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Bidemi Bello, Nigerian woman near Atlanta, convicted for abusing, “enslaving” 2 young Nigerians; sentencing August 24

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Bidemi Bello, Nigerian woman near Atlanta, convicted for abusing, “enslaving” 2 young Nigerians; sentencing August 24

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Special to USAfricaonline.com

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By Ron Nakfoor/Gannett 11

A U.S federal jury has convicted a former Suwanee (near Atlanta, Georgia) resident of forced labor, trafficking for forced labor, document servitude, and alien harboring.

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Bidemi Bello, a citizen of Nigeria, was convicted of eight counts late Friday night June 10, 2011.

According to federal prosecutors, the 41-year-old forced two young women to care for her daughter and to do household chores for years without pay.  “The evidence showed that this was a case of modern day slavery hidden within an expensive home in an upscale neighborhood,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement. “The two women who were abused here thought they were going to be nannies; instead they were treated inhumanely.”

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“Few crimes are more shocking than the trafficking of human beings in this country,” Brock Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, said in a statement. “No one should have to live in a word of isolation and forced servitude.”

The jury heard from two victims who had been separately recruited in Nigeria by Bello’s offer to come to the U.S. to work as her nanny. In return, Bello promised she would send the young women to school in the U.S. She promised to pay one of the women as well.

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However, once they arrived in the U.S., prosecutors said Bello became verbally and physically abusive to both young women. She beat them for not cleaning well, not responding fast enough to her crying child, and if they talked back to her. The young women testified Bello beat them with a large wooden spoon, shoes, electric cords and with her hands.

Despite living in an upscale home that had multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, prosecutors said Bello made the young women, known to the court as ”Laome” and ”Dupe”, sleep on the floor or a couch. She also would not let them use the shower, but instead required them to bathe with the water in one bucket.

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One of the woman eventually managed to save up $60, given to her by some of Bello’s friends. She took a cab to a Marietta church where she was assisted by the pastor.

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Bello left the United States during the ensuing investigation. After her indictment in September, 2010, she attempted to re-enter the U.S and was arrested in Houston.

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Sentencing has been set for August 24. Bello faces a maximum of 35 years in prison and fines totalling $750,000.

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1 Comment

  1. I hope she gets the max sentence, and hope they kick her behind all over that prison every day. People fought long and hard to abolish slavery in this country. Then along comes stank behind Bidemi and others like her taking advantage of the freedoms and opportunities in America, with her own slavery system. You want slaves, stay your backward behinds in AFRICA.  

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