The top diplomat for Bangladesh’s consulate in Manhattan and his wife were socked with a lawsuit Friday for allegedly forcing their ex-servant to work for free under “slavery-like conditions” after luring him to America under the guise he’d be paid $3,000 a month.
Mashud Parves Rana, a Bangladesh native, claims in the Manhattan federal court civil-rights suit that Monirul Islam, the counsel general of Bangladesh, and his wife, Fahima Tahsina Prova, promised to pay him $3,000 per month and provide “good working conditions” if he agreed work as their servant at their swanky Manhattan home.
But Rana claims he was instead forced to steadily work 6:30 am to 11 pm — or later — daily without pay, sleep in a storage closet or on a mattress on a kitchen floor, and serve as busboy or cook at Bangladesh Consulate events at the whim of Islam. If he complained, Islam threatened to “kill” him, the suit says.
Rana — who is seeking unspecified money damages — worked for the family from September 2012 until earlier this month.
“After making such promises and bringing Mr. Rana to the United States, defendants maintained him here in forced labor in slavery-like conditions, forbidding him from leaving their residence under his own volition, threatening to beat him or kill him, threatening that the police will arrest and kill him if he left their residence, physically assaulting him on at least two occasions, maintaining possession over Mr. Rana’s passport and visa, and withholding all compensation from Mr. Rana for a period of over eighteen months,” the suit says.
The suit says Rana learned of what he thought was dream-job opportunity while in Bangladesh through his stepfather, who knew Islam growing up. He claims he was then sold a bill of goods after meeting up with the couple in June 2012.
He was required to start work at 6:30 am, cook all meals from “scratch,” iron clothes, wash clothes by hand, clean the apartment, watch the couple’s adolescent son and do other chores. He would work until at least 11 pm – and sometimes up until 3 am if the family wanted a late-night snack, the suit claims.
He was only allowed to eat “expired or leftover food” alone in the kitchen and had to keep his belongings in a plastic bag, the suit alleges.
Rana also claims he couldn’t leave the apartment because Islam said he’d be killed or arrested if he tried.
The Bangladesh consulate did not immediately return messages.
The charges against Islam and his wife make Indian “Nannygate” diplomat Devyani Khobragade — whose New York arrest and strip search last December spurred an international flap — look like a generous boss.
Khobragade was indicted by the feds after being accused of lying on official documents that claimed she was paying her female housekeeper $4,500 a month. In reality, the feds say Khobragade forced Indian national Sangeeta Richard to work 100 or more hours a week, with no day off, for just $573 a month — or as little as $1.22 an hour.
Rana is being represented by lawyer Dana Sussman, who is also representing Richard in the case against Khobragade.