San Francisco couple charged with trafficking nanny from Philippines

A married couple from San Francisco is accused of trafficking a nanny they brought to the U.S. from the Philippines two years ago, according to the district attorney's office.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins filed several felony and misdemeanor charges against Jose Aguila and his wife Lorraine Lim that stem from an investigation into the working conditions of their nanny Nicel R.

Prosecutors said the defendants brought Nicel R. to the U.S. in June of 2019 where she was forced to work seven days a week caring for the suspects’ disabled child in addition to other forced labor in and outside of the home.

The victim told investigators that the suspects promised her she would only have to be in the U.S. for three months, but that turned into over two years. Prosecutors said the suspects allegedly isolated Nicel R., who does not speak English through various means. They held her passport, prevented her from having a cellphone, restricted her from making friends and controlling where she was able to go, prosecutors said.

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Authorities said the victim was dependent on the suspects for her necessities, including food and shelter, so she lacked the resources to leave her employers.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Aguila and Lim only paid their nanny $240 per month for the first several months and then cut her wages down to $40 per month. The suspects also required her to be available at all times, even in the middle of the night, to care for their child. She was forced to sleep in a storage room, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Nicel R. was saved in large part because of a neighbor. Once the neighbor realized what was happening, she alerted the San Francisco Police.

Aguila and Lim turned themselves into authorities. Bail was set at $100,000 for each suspect that they posted.