Prosecutors: Afghan Girl Enslaved in Seattle Area

Gene Johnson, AP, Oct. 17, 2008

Five Seattle-area immigrants from Afghanistan enslaved a teenage girl they brought to the U.S., with some forcing her to do chores and one—her 37-year-old husband—beating and sexually assaulting her, according to a federal indictment unsealed this week.

The girl is from an impoverished single-parent home in Afghanistan, and she was informally adopted by another family there that forced her to marry at age 13 in 2005, Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said Thursday. The girl’s husband is Mohammad Atahee, a friend of the adoptive family; U.S. officials don’t recognize the marriage.

Atahee and three of the family’s members were already living in the south Seattle suburbs when the girl’s adoptive mother, Nasima Yousuf, 70, brought her to the United States in 2006, as part of what prosecutors say was a plot to enslave her. Yousuf’s husband, Mohammad, 84, had filed an immigration petition to bring the girl to the U.S., claiming his wife was her biological mother.

Once in the country, the indictment said, the girl, identified only as JV1, was forced to live with Atahee, who beat her and sexually assaulted her. She was forced to spend at least three days a week at the Auburn home of Maruf Yousufi, 42, and his wife, Nahid, 29—caring for their children, doing laundry, cooking and cleaning. Maruf Yousufi is Mohammad Yousuf’s son.

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All the defendants have legal status in the U.S., Langlie said. The girl, however, does not, because of the Yousufs’ alleged lies on immigration applications. She could stay in the country by obtaining a visa for victims of human trafficking.

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