Home USA News In Texas, the owner of a restaurant is accused of human trafficking

In Texas, the owner of a restaurant is accused of human trafficking

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The owner of a restaurant in the city of Abilene, Texas, is accused of human trafficking.

The owner of a restaurant in the city of Abilene, Texas, is accused of human trafficking.

Screenshot from Google.

The owner of a Texas restaurant is accused of human trafficking, forcing a person to work and live as a slave, according to news publications.

Hai Zhuangwho operated the Fun Noodle Bar in Abilene, was arrested Wednesday, Nov. 2, police told KTAB.

Nov. 3 in McClatchy News Bar Fun Noodle Bar had no comment.

Javier Rodriguez-Castro, an immigrant smuggled into the U.S. from Honduras in January 2021, told investigators he was taken to Fun Noodle after a brief stint at the shelter, according to a court document obtained by the station.

In a restaurant, Zhuang handed the cash to a man who brought Rodriguez-Castro several $50 and $100 bills, the documents said, according to KTXS. Whether he knew it at the time or not, Rodriguez-Castro had just been bought.

He will work for Zhuang for six months, he was told, earning $2,000 each month, according to the station. Shelter will be given, food will be given.

After the deal was made, Rodriguez-Castro was moved to the home. His passport was taken away, the station reported.

His life consisted mainly of two places: home and a restaurant, where he worked 10-12 hour shifts, KTAB reports.

He was not allowed to leave the house alone, even to go to a restaurant – a white van picked him up and dropped him back and forth, according to the Abilene Reporter News.

Often he was not fed, so he ate leftovers and scraps from customers’ plates, the newspaper reports.

There were no bathroom breaks for any reason, he told investigators. At times, Zhuang beat him, according to the Abilene Reporter News.

The salary never arrived, as did other promises. Nevertheless, he continued to work.

At the end of the six months, he asked Zhuang for money. Zhuang refused and told Castro that “he belongs to them now,” the documents said, according to the newspaper.

Castro escaped with the help of another man and fled to Dallas in July or August 2021, according to the Abilene Reporter News.

He spoke about his experience with the Texas Attorney General’s Office of Human Trafficking, KTAB reported. Investigators were able to corroborate his statement and found the stash and the white van he drove day after day.

Zhuang was arrested on charges of human trafficking and booked into the Taylor County Jail, records show. He was granted bail in the amount of 200,000 dollars. Zhuang’s attorney was not listed in online records.

Mitchell Willetts is a real-time news reporter covering the central US for McClatchy. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and an outdoor enthusiast who lives in Texas.

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