FORCED LABOR

Texas Couple Enslaved, Abused West African Girl for Over 16 Years, DOJ Claims

A Fort Worth, Texas, couple has been charged with forced labor after officials say they arranged for a 5-year-old girl from West Africa to travel to the U.S. and work in their home until she escaped 16 years later. The Department of Justice has filed federal charges against Mohamed Toure, 57, and Denise Cros-Toure, 57. Court records show that the couple and others brought the girl to Texas in January 2000, where she was allegedly forced to do labor without pay for long hours. “The defendants required her to cook, clean, do the laundry, perform yard work, and paint, as well as care for their five children,” according to a Justice Department 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 couple allegedly physically and emotionally abused the girl until some of her neighbors helped her escape.

—Olivia Messer