It has been reported by the New York Times that an immigrant Muslim couple who “enslaved a Guinean girl for 16 years at their Dallas-area home, forcing her to cook and clean while calling her a ‘dog,’ were each sentenced Monday to seven years in federal prison, the authorities said.”
The Post reports: The couple, Mohamed Toure, 58, and Denise Cros-Toure, 58, of Southlake, Tex., who are citizens of Guinea, may be deported after their prison sentence, prosecutors said. They were also ordered to pay almost $290,000 in restitution.
They were found guilty by a federal jury in January of several crimes, including one count each of forced labor.
Mr. Toure is the son of Guinea’s first president, Ahmed Sékou Touré, who led the West African country for 26 years until his death in 1984.
Erin Nealy Cox, the US attorney for the Northern District of Texas, released a statement on Monday in which she said, “It took tremendous courage for this young woman to share her story at trial. She was brought to this country at a young age, pressured to stay quiet, and forced to work for this family without pay for 16 years. I want to commend her, as well as the witnesses who helped shine a light on her circumstances.”
According to authorities, Mr. Toure and Ms. Cros-Toure had made arrangements in 2000, when the girl was just five-years-old, for her to make the trip from West Africa all the way to their home in Southlake on a tourist visa.
After the girl made it to their home, she was forced to work at 7 a.m. every morning, reportedly “cleaning, making beds, vacuuming, cooking and gardening, among other chores, she told the authorities. They said she was forced to take care of the couple’s children.”
According to authorities, the girl had been abused by the couple, being “struck at least once with an electrical cord. She told investigators that she had visited a doctor only once and had slept on a floor for years, upgrading to a twin bed only when one of the couple’s children left for college,” according to the Post.
The Post reports: The young woman was isolated from her family and prevented from receiving any education while the couple’s children went to school and college, the authorities said.
In August 2016, a former neighbor encouraged the young woman to collect evidence, including photos, to prove that she had lived in the Toure household for years. She then escaped from the house with a duffel bag and a backpack and was taken to a local Y.M.C.A., according to court filings.
During the trial, the young woman, identified in news reports as Djena Diallo, said she could occasionally walk in and out of the Southlake home, and attend the couple’s family outings, The Dallas Morning News reported in January. She said she did not leave for good because she did not know anyone in the area, The News reported.
In September of 2018, the couple were indicted on the charges against them. Then, in January of this year, they were both convicted of “conspiracy to commit alien harboring and alien harboring, in addition to the forced labor charges,” according to the Post.
“Our clients are paying a tremendous price for what we believe is a wildly exaggerated story by a woman desperate to remain in this country and to find a path to citizenship, rather than return to Guinea,” explained an attorney for Cros-Toure, Scott Palmer.
Palmer explained that they are planning on appealing his client’s case.