West African Man Convicted of Keeping Four Boys as Slaves

Jay Scott Smith, November 1, 2012

On Tuesday, a federal jury convicted a former janitor at the University of Michigan of enslaving and abusing four West African boys. He held the boys in his home for five years and pretended that they were his own children.

Jean-Claude Kodjo Toviave, a native of the West African nation of Togo, could face up to 20 years in prison after being convicted on four counts of forced labor. Toviave, 42, was originally arrested in May 2011 after three of the boys reported the abuse to counselors at a middle school.

Toviave, whose sentencing is set for Feb. 6, smuggled the four boys into the country from Togo by using fake passports with false names and birth dates. Claiming the boys were his own biological children, he went as far as enrolling the three youngest—ages 21, 20, and 15—in a public middle school.

During the trial, the boys testified that Toviave regularly beat them with broomsticks, a toilet plunger, sticks, ice scrapers, and cell phone chargers if they failed to obey orders to do their house chores—which included cooking, housecleaning, ironing his suits, shining his shoes, washing and vacuuming his car, and cleaning one of his friends’ houses.

Toviave also starved and sleep-deprived them as punishment. In February, Toviave pled guilty to mail fraud and harboring illegal aliens in connection with bringing the four boys to the United States.


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  • Detroit_WASP

    since the boys came here illegally, are black, likely future democrat voters, I imagine they will get to stay in this country.  Oh joy, more men for Kim Kardashian to date.

    • Stentorian_Commentator

      Too true, unfortunately.  And somehow, white folk will be blamed.  I think we have to go to a policy of exporting all blacks and hispanics, wherever they were born.  Wishful thinking, I know.

  • Since they are considered trafficking victims, they are eligible for a “T” visa which allows them to stay in the United States and eventually be able to gain permanent residency and citizenship. The guy that enslaved them will probably be deported back to Togo after completing his prison sentence.

    • The__Bobster

      Close, but no cigar. Try “U” visa.


      The untold abuse of our nation by Congress continues unabated. In the latest news the U Visa, the visa supposedly created to aid criminal prosecutions by granting non-immigrant visas to victims of crime who provide critical testimony at trials. Furthermore the visas were to be granted to those victims of significant crimes, not minor crimes such as misdemeanors.

      And U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is doing its best to grant these visas with eventually lead to legal permanent residence. Electing a new people through crime.

      • I thought the “T” visas were for victims of human trafficking. It appears that these boys were traffiked.

  • Puggg

    Ages 21 and 20 are too old for high school much less middle school, and 15 is too old for middle school.  The registrars at that middle school in question must be totally clueless or blind.

    • There are 18yos in inner city middle schools

    • It is not uncommon to see 20 and 21 year old students still in high school in the black community.  I have also seen 16 year old 9th graders because they have not completed enough credits to advance to the next grade level.

  • IstvanIN

    Why can’t we just give them a gold bar and send them home to start over?  Why do we have to keep these “boys”.  And why is doing housework slavery?

  • I have worked with black folk here and there during my life, and for the life of me, I can’t think of a single one that really impressed me. If I were going to enslave a people, with the intent to acquire “work” from them, I don’t think blacks would be high on my list. If I needed someone to rhyme, childlishly, really, really fast, I would enslave a black. If I needed a ball thrown at a target from a really long way away, guess what? Black again.

  • shmo123

    “the boys testified that Toviave regularly beat them with broomsticks, a
    toilet plunger, sticks, ice scrapers, and cell phone chargers…”

    Africans have always been very clever at adopting new technologies for a wide variety of uses. Since toilet plungers, cell phone chargers, and especially ice scrapers, are more than likely seldom used in Africa, it’s heartening to see these new immigrants adapting so well.

  • JackKrak

    All part of the wonderful diverse tapestry we call America – right, libs?

  • WHAT? When did they make that illegal?

  • Michael_C_Scott

    Slavery?  Where is the outcry from race pimps like Je$$e Jack$on, Al $harpton and Quanell X?