NEWARK, N.J. — A man from the West African nation Togo has admitted his role in the smuggling of dozens of girls and women who were forced to work at hair braiding salons in New Jersey.
Lassissi Afolabi pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to conspiring with his ex-wife and others to commit forced labor and related crimes in Newark and East Orange, where he lived.
Afolabi has been held without bail since his arrest in September 2007. He could face up to life in prison when he's sentenced Dec. 8.
Prosecutors say between October 2002 and September 2007 at least 20 girls and women were taken from Togo using fraudulent visas. The girls were forced to work six or seven days a week and to turn over all of their earnings to the defendants.