A Texas couple brought a West African girl into their home and for the next 16 years forced her to cook, clean, and tend to their five children without pay, federal prosecutors say. According to an NBC5 report, the girl, whose name has not been released, did not attend school and was beaten with a belt or electrical cord if she did not perform her duties. Authorities believe that the couple, Mohamed Toure and Denise Florence Cros-Toure, both 57, arranged for the girl to come to the US from her home in Guinea when she was roughly 5 years old. They have been charged with forced labor, per the Dallas News, and face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
The girl escaped from the home two years ago with the help of neighbors, including one she baby-sat for, reports the Washington Post. According to court papers, the neighbors encouraged the girl to document her situation by gathering evidence. Two months later the neighbors helped her escape while the family was out of the house. In an odd twist, the Post reports that Mohamed Toure is the son of Ahmed Sekou Toure, Guinea’s first president, who held office from 1958 until his death in 1984. Cros-Toure's attorney, who denied most of the allegations, confirmed that the girl did not attend school but said she was kept out of school because she had overstayed her visa and the couple feared that she would be deported.