A Bangladesh deputy consul general was arrested in New York for allegedly forcing the household help to work 18 hours a day without pay for four years. Dhaka has raised questions about the timing of the allegations.

The envoy is accused of confiscating the victim's passport.
The envoy is accused of confiscating the victim's passport.

Bangladesh's foreign ministry summoned a United States diplomat on Tuesday to express dismay over the arrest of the country's deputy consul general in New York on charges of labour trafficking and assault.

Deputy Consul General Mohammed Shaheldul Islam was indicted on Monday on charges of using threats and intimidation to force his servant to work without pay, a New York City prosecutor said.

Islam has limited diplomatic immunity and was ordered to surrender his passport when he appeared in court, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in a statement.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Bail was set at $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash and was due to be posted on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, Islam brought another Bangladeshi, Ruhul Amin, to New York between 2012 and 2013 to work as household help.

Mahbub Uz Zaman, Dhaka's acting foreign secretary, summoned the US diplomat to the foreign ministry to ask for an explanation. "We have urged the US to release Bangladesh's deputy consul general," he said without elaborating.

Shameem Ahsan, the Bangladeshi consul general in New York, said Amin disappeared over a year ago, but only recently made the allegations leading to Islam's arrest.

"It is surprising for us that after 13 months he has appeared with these allegations. Why did he not raise this issue earlier?" he said.

Source: Reuters