FORT WORTH, TX – A Guinean couple, Mohamed Toure, 57, and Denise Cros-Toure, 57, of Ft. Worth, Texas, appeared in federal court in the Northern District of Texas on a criminal complaint charging them with arranging for a 5-year old West African girl to work in their home for over 16 years without pay and without any education.
While these types of indentured servant arrangements are prevalent in Africa, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution specifically prohibits both slavery and involuntary servitude. It is, perhaps, the only Constitutional amendment that dictates the behavior of private citizens as well as individuals involved with federal and state governments.
According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, the defendants and others arranged for the victim, who did not speak English, to travel alone from her village in the Republic of Guinea, in West Africa, to Southlake, Texas, in January 2000 to work for the defendants in their home.
On the other hand, family members and friends of the Toure stated, they believe the Toure did nothing wrong. They suspect, in light of recent immigration crackdown, the girl’s family may be using this case as a means to get her legal documents and guarantee that she will remain in the United States.
However, according to the complaint, the victim’s Guinean passport indicated that she was five years old at the time when she was brought to the United States. Throughout the years, until the victim escaped in August 2016, the defendants forced the victim to labor in their home for long hours without pay.
If convicted, the couple faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.
According to federal agents, the defendants required the young Guinean girl 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.
According to the complaint, 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.
Agents stated, they further isolated her from her family and others and emotionally and physically abused her. Eventually, in August 2016, the victim escaped the defendants with the help of several former neighbors.
According to U.S. Laws, it does not matter how the servant entered into the agreement – whether it was voluntarily or not. It is illegal to every bit illegal to have someone working as an indentured servant.