Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nigerian Extradited to the US on Human Trafficking Charges

From the Gazette:

Germantown, Maryland, USA- A Nigerian man, formerly of Germantown, Maryland wanted since 2003 in connection to the human trafficking and abuse of a teenage girl was extradited from the West African country on Monday.

George Chidebe Udeozor, 51, formerly of the 14400 block of Seneca Road, and his ex-wife, Adaobi Stella Udeozor, were charged in 2003 in connection with the physical and sexual abuse of the Nigerian teen who worked for them in Germantown for little or no pay for more than five years, according to a statement from U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. George Udeozor appeared in the Greenbelt court Monday, and was held pending a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday.

It could not be learned if he has an attorney.
‘‘He’s been fighting extradition for some time, and it’s a diplomatic process,” said Marcia Murphy, spokeswoman for the state U.S. Attorney’s office. ‘‘He did not want to come back.”

Udeozor had already fled the country when he was charged with involuntary servitude, conspiracy and harboring an alien for financial gain in 2003. The charges come with maximum penalties of 20 years imprisonment, a three-year term of unsupervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Adaobi Udeozor was found guilty in 2004 and sentenced to more than seven years in prison. She was ordered to pay $110,250 in restitution to the girl, who was physically and sexually assaulted and denied an education while living in the couple’s home. She appealed her case to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a judge affirmed her conviction and sentence on Feb. 1.

Their three-count indictment alleged the couple forced the girl to work and care for their six children from September 1996, when she was 14, to October 2001.

The girl, now in her mid-twenties, gave an victim impact statement during the sentencing, Murphy said at the time.

The indictment said the couple brought the girl to the U.S. on a passport that was not in her name and promised her family that she would be paid and attend school. She was physically and sexually abused.

The couple took advantage of the girls’ illegal status, threatening to send her back to Nigeria to discourage her from resisting their assaults, authorities said. And they occasionally represented her as a relative, to avoid detection.

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