A Texas-based couple has been sentenced to seven months in jail and seven months home confinement for subjecting a Nigerian woman to ill treatment.
Reuters news agency reports that the couple will go to jail after holding the woman captive as an unpaid maid and nanny for two years in a Houston, Texas suburb.
The couple, identified as Sandra and Chudy Nsobundu, restricted her movements and threatened her if she objected, according to authorities on Monday.
According to the Office of Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, the husband and wife will pay restitution of more than $121,000 to the victim, whom they lured from Lagos with promises of wages that were never paid.
Mrs. Nsobundu, 49, pleaded guilty to a forced labour documents charge and her husband, Mr. Nsobundu, 57, also pleaded guilty to visa fraud in hearings that ended late on Friday.
According to the report, the victim was rescued in October 2015 after a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and she had been living for more than two years with the Nsobundu family in Katy, Texas.
During that time, report said, the Nsobundus kept the woman’s passport from her, did not pay her and threatened to send her back to Nigeria if she objected.
Reuters reports that they restricted her movements to two short walks each day around the block with their children and frequently yelled at her and berated her.
Officials said the couple had helped falsify a U.S. visa application for the victim with lies to boost the chances that it would be approved and hide that she would be working illegally as a housemaid and nanny.
The application falsely portrayed her as married and as 20 years older than she was, officials said, adding that it also falsely claimed she was related to the Nsobundu family.
The report said both Mr. and Mrs. Nsobundu will serve sentences of seven months in jail and seven months home confinement.
Similarly, according to officials, they will pay more than $121,000 in restitution to the victim.
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