Breaking News: Minister and Wife Charged with Human Trafficking and Immigration Violation for Exploiting Woman from Africa (Video included)

| December 10, 2009 | 0 Comments
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Defendants Allegedly Enticed Victim to Travel to the U.S. from Africa Intending to Force the Victim to Work as Their Housekeeper and Nanny

JUNA GWENDOLYN BABB, 54, and MICHAEL J. BABB, 53, a minister, both of Ellenwood, Georgia, were arrested today by FBI and ICE agents following their indictment by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, forced labor, document servitude, which is confiscating someone’s passport and visa, and harboring an alien for financial gain. Bond was set at $20,000 at a hearing yesterday afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Gerrilyn Brill. The indictment in this case, handed down last week this week by a federal grand jury in Atlanta, had been sealed until the arrests yesterday.

In Washington, D.C., Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division said, “The Department is committed to prosecuting individuals who engage in schemes to exploit and compel the labor of vulnerable persons.”

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FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Greg Jones said, “Cases such as this where lives are exploited because the individuals find themselves in circumstances without many other options is sad and tragic.  When individuals create such circumstances with the sole or primary purpose of exploiting these individuals, it is simply deplorable.  The FBI, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and its many law enforcement partners has made tremendous efforts to bring the growing problem of human trafficking to the public forefront and to give some measure of relief to those being exploited.”

Kenneth Smith, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Investigations in Atlanta said, “The defendants in this case trafficked in a human being, using the victim’s desire for a better life to lure her into a situation where she was deprived of her basic human rights. Many people are unaware that this form of modern day slavery still occurs in the United States. The victims can be domestic servants, sweat shop employees, day laborers or workers in the sex industry who are lured here by the promise of prosperity and forced to work as indentured servants. ICE is committed to giving them the help they need to come forward as we work to end human trafficking with vigorous enforcement and tough penalties.”

According to Acting United States Attorney Yates, the indictment, and information in court: Between about March 2005, and continuing until on or about February 7, 2007, JUNA GWENDOLYN BABB and MICHAEL J. BABB allegedly conspired to compel the labor of the victim by enticing her to come to the United States from the Kingdom of Swaziland, Africa, by falsely promising her a lucrative, short-term opportunity to provide catering services at the wedding of a family member of the BABBs. However, upon the victim’s arrival to the United States, the couple allegedly conspired to, and did harbor her for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining  her labor as a housekeeper and nanny in their home through the use of debt and threats of arrest and imprisonment.

Specifically, after the victim’s arrival in the United States, the defendants confiscated her passport and return airline ticket, and told the victim that she owed them a debt for the costs of her travel to the United States.  The BABBs allegedly then compelled the victim’s labor by using the debt that they claimed the victim owed them, and by threatening her with arrest and imprisonment by immigration authorities once her tourist visa expired. The couple then allegedly required the victim to clean the homes of their friends and associates, and to assist with MICHAEL BABB’s construction business.  The indictment also alleges that the defendants required the victim to work long hours every day of the week, for which the victim was grossly underpaid on those few occasions that the BABBs paid her at all for her labor and services.

Editor’s note:

This is 2009 and to think that we still have individuals who would engage in this type of treatment of human beings is not only deplorable but it just reminds us how one must be mindful that when you think your life if doing bad, there is always someone out there going through something even worse. Some of us take the liberties we have for granted and if  the Babbs are  found guilty of these crimes it just shows you that because someone holds a certain title in our community, they are not beyond reproach. So if you are cheating your immigrant worker because they are an illegal or you are taking advantage of someone because they don’t know the laws of this country you might just find yourself in a similar circumstance so do as to others as you might want done to yourself. PLEASE RETWEET THIS STORY IF YOU FIND THE INFORMATION USEFUL.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment contains only allegations.  A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Source:  United States Attorney General’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia

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