Prosecutors said the victim, whose name has been withheld, had been recruited by Emmanuel and Ngozi Ihechere Nnaji in her native Nigeria with promises that she would receive a salary along with room and board in exchange for working as a nanny to the couple's own children.
Instead, the victim, who is unable to read or write, was forced to work 16 hours daily with no days off for nearly nine years. The couple didn't pay her, confiscated her travel documents, monitored all calls to her family in Nigeria and did not support her family as promised. In exchange, she received an estimated $300 for her work.
According to reports, the woman also testified that 50-year-old Emmanuel, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Nigerian descent, repeatedly sexually assaulted her.
Emmanuel was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while his wife Ngozi, 40, a Nigerian citizen, was sentenced to nine years. In addition, both defendants were ordered to pay $305,957.60 in restitution.
"The involuntary servitude and mistreatment that this victim endured is intolerable in a nation founded on freedom and individual rights," Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a statement before going on to condemn the situation as an example of "modern-day slavery."