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'Slavery' trial begins in France

March 15, 2013 at 12:12 PM

CAVAILLON, France, March 15 (UPI) -- A man accused of buying a 14-year-old African girl and keeping her at his home in southern France to do chores was set to go to trial Friday.

The suspect, originally from the Ivory Coast, allegedly paid $5,877 for the girl who was then smuggle to Spain via Morocco, The Local.fr reported.

He then picked the girl up in Barcelona in September and drove her to his home in the French town of Cavaillon where the victim was put to work doing household chores.

The victim was not allowed to go to school and was beaten if her work was not good enough, the newspaper La Depeche reported. She managed to escape one day and went to a local police station.

Police arrested the suspect and his wife, a French national, who was later released.

The suspect is charged with human-trafficking, violence and aiding an illegal immigrant.

His trial was set to begin Friday in the criminal court in Avignon. The charity Zero Tolerance Slavery is a civil party in the case.

"This is a clear example of modern day slavery," charity director Nagham Wahabi told Europe1 radio. "She was regularly beaten, reprimanded and humiliated."

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