Department of Justice seal U.S. Department of Justice

Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-089

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

TWO EGYPTIAN NATIONALS PLEAD GUILTY TO HOLDING DOMESTIC WORKER IN INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE


Los Angeles, CA - Two Egyptian nationals pleaded guilty this afternoon to federal charges for enslaving a 10-year-old girl for two years and forcing her to work as a domestic servant for their family of seven at their Irvine residence.

Abdelnasser Eid Youssef Ibrahim, 45, and his ex-wife, Amal Ahmed Ewis-abd Motelib, 43, each pleaded guilty to four felony counts: conspiracy, holding a person in involuntary servitude through force or coercion, obtaining labor through unlawful force and coercion, and harboring an illegal alien.

"This case sheds light on the despicable practice of human trafficking and illustrates the inhumane conditions that some victims are forced to live under," United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang said. "The victim in this case was forced to work for approximately 16 hours per day every day of the week. Now, she will be allowed to stay in the United States, where I hope she will lead a prosperous life free from the abuse she has already suffered."

The victim began working for Ibrahim and Motelib as a domestic servant in Egypt in 1999. The couple then moved to the United States and, in 2000, arranged to have the victim brought to the United States with the expectation that the victim would work for them as a nanny and housekeeper. Once in the United States, Ibrahim and Motelib confiscated the victim's passport. The victim received no compensation for her labor and served the couple and their family for 20 months.

Ibrahim and Motelib forced the victim to work through a number of unlawful means, including threats, and physical and verbal abuse. For example, both Ibrahim and Motelib slapped the victim on at least one occasion, and they told the girl that she would be arrested and taken away if she was caught by the police outside the family's home.

"Forcing such a young and vulnerable child into these involuntary working conditions is unconscionable," said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice takes this crime seriously and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of anyone who engages in the forced labor and degradation of others."

Ibrahim and Motelib pleaded guilty before United States District Judge James V. Selna, who is scheduled to sentence the defendants on October 23. At that time, both defendants are expected to receive sentences of three years in federal prison. As a condition of the plea, Ibrahim and Motelib are required to pay $101,516.00 to the victim, which will represent restitution for the full amount of her losses.

"The trafficking and enslavement of children is one of the vilest forms of exploitation playing out in our community and throughout the world," said Los Angeles ICE Special Agent-in-Charge Robert Schoch. "It is a sad reflection on human greed and heartlessness, where, even in the most affluent neighborhoods, adults think they can take advantage of a helpless child particularly one from their home country. Together with our law enforcement partners, ICE will work to ensure that those who commit this egregious crime are brought to justice."

The case against Ibrahim and Motelib is the first case brought under the purview of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Irvine Police Department conducted the investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

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Release No. 06-089

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