WASHINGTON - Bidemi Bello, 41, formerly of Buford, Ga., and presently from Nigeria, was arraigned toda y, following an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Sep.10, 2010. Bello faces federal charges of forced labor, trafficking with respect to forced labor, document servitude and alien harboring. Bello was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Georgia Janet F. King.
The charges and other information presented in court allege that Bello brought one young woman from Nigeria to Georgia and compelled her labor as a nanny and housekeeper from October 2001 through March 2004. After her first victim escaped, Bello brought a second young woman from Nigeria to Georgia and compelled that young woman’s domestic service from November 2004 until April 2006. Bello threatened and physically abused both victims, isolated them from their families and confiscated their identification documents, in order to compel them to perform child care and domestic service without pay.
Each of the four labor trafficking charges carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The two document servitude counts carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The alien harboring count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney S usan Coppedge and Deputy Chief Karima Maloney of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.