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Two Bound Over to Stand Trial on West Michigan Labor Trafficking Charges

LANSING – Yesterday, Ikbahl Singh Machhal, 40, and Shila Devi, 66, both of Three Rivers, waived preliminary examination and were bound over to stand trial in 3B District Court in St. Joseph County on one count each of Human Trafficking – Forced Labor and one count of Human Trafficking Enterprise, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Each count is a 10-year felony. 

The defendants, who were charged in April of this year, allegedly began trafficking the victim in 2012 when they forced her to move from Pennsylvania to Michigan when her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Devi, came to own the Broadway Market in Three Rivers. Shortly after arriving in Michigan, the victim began working at the convenience store, allegedly never receiving payment for her labor. The defendants are accused of requiring the victim to work 8 to 9 hours a day, 7 days a week, against her will and under threat of severe physical, mental, and emotional abuse. The Department alleges this continued for approximately 8 years until the victim was able to leave her home with the assistance of the YWCA Kalamazoo and local law enforcement in October 2020 following domestic violence charges against her husband, Machhal.    

“For years, the victim in this case endured immense suffering while she was held in servitude,” Nessel said. “Her bravery in coming forward is truly inspiring. I am grateful for the victim's courage and the collaboration between local and federal agencies and my department that allowed the case to move forward." 

A date has not been set for their next court appearance. 

Victims of human trafficking or those who have identified someone they think may need help can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888 or text 233733. This is a national, toll-free hotline, that is available to answer calls, texts, and chats from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. All calls are confidential. 


Please note: For all criminal proceedings, a criminal charge is merely an allegation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.

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