A Michigan man has been jailed for enslaving African children. Jean-Claude Toviave was sentenced to over 11 years in federal prison and must pay $134,200 restitution to two of the children. Toviave is accused of bringing four children to the US, illegally, and using them as slaves in his Michigan home.
Toviave, a former tennis pro, moved to the US in 2006. Authorities have stated that he brought four children along, all from the African nation of Togo. Toviave reportedly used falsified documents, stating he was their father, to transport them into them across the border.
As reported by CBS, Toviave did not provide the children with a loving home. Instead, he treated the children like slaves. In a letter that was read to the court, one of the victims described what life was like in Toviave’s home.
The victim recounted how the man expected the children to work like slaves, doing all his cooking and cleaning. If they did not obey, he subjected them to painful beatings, verbal abuse, and starvation.
As reported by the Huffington Post, the abuse continued for five years. Eventually authorities found out that Toviave was enslaving the African children, which were brought into the country illegally.
He was found guilty of visa fraud, visa fraud, harboring aliens, and forced labor. When given a chance to speak before sentencing, Toviave did not offer an apology for any of his crimes.
The judge sentenced the man to the maximum sentence allowed by law, over 11 years in federal prison. Additionally, he was ordered to pay two of the children $60,000 each in damages. Toviave was also ordered to pay $7,200 toward counseling for the other two children.
Toviave’s attorney has stated that his client has no money, so it is unlikely that the children will ever be reimbursed for being enslaved.
Toviave has spent the last two years incarcerated and will remain in jail for enslaving the African children. The judge has allowed credit for the years he has already served.
[Image via Fotopedia]