article by : DEBAYANI KAR
Violence against women of color is often reported out of context. The deeper social and economic injustices at work are overlooked.
Today, a coalition including (partial list) Narika, ASATA (Alliance of South Asians Taking Action), South Asian Sisters, Asian Women’s Shelter, Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, Maitri, and California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, will mark the 10th anniversary of the Lakireddy Bali Reddy sex and labor exploitation case with a vigil and press conference in Berkeley.
Lakireddy Bali Reddy is a wealthy South Asian businessman who owned more than fifty percent of the rental housing in Berkeley and the popular Pasand restaurant chain, second only to the University of California in Berkeley property holdings; he is still the largest owner of rental properties in Berkeley.
After one of the victims of his sex and labor exploitation activity turned up dead in late November 1999, his criminal endeavors were brought to light.
Today’s vigil will honor victim Seetha Vemireddy who was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning on November 24, 1999. She was one of nine young women found to be victims of Reddy’s labor and sexual exploitation, in addition to dozens more workers who faced labor exploitation at Pasand restaurant and Reddy Realty.
From the beginning the Reddy case was told by the media in sordid detail. It was easy to tell a story of man bites dog: a wealthy and respected real estate mogul from the model minority South Asian community engages in sexual slavery.
In 2001, Reddy and five of his relatives pled guilty to various counts of conspiring to commit immigration fraud, transportation of minors for illegal sexual activity, and submitting a false tax return. Reddy paid $11 million in restitution to the victims and their families, with an additional undisclosed amount for a workers’ class action lawsuit. Upon serving just under seven years in prison, Reddy was released in April 2008...continue reading on racewire.org