The DC Examiner has covered a story of a Germantown, Maryland couple who smuggled a young Nigerian girl 12 years ago into the U.S. using their daughter’s passport. Typical of the inhumanity and abuse trafficked victims endure, the young girl was subjected to rape and forced labor by the couple.  Such stories are a reminder of why individuals living in the U.S. should gain greater knowledge about human trafficking and highlights the fact that victims are in places we least expect them.   

A Nigerian man was sentenced to more than eight years in prison Tuesday on charges that he smuggled a teen into the country so that he and his wife could use the girl as their slave.

George Udeozor, 52, had fled to his native Nigeria after police raided his Germantown home in 2001, authorities said. He and his wife, Adaobi Stella Udeozor, a Montgomery County physician, were accused of smuggling the girl in from their native country by using their daughter’s passport in 1996. They told the girl that they planned to adopt her.

Instead, they held her as a slave, prosecutors charged. She was ordered to cook and clean and to baby-sit for the Udeozors’ six children. The girl also was forced to work in Adaobi Udeozor’s Optimum Care Medical Clinic. The girl, unidentified in court papers, also was repeatedly raped by George Udeozor, officials alleged.

After years of abuse, the girl called police in 2001, according to court records. George Udeozor fled the country, leaving his estranged wife to face trial on her own. She was sentenced to more than seven years in prison. Both Udeozors were ordered to pay the girl more than $110,000 each as restitution.

George Udeozor was extradited from Nigeria in February and pleaded guilty shortly thereafter.

Andrea Powell, is the executive director of the Fair Fund, a D.C.-based anti-trafficking group. She said that up to 30 women are rescued from the sex trade every month, Powell said. And sex workers are only a fraction of those smuggled, Powell said.

“The problem is these people don’t just walk down the street asking for help,” Powell said. “One of the challenges in the District is that there is no specific law to address trafficking.”

Udeozor is at least the third person convicted of human smuggling in the D.C. region in the past six months, Powell.