Couple accused of enslaving girl for 16 years

FORT WORTH, Texas  — A suburban Fort Worth couple accused of enslaving a Guinean woman for 16 years has been indicted on federal charges that include forced labor.

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Mohamed Toure and Denise Cros-Toure, who are the son and daughter-in-law of a former president of the West African country of Guinea.

An affidavit says they brought the victim, then aged at least 5 years but perhaps as old as 13, from her rural Guinean village in 2000. They forced her to work without pay in their home for years. Authorities began investigating after the victim fled the couple’s home in 2016.

Defense attorney Scott Palmer has said the criminal complaint against his clients is “riddled with salacious allegations, fabrications and lies.”

According to the Justice Department:

“Although the victim was close in age to their five biological children, the couple denied her access to schooling, medical care, and other opportunities they afforded their own children, and on several occasions Denise Cros-Toure slapped or struck her as punishment. Until neighbors helped the victim escape in August 2016, the defendants allegedly denied her any pay, isolated her from her family and threatened serious harm if she refused to work.

As part of their scheme to compel the victim’s labor, the defendants confiscated her official documents and caused her to remain unlawfully in the United States after her tourist visa expired in March 2000 and threatened to send her back to Guinea if her work was unsatisfactory.”