VIRGINIA

Abdelkader, Hnia Amal of Alexandria charged with human trafficking

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(WJLA) - According to the Department of Justice, Abdelkader and Hnia Amal have been charged with immigration offenses under allegations that they kept a domestic servant in their home for three years.

The defendants are each charged with one count of alien harboring for commercial advantage and private financial gain.

The defendants are reportedly husband and wife and reside in Alexandria. The victim is reported to be a Moroccan national, and was concealed and shielded from detection in the suspects' home.

Now, neighbors are stunned by what allegedly went on in this Island Creek neighborhood. Early Wednesday morning, they watched as law enforcement swarmed their small group of town homes.

Hnia Amal allegedly brought the victim over from Amal's former country of Morocco, promising to pay her $400 a week as a housemaid. However, she was only paid $9,000 over a period of three years.

The federal affidavit states that the woman "had only agreed to work for the Amals for one year, but was afraid to depart after one year against the Amals' wishes because she feared she would not be paid."

"I'm a little shocked, a little embarrassed," said neighbor J.D. Walker. "I'm on the board of directors here for this homeowner's association and this was going on right under my nose."

Neither a woman parked outside the home nor a couple who answered the couple's door wanted to speak with us. Only a couple of neighbors we talked to believe they ever saw the alleged victim -- and they didn't see her very often:

"Once every two, three months -- not really often, very rarely," said Nebeyu Daniel.

According to the complaint, the defendants gained financial benefits by employing the victim. If convicted, Abdelkader and Hnia Amal could face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

For more information on human trafficking, click here.

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