A Texas couple has been indicted for allegedly enslaving an African girl for more than 16 years.
Mohamed Toure, 57, and his wife Denise Cros-Toure, 57, of Fort Worth, were charged Wednesday, September on five counts, including forced labor, alien harboring for financial gain, and conspiracies to commit forced labor and alien harboring, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Mohamed Toure was also charged with making false statements to federal agents.
The girl was forced to work long hours cooking, cleaning, doing yard work, and caring for the couple’s biological children without pay from a young age, according to the indictment.
The couple was first arrested on April 26 after a criminal complaint was filed.
In 2000, the couple allegedly arranged to have the African girl travel from her village in Guinea, West Africa, to their home in Southlake to work for them.
The girl, who came to the U.S. alone, is believed to have been between 5 and 14 years old at the time, KTVT-TV reported.
Court documents showed that the girl’s family sent her to live with the Toures because they wanted her to have a better life.
The couple is originally from Guinea. Mohamed Toure’s father, a former president of the West African nation, was ousted during a coup in the 1980s, according to KTVT.
The Toures’ five children were close in age to the victim, but the girl was forced to work and denied access to schooling, medical care, and other opportunities, the DOJ said in the release.
If the girl refused to work, the couple threatened serious harm against her.
In August 2016, neighbors helped the victim escape from the Toures’ home.
The couple took the girl’s documents from her.
They also isolated her from her family and kept her in the U.S. illegally after her tourist visa expired in March 2000.
The two suspects each face a maximum of 20 years in prison, $250,000 fine, and mandatory restitution, if found guilty of forced labor.
Also, if convicted of alien harboring, they could get up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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