A Fort Worth couple appeared in federal court Thursday after federal authorities charged them with forced labor of a domestic servant.

The Department of Justice alleges that Mohamed Toure and his wife, Denise Cros-Toure, both 57, arranged for a then-5-year-old girl to travel from her home in the Republic of Guinea in 2000 to work for the defendants in their home.

The girl was reportedly denied schooling despite being around the same age as the couple's children, and was forced to cook, clean, and perform various other labors without pay until, with the help of former neighbors, she was able to escape in August of 2016.

The DOJ alleges that the the defendants confiscated the girl's passport and other documents, prevented her from contacting relatives, and inflicted emotional and physical abuse upon her.

If convicted, the pair could spend up to 20 years in prison.

According to the Associated Press, the two were being held in a federal detention facility Friday. They deny the validity of the charges, and argue that the girl is a distant relative sent from Guinea to be raised alongside their own children.

The AP also reports that Mohamed Toure is the son of late Guinean President Ahmed Sekou Toure.

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