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US-based Nigerian doctor, wife Face 20 Years In Prison 

A federal jury in Camden, New Jersey, has convicted a Nigerian couple of forced labour in the United States and other related crimes with possible…

A federal jury in Camden, New Jersey, has convicted a Nigerian couple of forced labour in the United States and other related crimes with possible 20 years imprisonment.

Isiaka and Bolaji Bolarinwa aged 67 and 50 years old respectively residing in Burlington County used coercive scheme to force two people in engaging in domestic labour.

The jury also found the couple guilty of two counts of forced labour, one count of sheltering a stranger for financial gain and two counts of document servitude.

Following two weeks of trial, the jury found the couple guilty, according to a press release by the US Department of Justice.

The evidence presented at trial, including the testimony of two victims, established that, between December 2015 and October 2016, Bolaji, a nurse, and Isiaka, a doctor – originally from Nigeria, but living in New Jersey as American citizens – recruited two victims to come to the US and then compelled them to perform domestic labor and childcare services for their children.

They subjected their victims to physical harm, threats of physical harm, isolation, constant surveillance and psychological abuse. The defendants engaged in this venture knowing that both victims were out of lawful status while working in their home.

The US DOJ said, “After a two-week trial, a federal jury in Camden, New Jersey, found Bolaji Bolarinwa, 50, and Isiaka Bolarinwa, 67, both of Burlington County, New Jersey, guilty of forced labor and other crimes related to their coercive scheme to compel two victims to perform domestic labor and childcare in their home.

“Bolaji Bolarinwa was found guilty of two counts of forced labor, one count of alien harboring for financial gain and two counts of document servitude. The jury also convicted Isiaka Bolarinwa of two counts of forced labor and one count of alien harboring for financial gain. The defendants were each acquitted of a second count of alien harboring for financial gain.

“The defendants deceitfully lured the victims to the United States with promises of benefits, but then betrayed them,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“The defendants confiscated the victims’ passports, threatened them, degraded them, physically abused them and kept them under constant surveillance, all to coerce the victims’ labor and ruthlessly exploit them for the defendants’ own profit.

“Human trafficking is a heinous crime, and this verdict should send the very clear message that the Justice Department will investigate and vigorously prosecute these cases to hold human traffickers accountable and bring justice to their victims.”

“These defendants engaged in an egregious bait-and-switch, luring the victims with false promises of a life and an education in the United States, and instead subjected them to grueling hours, physical abuse and psychological abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey.

“Forced labor and human trafficking are abhorrent crimes that have no place in our society, and I am grateful to our team of prosecutors, agents and support staff for ensuring that justice was done in this case.”

“Imagine showing up in a foreign land, hoping for a better life and ending up trapped with no place to go and no one to turn to for help,” said Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy of the FBI Newark Field Office.

“The victims in this investigation suffered in unimaginable ways at the hands of their captors, enduring years of physical and mental abuse. Human trafficking often takes on many different forms and can hide in plain sight. I want to commend the agents and victim specialists who worked on this case, alongside our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“We want everyone to know if you or anyone you know is a victim – you can come to us for help. We will bring your tormentors to justice,” he added.

The release stated that, “A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date. Both defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each forced labor count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the alien harboring count.

“Bolaji Bolarinwa faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each unlawful document conduct count. They will also be required to pay mandatory restitution to the two victims and each face a fine on each count of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.”

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