Egyptian couple indicted on charges of forced labor

An Egyptian couple with ties to embassies were indicted Wednesday for allegedly forcing two Indonesian women to work long hours well below the minimum wage.

Mervat Mohamed Fawzy Saleh Tolan, 52, and Nabil Abdel Khalek Talaat, 55, formerly of Vienna, Va., were indicted by a federal grand jury. They are also accused of forcing the women to engage in sexual conduct with Talaat.

Tolan is an employee of the embassy of the United Arab Emirates.

The couple is facing multiple charges including conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, visa fraud, unlawful conduct with respect to documents, conspiracy to harbor and conceal an alien, alien harboring and making false statements.

“Forced labor is a modern form of indentured servitude,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride. “This couple is accused of turning their home into a prison for their hired help, forcing them to engage in both hard labor and sexual conduct."

Tolan Talaat Indictment

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The couple is accused of forcing the two workers to speak only Arabic, stopping them from speaking to the neighbors and keeping them from leaving the property unless accompanied by a member of the defendants' family.

Authorities say the defendants confiscated the workers' passports and required them to work long hours without days off.