Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Couple Sued for Human Trafficking

"World Bank Economist Put Her to Forced Labor in U.S., African Woman Says"

"A World Bank employee and her husband lured a young Tanzanian woman to the United States, where they subjected her to "slavery-like practices, involuntary servitude, and forced labor," the woman claims in Federal Court.

Sophia Kiwanuka claims Anne Bakilana and Raymond Rwehumbiza promised her the opportunity to attend American schools while performing "reasonable" work in their home. But when she made the trip from Tanzania to the couple's Rosslyn, Va. apartment, Kiwanuka says, Bakilana seized her passport and forced her to work around the clock, cleaning and cooking separate meals for Bakilana, Rwehumbiza and their infant son.

"The defendants were very meticulous and demanding about the chores Ms. Kiwanuka was forced to perform, requiring for example that she rise at dawn to soak lentils rather than allowing them to soak overnight," Kiwanuka says in her complaint.

They repeatedly threatened her, exploiting her "fear of deportation in order to manipulate and control her," she says.

Kiwanuka says Bakilana also reneged on her promised wages, paying her just $300 a month through a bank account of which she only had partial control. She says her wages worked out to be roughly 55 cents per hour.

Kiwanuka says she was shipped back to Tanzania after a few years, but was lured back into servitude by the two defendants, who led her to believe there was a new employment opportunity with Rwehumbiza's brother.

Kiwanuka says these promises turned were bogus, and she again found herself under the control of Bakilana and Rwehumbiza.

She says a neighbor finally reported the situation to authorities, and Bakilana ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of lying to the FBI during its human trafficking investigation."
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