3 men charged with holding 20-year-old foreigner captive in basements, forcing him to work, attacking him

3 men charged with holding 20-year-old foreigner captive in basements, forcing him to work, attacking him

(As originally published with additional photos, Fri, December 8th 2023, 8:01 PM EST)

DEFIANCE, Mo. (TND) — Three men are being held without bond, accused of holding a 20-year-old captive and forced to work as a slave, prosecutors outside St. Louis said.

The alleged victim had to recover in the hospital from multiple fractures to his hands, fingers, feet, arms, nose, and ribs, along with open lacerations and scarring all over.

Authorities said he “came to this country on a student visa with the promise of an education only to be held captive in the basement of several homes owned by” Venkutesh Sattaru.

Downstairs in those homes, prosecutors said he was “forced to work at Satttaru’s company in addition to other menial tasks.

“When he did not complete the tasks, or not to the defendants’ satisfaction, they would beat him with their fists, kick him, stomp on him, and whip him with electrical wire, sometimes to the point he would lose consciousness.

“He was sleep-deprived and starved as well.”

Authorities said the scheme unraveled when they got a call to do a welfare check.

3 men charged with holding 20-year-old foreigner captive in basements, forcing him to work, attacking him
Nikhil Penmatsa (from left), Sravan Penumetcha, and Venkutesh Sattaru are being held without bond, Nov. 30, 2023. (St. Charles Co. Office of the Prosecuting Attorney)

“Upon arrival, they were unsuccessful in making contact with our victim,” prosecutors said, “but after a few minutes, the victim was able to run out the front door, screaming for help.”

Sattaru 35; Nikhil Penmatsa, 27; and Sravan Penumetcha, 23, are charged with trafficking for purposes of slavery, involuntary servitude, peonage, or forced labor; contributing to human trafficking-misuse of documentation; accessory domestic assault; armed criminal action; and kidnapping and abuse through forced labor.

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