Georgia woman guilty of keeping slaves

June 12, 2011 at 2:15 PM
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ATLANTA, June 12 (UPI) -- A Nigerian immigrant in Georgia has been convicted of bringing two young women from her homeland to work as house slaves.

Bidemi Bello was found guilty Friday of forced labor, trafficking, harboring aliens, false statements on a citizenship application and "document servitude" for taking her victims' passports to keep them helpless, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Federal prosecutors said Bello lured the women from Nigeria to work as nannies, promising to educate them and treat them like family. In fact, she did not send her victims to school or pay them, did not let them sleep in beds or use the shower, and sometimes made them eat rotten food, the government said.

Bello found her first victim in 2001. After she escaped in 2004, Bello went back to Nigeria to find another, who fled in 2006 by taking a cab to a church.

"Both women were brave enough to testify in court," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Coppedge. "This is shocking behavior going on in a normal-looking subdivision in Suwanee, Ga."

Bello left the country but was caught when she returned and was indicted last September.

She could get decades in prison when sentenced Aug. 24 by U.S. District Judge Bill Duffey.

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