FORT WORTH, Texas – A grand jury handed up seven charges to husband and wife Emmanuel and Ngozi Nnaji, who the FBI says forced labor from a domestic servant.
The investigation alleged that the Nnajis let the scheme play out over nearly a decade.
According to the federal indictment returned late yesterday, Emmanuel Nnaji and Ngozi Nnaji enticed a widowed Nigerian mother of six to come to the United States to be their domestic servant.
The FBI’s human trafficking investigators believe the pair promised a salary and support for the woman’s children, who she was struggling to support in her Nigerian home.
According to the criminal complaint , the government found out about the scheme in 2006 after the servant escaped the couple’s watchful eye with the help of a priest who picked her up on an Arlington street corner.
The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy, forced labor, document servitude, alien harboring and false statements. In addition, the criminal complaint alleges Emmanuel Nnaji raped the servant multiple times, telling her she would get in trouble if she reported his sexual assaults.
The federal indictment says the Nnajis got fraudulent immigration documents, took the servant’s documents on the day she arrived in the U.S., harbored her in their home, compelled her to work long hours with no days off for little or no pay, used a scheme to isolate her and restrict her communications and refused her requests to return home or be paid.
If convicted, Ngozi and Emmanuel Nnaji each face a maximum sentence of up to 55 years in prison.
Ngozi Nnaji, a Nigerian national, faces deportation following conviction on any of the charged felonies.