Tuesday, March 26, 2013

FORMER Tennis pro, Jean-Claude Toviave Convicted of Forcing Children to Work as Slaves in His Home in Michigan.

Former tennis pro Jean-Claude Toviave  'trafficked four children from Togo to the U.S. and forced them to work as slaves in his Michigan home or face "savage" beatings and starvation'. Toviave was sentenced Monday to more than 11 years in federal prison after a jury convicted him in October on four counts of forced labor. He previously pleaded guilty to fraud and misuse of visas, mail fraud and harboring aliens.

The 44-year-old former tennis pro faked immigration papers from Africa for some of the children who were in middle school and brought them to Michigan where he forced them to cook and clean while starving and beating them with toilet plungers, broomsticks and electrical cords. Toviave who played professional tennis in Togo until 1990 presented the children as his own, but authorities and the victims' statements described them as little more than slaves with little chance to escape in a foreign country.

The Court filling from the prosecutors reveals how Toviave brought four children from Togo in 2006 and forced them to work in his home in Ypsilanti, near Ann Arbor, for nearly five years until January 2011.

The judge also ordered Toviave to pay two of the children $60,000 each and provide $7,200 apiece to two victims for counseling. But both the judge and defense lawyer Randall Roberts said it seemed unlikely Toviave would be able to come up with the money. Roberts referred to Toviave as "penniless."