US

Texas couple charged with enslaving African girl for years without pay

Mohamed Toure and Denise Cros-Toure of Southlake, Texas, are accused of forcing a family member to serve as their domestic servant. The couple was released on bond and placed under house arrest until their next hearing. (Image source: Video screenshot)

Police arrested a Texas couple for allegedly forcing a girl to work as their domestic slave for more than 15 years.

Federal officials charged Mohamed Toure and his wife, Denise Cros-Toure, of Southlake, an affluent suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth, with forced labor April 26.

Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton released the couple on bond and placed them under house arrest until their next hearing.

What's the story?

The couple arranged for their niece to leave her rural Guinea village and travel to the U.S. where she lived with them from January 2000 until August 2016, according to officials.

The girl accused the couple of forcing her to work from sunrise to bedtime, seven days a week. She told authorities she had to cook, clean, do laundry, paint, and do yard work, as well as care for the Toures' five children, without pay.

According to court documents, the girl was also emotionally and physically abused and often slept on the floor. She had scars that appeared consistent to those from an electrical cord.

The girl was close to the same age as the couple's children, but she wasn't allowed to attend school or other opportunities given to the other kids.

How old was the girl when she came to the U.S.?

Court documents showed that the girl was 5 years old when she moved in with the couple, but their lawyer told WFAA-TV he believes she was closer to 13.

What did the couple say?

The Southlake couple has denied any wrongdoing.

Denise Cros-Toure told WFAA she was surprised by the charges and believes the truth will come out.

The news outlet asked the woman if they abused the girl.

"Of course not," Denise answered. "We would not do that to anybody."

What happened to the girl?

The victim told authorities she escaped with the help of neighbors in 2016 and moved to Houston where she lives with family members.

What else?

Mohamed Toure, an immigrant from West Africa, is the son of Ahmed Sékou Touré, Guinea's first president who served from 1958 until his death in 1984.

The judge ordered the couple to surrender their passports. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison.

One last thing…
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