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WI Restaurant Owner Faces Human Trafficking Charges

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Screengrab: Post-Crescent
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

A Kimberly, Wisconsin restaurant owner has been accused of human trafficking. Yen S. Meier, owner of Yen's Chinese Buffet, is facing charges that could bring 50 years of jail time, and potentially a federal investigation. According to local news outlet the Post-Crescent, the case began as a missing person's investigation when the alleged victim fled the area and left her young child behind. According to the complaint, Meier brought the alleged victim to Wisconsin from China when she became pregnant by Meier's brother. After leaving the Kimberly area, the alleged victim contacted the police through a lawyer, and reported that Meier took her documentation, withheld food, and forced her to work 12-14 hour shifts at the restaurant six or seven days a week, and did not pay her. In the approximate year and a half she worked at Yen's Chinese Buffet, she claims she received only $50. Below, the Post-Crescent's video footage from Meier's court appearance.

Video: Human trafficking suspect appears in court

· Kimberly restaurant owner charged with human trafficking [PC via AP]
· All Crime Coverage on Eater [-E-]

Yen's Chinese Buffet

700 E Maes Ave, Kimberly, WI 54136