October 7, 2022

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Illinois Family Charged with Kidnapping, Forced Labor, and Conspiracy for Coercing Two Minors and a Third Victim in Years-Long Forced Labor Scheme

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<div>A federal grand jury in the Central District of Illinois returned a nine-count indictment charging Domingo Francisco-Juan, Lorenza Domingo-Castaneda, and Catarina Domingo-Juan, siblings and Guatemalan nationals, with conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and kidnapping.</div>

A federal grand jury in the Central District of Illinois returned a nine-count indictment charging Domingo Francisco-Juan, Lorenza Domingo-Castaneda, and Catarina Domingo-Juan, siblings and Guatemalan nationals, with conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and kidnapping. 

According to the allegations set forth in the indictment, between December 2015 and March 2021 the defendants conspired to bring two minor victims from Guatemala to the United States to work in Domingo-Castaneda’s and Domingo-Juan’s homes. The defendants compelled the victims to provide childcare, cooking, and cleaning within the homes and to work outside the homes in local hotels, factories, and a restaurant. As alleged, the defendants used false promises of a better life and an education to gain the permission of the victims’ mothers for their minor daughters to be brought to the United States to live with the defendants. Defendants Domingo-Castaneda and Domingo-Juan also allegedly forced a third victim to work in their homes and outside their homes at local businesses. The indictment further alleges that the defendants isolated the victims in their homes, restricted their communications with their family in Guatemala, and subjected them to physical, verbal and psychological abuse, among other coercive means.

If convicted on all charges, the defendants face sentences of up to life in prison as well as mandatory restitution. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris of the Central District of Illinois and Acting Special Agent in Charge R. Sean Fitzgerald of Homeland Security Investigations made the announcement. 

Homeland Security Investigations is investigating the case with the assistance of the Champaign Police Department, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Freres for the Central District of Illinois and Trial Attorney Kate Alexander for the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit are prosecuting the case.

Anyone who has information about human trafficking should report that information to the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about human trafficking, please visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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