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US-Maryland man sentenced for holding Nigerian girl in forced labour
afrol News, 8 October - Fifty two year-old George Udeozor, formerly of Darnestown, Md. United States, was today sentenced to 97 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for holding a 14-year-old Nigerian girl in involuntary servitude for over one year, he was also ordered to pay victim US$110,249.60 in restitution.
Judge Peter J. Messitte enhanced Mr Udeozor's sentence because he (Udeozor) knew or should have known that victim was a "vulnerable victim."
Victim was held in a condition of involuntary servitude for over one year, offense of harbouring an illegal alien was committed during offense of involuntary servitude and because victim sustained serious bodily injury.
"Defendant stole part of victim's youth by sexually abusing and forcing her to serve as a domestic servant. Today's sentence can hopefully provide some measure of solace and closure to this sad chapter in the victim's life as she embarks on a brighter future," said US Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division, Grace Chung Becker.
"George Udeozor violated prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude, which is a bedrock principle of American law," said US Attorney for District of Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein.
Mr Rosenstein added, "US Attorney's Office will continue to work with Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and federal and state agencies and nonprofit organizations, in conjunction with Maryland's Human Trafficking Task Force, to locate human trafficking victims and prosecute perpetrators."
For his part, Special Agent in charge of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Baltimore, James A. Dinkins said, forcing a helpless and innocent girl into a life of servitude while inflicting physical violence was simply intolerable.
"ICE is committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves and will continue to work in partnership with federal prosecutors, non-governmental organizations and public at large to ensure that those who engage in such unconscionable crimes are brought to justice," Special Agent Dinkins said.
In his plea agreement, Mr Udeozor reportedly travelled to Nigeria in September 1996 using his oldest daughter's passport of his oldest daughter and smuggled 14-year-old Nigerian girl to his home in Maryland.
He and his then-wife, Dr. Adaobi Stella-Udeozor, used girl as an unpaid domestic servant and child care provider for their six children for approximately five years, from October 1996 to 28 October 2001.
Victim is said to have cooked, cleaned the home, did laundry and took care of the Udeozor children, during which time, victim was physically abused.
The Udeozors reportedly did not send victim to school nor paid her for forced labour. At times, victim is said to have also worked in Dr Stella-Udeozor's medical offices, for which she did not receive compensation.
The Udeozors reportedly compelled victim's labor by inflicting verbal and physical abuse on her, including when she purportedly did not do her work correctly. She was threatened with arrest and deportation if she left the home.
Additionally, from sometime after fall of 1997 when victim was just 15 years old, until time Mr Udeozor left US in late 1999 to return to Nigeria, he (defendant) is said to have had sexual relations with victim in Udeozor home. He warned victim not to tell anyone about those episodes.
On 28 October 2001, victim reportedly called police, who took her to a homeless shelter, while Mr Udeozor was extradited from Nigeria in February 2008.
Dr. Adaobi Stella Udeozor, 49, of Darnestown, Md., was convicted in November 2004 by a federal jury following a six-week trial and sentenced to 87 months in prison for conspiracy to commit involuntary servitude and harboring an alien for financial gain.
This case was investigated by the US Department of Justice, US Attorney's Office for District of Maryland and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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