I-TEAM: One woman's tale of domestic slavery - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

I-TEAM: One woman's tale of domestic slavery

DETROIT, MI (WNEM) -

A woman says a Michigan family convinced her to leave her country and her family behind for a good paying job here in the U.S. But that's not what happened at all.

She says she was the victim of a growing problem called domestic slavery.

The woman wants to be known as "Rebecca." She asked that TV5 conceal her true identity, but she couldn't hide her anger and disgust stemming from what she says one Michigan family did to her.

"It made me to feel bad. I was really feeling really bad," said Rebecca.

Rebecca was brought to the U.S. legally.

She says she traveled thousands of miles from her home in west Africa so she could work as a house maid. She says she was promised money to support her two children back home. But instead she says a Detroit area family trapped her for years as a slave.

"Cook, take care of the baby, clean the house, I do every work in the house," said Rebecca.

She says they never paid her a dime.

The problem is called domestic slavery. Immigration Custom Enforcement tracks the growing problem and targets people involved in the slave trade.

When Rebecca first confronted the family that brought her here, she says they took her visa and other legal documents and threatened that if she went to the authorities, she would be jailed or even worse.

Williams Hayes is a special agent with ICE. He says vulnerable people like Rebecca are targeted because they come from countries where the authorities are typically not trusted, so when they become enslaved, they don't call police. Officials say men and women have been enslaved in Michigan for years. Some of them for most of their lives.

Lawmakers are trying to give agencies like ICE even more tools to fight human trafficking. A task force has been created to help prosecute the culprits of these heinous crimes against humanity. So you may be wondering, how bad is it?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked here in the U.S.  It's estimated that human trafficking is a $32 billion industry.

As for Rebecca, she's still here in the U.S. She says she's happy to be free and hopes she can stay, but this time under her own terms.

Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Search ongoing for gunman after 4 killed, 4 injured in mass shooting at Waffle House

    Search ongoing for gunman after 4 killed, 4 injured in mass shooting at Waffle House

    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:55 AM EDT2018-04-22 09:55:32 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 2:08 PM EDT2018-04-22 18:08:46 GMT
    Travis Reinking (Courtesy: Metro Police)Travis Reinking (Courtesy: Metro Police)

    Four people were killed and four others injured in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch early Sunday. The suspect is still on the run.

    More >>

    Four people were killed and four others injured in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch early Sunday. The suspect is still on the run.

    More >>
  • Woman loses home at auction to former attorney

    Woman loses home at auction to former attorney

    Saturday, April 21 2018 11:11 PM EDT2018-04-22 03:11:04 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:23 AM EDT2018-04-22 09:23:15 GMT
    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney. (Source: KPLR/CNN)Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney. (Source: KPLR/CNN)

    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney.

    More >>

    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney.

    More >>
  • 4 dead in Waffle House shooting in Tennessee; suspect sought

    4 dead in Waffle House shooting in Tennessee; suspect sought

    Sunday, April 22 2018 8:34 AM EDT2018-04-22 12:34:45 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 2:09 PM EDT2018-04-22 18:09:26 GMT
    A customer at the restaurant took the gun from the suspect, who then took off his coat and fled the area. (Source: CNN)A customer at the restaurant took the gun from the suspect, who then took off his coat and fled the area. (Source: CNN)
    Police in Tennessee say three people were killed and four were injured in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant early Sunday. (Source: CNN)Police in Tennessee say three people were killed and four were injured in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant early Sunday. (Source: CNN)

    A customer at the restaurant took the gun from the suspect, who then took off his coat and fled the area. 

    More >>

    A customer at the restaurant took the gun from the suspect, who then took off his coat and fled the area. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly