateful to the watchful citizen and our partners in law enforcement who put a stop to this particularly cruel violence."

The press release said: "The defendant subjected the victim to physical and emotional abuse whenever the victim made a mistake or failed to work fast enough. The defendant beat the victim with a belt, fists, and pots and pans. On one occasion, he dipped metal tongs into hot grease and burned the victim’s neck. The defendant further yelled at the victim and used racial slurs to belittle and demean him. After a concerned resident notified state authorities of the defendant’s abuse, the victim was removed from the situation in October 2014."

Bobby Paul Edwards would also have to pay $272,952.96 in restitution to the victim along with serving the prison sentence of ten years.

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