Trafficking in persons

United States v. Calimlim

UNODC No.:
USA004

Fact Summary

In 1985, wealthy Filipino doctors, Jefferson and Elnora Calimlim, brought I.M. from the Philippines to their home to work as their housekeeper. Upon arrival, the Calimlims confiscated I.M’s passport and other documents. I.M. was 19-years old at the time. During her 19-years of service, the Calimlims forbade I.M. to leave the house unescorted; required her to lock herself in her bedroom when guests were in the house; refused to allow her to have friends; refused to allow her to attend a church of her choice or engage in church social activities; denied her necessary medical and dental care; failed to pay her a salary, and paid her parents a total of about $20,000; and restricted I.M. 's contact and communications with her family in the Philippines. I.M. worked for the Calimlims seven days a week, on average 17 hours a day. The Calimlims coerced I.M. to work through an elaborate scheme which included her total isolation from society and her family; repeated lies about her immigration status; and continuous threats that I.M. would be arrested, jailed, and deported if anyone discovered her.

After receiving an anonymous tip concerning the Calimlims, federal agents raided their home on 29 September 2004.  I.M. was found in the basement shaking.

Commentary and Significant Features

The defendants actually had more time added to their sentences by appealing their conviction.  The appellate court recognized that their sentences did not meet the sentencing guidelines.

The defendants were wealthy physicians, not career criminals.

In a companion case, Martinez v. Calimlim, 2010 WL 3610138 (E.D.Wis.), the victim in this case filed a civil lawsuit under the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations).  The Calimlim’s insurers intervened in the lawsuit and argued that they have no duty to defend the defendants against Martinez’s claims. On 13 September 2010, the federal district court granted the insurance companies’ motion for summary judgment, which meant that the insurance agencies had no liability for the defendants’ actions claimed in the lawsuit.  This meant that the insurance agencies did not have to defend or pay damages from the civil claims of Ms. Martinez.

(This is ongoing litigation)

Sentence Date:
2009-06-09
Author:
UNODC

Keywords

Trafficking in Persons Protocol:
Article 5, Trafficking in Persons Protocol
Article 6, Trafficking in Persons Protocol
Form of Trafficking:
Transnational
Means:
Threat or use of force or other forms of coercion
Deception
Abuse of power or a position of vulnerability
Acts:
Recruitment
Harbouring
Sector in which exploitation takes place:
Domestic servitude
Purpose of Exploitation:
Forced labour or services
Slavery or practices similar to slavery
Servitude

Procedural Information

Legal System:
Common Law
Latest Court Ruling:
Appellate Court
Type of Proceeding:
Criminal
 

On 15 March 2005, a federal grand jury indicted Jefferson and Elnora Calimlim on charges of conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, and attempted forced labor.  On 26 May 2006, the Calimlims were convicted on all counts, and sentenced on 16 November 2006.

The defendants appealed the judgment of the District Court and the government cross-appealed the defendants' sentences.

On 15 August 2008, the appellate court affirmed their convictions, but remanded their case for resentencing to fit sentencing guidelines.  Subsequently, the lower court reviewed the case, and added two additional years to the Calimlim’s sentences, in accordance with the sentencing guidelines.

 
 

Victims / Plaintiffs in the first instance

Victim:
I.M.
Gender:
Female
Nationality:
Filipino

Defendants / Respondents in the first instance

Defendant:
Jefferson Calimlim
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
American / Filipino
Legal Reasoning:

Calimlims were found guilty of conspiracy to commit forced labor and attempted forced labor.

Defendant:
Elnora Calimlim
Gender:
Female
Nationality:
American / Filipino
Legal Reasoning:

Calimlims were found guilty of conspiracy to commit forced labor and attempted forced labor.

Charges / Claims / Decisions

Defendant:
Jefferson Calimlim
Verdict:
Guilty
Charge / Claim:
Obtaining and conspiring to obtain forced labor
Legislation / Statute / Code:
18 USCS §§ 371, 1589, and 1594
Verdict:
Guilty
Charge / Claim:
Harboring and conspiring to harbor an alien for private financial gain
Term of Imprisonment:
6 years
Compensation / Payment to Victim:
Yes  916000  USD  (More than 500,000 USD)
Appellate Decision:
Remanded

The defendants appealed under a number of constitutional rights claims, and the government cross-appealed that their sentences were too lenient according to sentencing guidelines.

The appellate court held that the forced labor statute (18 USCS 1589) provided sufficient notice of what it criminalized. The forced labor statute was not vague under the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause. The defendants had knowledge that what they were doing was wrong, and their actions constituted “serious harm” to the housekeeper.The jury was instructed on intent and the defendants’ actions fit the definition. The statute allows for implicit threats and the language of the forced labor statute covered nonviolent coercion – which they were indicted on and it was not arbitrarily applied.  Finally, the statute is not overly broad under the First Amendment.

On remand, the lower court added 2 years to both defendants sentences and affirmed the restitution amount in accordance with the appellate instructions and sentencing guidelines.

Defendant:
Elnora Calimlim
Verdict:
Guilty
Charge / Claim:
Obtaining and conspiring to obtain forced labor
Verdict:
Guilty
Charge / Claim:
Harboring and conspiring to harbor an alien for private financial gain
Term of Imprisonment:
6 years
Appellate Decision:
Remanded

The defendants appealed under a number of constitutional rights claims and the government cross-appealed that their sentences were too lenient according to sentencing guidelines.

The appellate court held that the forced labor statute (18 USCS 1589) provided sufficient notice of what it criminalized. The forced labor statute was not vague under the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause. The defendants had knowledge that what they were doing was wrong and their actions were a “serious harm” to the housekeeper.The jury was instructed on intent and the defendants’ actions fit the definition. The statute allows for implicit threats and the language of the forced labor statute covered nonviolent coercion – which they were indicted on and it was not arbitrarily applied.  Finally, the statute is not overly broad under the First Amendment.

On remand, the lower court added 2 years to both defendants sentences and affirmed the restitution amount in accordance with the appellate instructions and sentencing guidelines.

Court

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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