Woman Says She Was Forced Into Servitude in US
Two Italian government workers deny charges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 30, 2011 1:32 PM CDT
The Penzatos say their Brazilian immigrant friend attended community college classes four days a week, and brought man friends home for 'sleepovers.'   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – An Italian government employee working at the San Francisco consulate and his wife were arrested and charged with turning a Brazilian woman into an indentured servant after luring the woman to the United States with promises of a better life. Guiseppe and Kesia Penzato, who spent the weekend in jail and had their young children placed in the custody of Protective Services, allege they are the victims of a "scheming young woman" bent on gaining US citizenship by any means. They "vehemently" deny the allegations and continue to have the support of the Italian government, which posted their bail.

The unnamed Brazilian worker is actually a childhood friend of Kesia—the two reconnected through social media, with Giuseppe eventually “pulling strings” for the worker to come live with them in the US, she alleges. Three months later, the worker apparently fled the home with her clothes in a garbage bag and tales of indentured servitude, complete with physical and sexual abuse from both Penzatos. But the Penzatos' lawyer says this is all a farce from the worker to gain “continued presence” benefits granted to victims of human trafficking.