Arab Slavery in Southern California
Ain’t multiculturalism grand? Egyptian couple in California plead guilty to slavery charges. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - An Egyptian couple living in southern California have pleaded guilty to slavery charges involving a now-16 year old girl they forcibly kept working in their home for two years, according to US attorneys Friday.
Abdelnasser Eid Youssef Ibrahim, 45 and his ex-wife, Amal Ahmed Ewis-abd Motelib, 43, are accused of harboring an illegal alien, obtaining labor by force, and conspiracy.
The girl worked as nanny and housekeeper for a family of seven up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. “She had to work all day long,” Assistant US Attorney Robert Keenan said. “They used unlawful forms of coersion such as hitting and slapping, and threats of arrest by the police if she ever went outside on her own.”
The girl began working for the couple as a domestic servant in Egypt in 1999, and the couple brought her into the United States in 2000 where her forced servitude continued for two years.
The couple kept the girl in an unfurnished, unventilated, and unlighted garage that building inspectors deemed “deplorable.”
The Los Angeles Times helpfully informs us that this practice is quite common back in Egypt: Pair Admit Enslaving Girl, 12.
The case shed light on a common though illegal practice in Egypt in which children from poor families are sent to work for the well-to-do. The servants, known as Khadamah, usually range in age from 9 to 18 and often are forced to sleep in kitchens.
Two of the girl’s older sisters had worked in Ibrahim’s home in Egypt before he moved to Irvine in 2000. Ibrahim caught one of the sisters stealing, prosecutors said. He threatened to have her charged with theft unless the girl’s impoverished parents sent their 10-year-old daughter to work as his family maid in the United States. The girl’s parents signed a document offering her for a “10-year sponsorship” with the family in exchange for about $30 a month, Keenan said.
“It works out well for everyone except the girl. Her parents are happy, the defendants are happy, and she has 10 years of her life flushed away,” Keenan said.
The girl came to the U.S. on a visitor’s visa that expired six months after she came to Irvine.
At Thursday’s hearing in Santa Ana, Ibrahim wore a gray suit and a somber expression. Motelib wore a white head scarf, a pink blouse, white high heels and a black skirt that touched the ground.