Convicted woman is returned to U.S.

Silver Spring resident was found guilty of forcing girl into servitude

June 02, 2005|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,SUN STAFF

A Maryland woman who fled to Cameroon after being convicted last year for her role in the forced detention of an 11-year-old girl has been expelled from her native African country and returned to the United States to serve the prison sentence she skipped out on, federal officials announced yesterday.

Theresa Mubang, 42, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was returned to the United States on Saturday after being detained in Cameroon last week. Last year, a federal jury in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt convicted Mubang of involuntary servitude and harboring an illegal alien for financial gain.

The Silver Spring woman had been allowed to await her sentencing hearing at home to care for her children. She removed her electronic monitoring device and fled.

On Feb. 28, Mubang was sentenced in absentia to 17 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to the victim, who is now 18. "This case shows that human trafficking remains a 21st-century crime," Marcy Forman, director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Investigations, said in a statement.

Because the United States does not have an extradition treaty with Cameroon, Mubang's return required cooperation between the countries.

Prosecutors said Mubang used a false passport in 1996 to bring Evelyn Chumbow from Cameroon into the United States. Mubang told Chumbow's family that the child would receive a better life and an education in American schools.

Instead, according to court testimony, Mubang cut off communication between Chumbow and her family, and forced the child to work as a cook and maid in Mubang's home. Mubang forbade Chumbow to attend school or make friends with other children. She used a high-heeled shoe, a metal broom handle, a cable TV wire and her fists to beat the child, according to court testimony.

Chumbow escaped the Mubang home while Mubang attended a conference, prosecutors said.

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