02/23/2012 02:49 pm ET Updated Feb 23, 2012

Shanti Gurung, Indian Maid Abused In New York, Deserves $1.5 Million, Says Judge

NEW YORK -- A magistrate judge in New York City has recommended that a young Indian woman be awarded nearly $1.5 million for being forced to work without pay for a diplomat from her country.

The judge said Wednesday that Neena Malhotra (MAHL-hot-rah), and her husband, Jogesh Malhotra induced Shanti Gurung (SHAHN-tee GEHR-ung) to work without pay by preventing her from leaving the apartment.

US Magistrate Judge Frank Maas said the couple also threatened to beat and rape her if she tried to flee. Maas also said, according to FirstPost, that Gurung's "documents were seized, her travel was restricted, and she was not permitted to telephone her family" adding, "Significantly, Gurung also was deprived of food, which caused her to lose more than sixty pounds in just over three years and was subjected to physical and mental abuse."

Gurung says she was "essentially kidnapped" from India in 2006 at age 17 and was ordered to give daily massages and perform other chores.

The New York Post reports the recommendation is subject to approval by the judge overseeing the case.

The Malhotras returned to India before the lawsuit was filed.