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In January of 2000, a Texas couple enslaved a West African child and kept her in slavery for 16 years. According to a DOJ press release, Mohamed Toure, 57, and Denise Cros-Toure, 57,  arranged for the child who did not speak English, to travel from Guinea, West Africa, to Southlake, Texas, so that she could work in their home. She was only five years old.

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The press release reports, “The defendants required her to cook, clean, do the laundry, perform yard work, and paint, as well as care for their five children.  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.” She also wasn’t able to attend school and “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. They further isolated her from her family and others and emotionally and physically abused her.”

In August of 2016, she escaped the couple with the help of neighbors and the couple never reported her missing. Thankfully, the couple was finally arrested on April 26. However,  according to their attorney Scott H. Palmer, the couple is denying allegations saying the criminal complaint  “is riddled with salacious allegations, fabrications and lies.” They are both facing 20 years in federal prison.

Toure and Cros-Toure are both natives of Guinea and were granted asylum in the U.S. in 2000.

We hope justice is served for this child. Sadly, this is not rare. According to the International Labor Organization, “24.9 million in forced labor; the number is further broken down into 16 million people exploited in private sectors, such as domestic work.”

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