Yasmin Christopher remembers being crammed into a tiny apartment in Aberdeen with nine of her relatives when she was about 4 years old. They shared one bedroom, a single bathroom, had no furniture and no money. Her dad was in jail and her mom, a foreign-born teenage mother of two, was terrified.
For Yasmin, it was one of the happiest times of her life.
“We were all free and we were all together,” recalls the Seattle University law student, now 28. “The bad thing that happened to us when we moved here was over.”
Yasmin, her younger sister, mother and a half-dozen other relatives had been brought to the U.S. from their native Bangladesh by her father, Stefan Christopher, to toil on his 65-acre farm near the tiny Grays Harbor County town of Oakville. There, he fed them little, paid them nothing, sexually abused some of the children and beat the adults. Police would later learn he forced one of Yasmin’s uncles to dig his own grave before nearly beating him to death.