A federal judge sentenced a Nigerian woman to 11 years behind bars Thursday after she forced two young women from her country to work as servants and nannies at her home in Atlanta.
Bidemi Bello was convicted in June for human trafficking, making false statements and other charges. She lured the women from Nigeria under the false pretense of education but then forced them to provide menial labor under abusive conditions.
Bello brought the first woman from Nigeria to Atlanta and forced her into servitude from Oct. 2001 until Mar. 2004. When her first victim escaped, Bello then brought a second young woman in, forcing her to work under the same conditions from Nov. 2004 until Apr. 2006, when she too was able to escape.
Prosecutors said that Bello threatened, physically abused, and isolated both victims from their families in order to force them to work for her without pay. She also took custody of each victim’s passport and government identification documents so they couldn’t leave. They said Bello forced them to eat rotten food and made them cut her lawn by hand with a knife, among other degrading orders.
This is not the first time reports of human trafficking have surfaced in Georgia. In July, a minister and his wife from Ellenwood, Georgia, pleaded guilty to human trafficking charges after luring a young woman from the Kingdom of Swaziland in Southern Africa to come cook for them. The woman would be forced to work as their housekeeper for nearly two years.