Black South Carolina man enslaved by restaurant entitled to $500K for years of wage theft, abuse

Conway, South Carolina restaurant manager Bobby Paul Edwards clearly misunderstood the difference. While overseeing work at the town’s J&J Cafeteria, Edwards horrifically exploited John Christopher Smith, a Black man with an intellectual disability. There was egregious abuse—17-hour workdays, no days off, whippings, burning with hot metal tongs, racial epithets, and wage theft that lasted for years. Not to mention the fact that Edwards started working as a dishwasher at age 12 and was moved into a pest-infested apartment that Edwards owned, so he literally had no place to turn. After Smith endured and escaped this modern-day bondage (co-workers said they were too afraid to report it), a court has ruled he’s owed more than $500,000 for his near-captivity, reports The Washington Post. Doesn’t seem like nearly enough for his lost wages, freedom, and suffering. Edwards got 10 years in prison.

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