French court acquits British couple of human trafficking

15th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

A British couple have been acquitted of human trafficking by a French court which rejected the accusations by their former Madagascan au pair, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Robert and Sharon Moses went on trial in December after their former employee, Sahobilalaina Vonintsoa, accused them of making her work around the clock, confiscating her passport and preventing her from leaving their home.

The couple faced charges of human trafficking for non-existent or inadequate payment to a vulnerable or dependent person and for not declaring an employee but prosecutors said these were "not sufficiently established" and were "disproportionate with the reality of the case."

The couple's lawyer said Vonintsoa, 28, only made the accusations when the couple, who lived in southern France, refused to renew her contract after she stole money.

The complaint "allowed her to extend her residency permit after the expiry of her one-year visa," Ariane Fatovich said.

The au pair had been seeking 24,000 euros ($33,000) in compensation for unpaid wages and an additional 15,000 euros in damages.

© 2014 AFP

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