Texas Couple Kept Woman As Slave For 16 Years

From CNN:
Washington (CNN)A Texas couple with deep political connections in the West African country of Guinea was charged Thursday with forced labor after a young woman they allegedly enslaved for more than 16 years managed to escape their home in Southlake with help from neighbors.

Mohamed Toure and Denise Cros-Toure, both 57, allegedly brought the victim from Guinea to Texas in 2000, when she was just 5 years old. She has not been named.

They allegedly then forced the girl to do housework and care for their children, subjecting her to emotional and physical abuse, the Department of Justice said in a press release.

“Although the victim was close in age to the children, the defendants denied her access to schooling and the other opportunities afforded to their children,” the department alleges.

The couple originally hail from Guinea, where Mohamed Toure is an influential figure and son of Guinea’s first President, Ahmed Sekou Toure.

The younger Toure was also a leader of the political opposition party in Guinea, although he has no diplomatic immunity or status, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Following his father’s death in 1984, Mohamed Toure was imprisoned along with other members of his family, according to the authors of Historical Dictionary of Guinea. He was later exiled to Morocco and Ivory Coast before settling in Texas with his wife and children.

He later returned to Guinea, where he was named secretary general of his father’s old political party.

Now, Toure and his wife face up to 20 years in prison on the forced labor charge.

“As part of their coercive scheme to compel the victim’s labor, the defendants took her documents and caused her to remain unlawfully in the United States after her visa expired,” the Justice Department alleges in its press release. “They further isolated her from her family and others and emotionally and physically abused her.”

In the criminal complaint against the Toure, the lead investigator alleges that the victim — referred to only as Female Victim 1 or FV-1 — was forced to sleep on the floor for years, and was only taken to see a medical professional once.

The complaint also alleges disturbing incidents of physical abuse by Cros-Toure, who allegedly beat the victim, sometimes with a belt or electrical cord. In one incident, the victim alleged an earring was pulled out of her ear by Cros-Toure with such force that it tore her earlobe, leaving a visible scar….

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