Man Convicted Of Forcing Africans To Braid Hair In New Jersey

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NEWARK, N.J. – A man from the impoverished West African nation Togo has been sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for his role in the smuggling of girls and women who were forced to work at New Jersey hair braiding salons.

At sentencing Monday in federal court in Newark, Lassissi Afolabi also was ordered to pay more than $3.9 million in restitution to the victims.

The 47-year-old pleaded guilty last year to conspiring with his ex-wife and her son to commit forced labor.

His ex-wife is due to be sentenced in September. Her son has been sentenced to 55 months in prison.

Prosecutors say between October 2002 and September 2007 fraudulent visas were used to bring at least 20 girls and women from Togo. They say the victims worked for no pay.

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