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Md. Couple Must Pay $150,000 in Slavery Case

By Phuong Ly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 28, 2001; Page B03

A husband and wife from Germantown were ordered yesterday to pay about $150,000 in restitution for bringing an undocumented teenage girl from Cameroon into the United States and using her to do domestic work for no pay.

Vivian Satia, 37, and her husband, Etiondem Daniel Achamorfaw, 39, pleaded guilty in February to two criminal counts before Judge Alexander Williams Jr. in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. Williams also sentenced them to four months each of home detention.

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The couple and two other people -- Louisa Satia, Vivian's sister, and Louisa's husband, Kevin Nanji, both of Silver Spring -- were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with conspiring to bring two teenage girls into the country illegally and harboring them for commercial advantage and private financial gain.

Louisa Satia and Nanji are scheduled to go to trial Dec. 4.

According to a statement of facts submitted in Vivian Satia and Achamorfaw's plea agreement, they solicited Christina Elangwe, then 17, to come to the United States in 1995 and told her she would be allowed to go to school in exchange for doing domestic work and caring for their three children.

A special agent from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service testified yesterday that Elangwe woke up at 6 a.m. each day and did not stop working until 10 at night. Eventually, she was allowed to attend GED classes. She left the couple in February 2000.

Elangwe, now 23, works at an area K-mart and has filed a civil lawsuit against the couple.

"She was a young girl who wanted to do nothing but go to school," said Mythaly Raman, a prosecutor with the U.S. attorney's office. "She was misled. They took away five years of her life."

Satia and Achamorfaw, both Cameroonian immigrants, told the judge that they were sorry for their actions. "There was no intention to disgrace our new country by doing what we did," Achamorfaw said.

But Williams told the couple they had no excuse, saying, "You just can't use fellow humans."

© 2001 The Washington Post Company