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Feds: Texas couple used African girl for forced labor for 16 Years,

April 30, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds: Texas couple used African girl for forced labor for 16 Years,

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Federal authorities charged a couple from North Texas with the forced labor of girl from West Africa, claiming they enslaved her in their residence for over 16 years.

Mohamed Toure and wife Denise Cros-Toure, both 57-years-old, appeared in federal court last week. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that Toures and others planned for the victim, who did not speak English, to travel from her village in the West African Republic of Guinea to the Torres’ residence Southlake, Texas, back in 2000, to work in the couple’s home.

Court records indicated the victim’s Guinean passport revealed that she was five-years-old when she came to the U.S. by herself. The defendants allegedly forced the victim to work in their home for long hours without compensation.

Over the following 16 years, the defendants forced the girl to “cook, clean, do laundry, perform yard work, and paint, and for their five children,” the affidavit stated. The affidavit also asserted that, even though the victim was close in age to the some of the couple’s children, the girl was “denied access to schooling and other opportunities afforded to their children.”

The DOJ charges the defendants with taking away the victim’s papers, forcing her to remain illegally in the U.S. after her visa expired. They added that the couple isolated the girl from her family, and emotionally and physically abused her. The affidavit described the abuse as “slapping led to the use of a belt, which led to the use of an electrical cord to strike her,” KDFW reported.

The victim apparently fled in 2016 with assistance from several former neighbors.

The couple’s lawyer, Scott Palmer, opposed the charges, rejecting any wrongdoing in a statement issued to KDFW. “There’s more to this story than meets the eye,” Palmer stated. “The young lady was brought to the U.S. at the request of her father, who is related to Toure because he wanted a better life for his daughter. She was not the family’s slave, and we will prove that.”

Palmer also verified to WFAA that Mohamed Toure is the son of Ahmed Sekou Toure, the first president of the Republic of Guinea. He ruled over one of the world’s most impoverished country’s for over 25 years until he died in 1984.

The New York Times referred to the former president as “a towering charismatic and radical figure” who guided his country to independence from France in 1958. The Times added that, later in his reign, Amnesty International and other human rights groups called Toure’s rule “highly oppressive.” In 2016,

Al Jazeera estimated that as many as 50,000 individuals had been killed or went missing by the time Toure died, and an estimated two million citizens left the country.

WFAA reported that the complaint alleged that the younger Toure and his wife, who came to the U.S. years ago, collect approximately $200,000 annually from “…overseas deposits.”

Currently, the couple is behind bars. The U.S. government has 30 days to present this to a grand jury for indictment. If found guilty, the maximum sentence for forced labor is 20 years in a federal lock up.

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