Two husband-and-wife doctors from the Milwaukee-area, who kept a Filipina domestic servant in their home as a virtual slave for nearly 20 years, were deported the week of June 15, 2012 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). The investigation leading to their arrest and conviction was conducted by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and partner law enforcement agencies.
Jefferson Calimlim Sr., 67, and his wife Elnora, 66, both former medical doctors in Milwaukee, were deported June 12 from the United States under ICE escort, arriving in Manila June 14.
The Calimlims were convicted May 26, 2006 in the Eastern District of Wisconsin for forcing a woman to work under conditions of servitude for nearly two decades in their Brookfield home. They were sentenced to six years in federal prison on human trafficking charges, and ordered to pay more than $900,000 in restitution to the victim.
On Dec. 7, 2010, a federal immigration judge in Chicago ordered the Calimlims removed to the Philippines after they complete their prison sentences. On June 1, 2012, the Calimlims were released from the Bureau of Prisons and turned over to ICE to be deported.
During a federal jury trial in Milwaukee, it was determined that the Calimlims recruited and brought the victim from the Philippines to work for them in 1985 when she was 19 years old. In September 2004, HSI special agents, with assistance from the FBI and the Brookfield police, rescued the then 38-year-old victim from the Calimlim’s residence after receiving a tip that the doctors were keeping a maid in their basement as an indentured servant. The victim was found hiding behind the door in a basement closet.
During the criminal trial, the victim testified that for 19 years she was hidden in the Calimlim’s home in an affluent Milwaukee suburb, forbidden from going outside, and told that she would be arrested, imprisoned, and deported if she were discovered. She was not allowed to socialize, communicate freely with the outside world, or leave the house unsupervised. She was also required to lock herself in her basement bedroom whenever the Calimlins had visitors. In addition, she was required to work seven days a week every day of the year from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
This is the second-longest indentured-servitude case investigated by HSI. This was one of the first federal cases to be prosecuted under the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), and the first human trafficking conviction whose elements did not stem upon physical abuse, but rather through fraud and threatened deportation.
“The removal of the Calimlims concludes one of our most significant human trafficking investigations,” said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of HSI Chicago. “Most people don’t believe that this form of modern-day slavery occurs in the United States. Our HSI agents vigorously target human traffickers, but we also provide support and assistance to the traumatized victims of this heinous crime.”
The case against the Calimlims was initiated by an anonymous call to HSI’s national hotline: 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Law enforcement personnel staff the hotline around-the-clock to take leads from the public about suspicious activity or reports of crimes. Leads generated from hotline calls have resulted in the arrests of a wide range of criminals, including aggravated felons, smugglers, fugitives, sexual predators, and aliens who have re-entered the country after being deported.
Some human trafficking indicators include:
- Does the victim possess identification and travel documents? If not, who has control of these documents?
- Did the victim travel to a destination country for a specific job or purpose and is the victim engaged in different employment than expected?
- Is the victim forced to perform sexual acts as part of employment?
- Is the victim a juvenile engaged in commercial sex?
- Does the victim owe money to an employer or does the employer hold wages?
- Did the employer instruct the victim on what to say to law enforcement or immigration officials?
- Can the victim freely leave employment or the situation?
- Are there guards at the work/harboring site or video cameras to monitor and ensure no one escapes?
- Does the victim have freedom of movement? Can they freely contact family and friends? Can they socialize or attend religious services?