A woman in Fort Worth, Texas has been convicted by a federal jury for enslaving undocumented immigrants for 14 years. According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 64-year-old Olga Sandra Murra trafficked two women from Mexico in the late 1990s and forced them to work for her without compensation.
Born in 1952, Murra lived in Mexico until 1997 when she moved to the U.S. with her immediately family and a woman in her 30s known “V.R.” One year later, she arranged to have a woman in her 20s, called “I.G.,” to be brought to illegally from Mexico to the U.S.
Murra, who owned a home-cleaning business, made the women clean three to four houses a day, up to seven days a week. The trafficked women were also forced to clean Murra’s residences in El Paso and Fort Worth, and cook meals for her. According to ICE officials, Murra held the identification documents of the women and kept them enslaved from September 1997 to April 2011.
Authorities say that Murra made the women listen to recordings of herself reading the Bible while they worked, told the women they would go to hell if they did not obey her, and told officials that she is the voice of God on earth. She also threatened to call immigration officials and they would be buried in a field with illegal aliens.
“Murra also restricted the women’s freedom within her house, requiring at times they ask for permission to go to the bathroom,” writes ICE. “Murra also prohibited them from talking to other individuals living at the residence. Generally, the women slept on the bedroom floor in the residence. But when she punished them, Murra required them to sleep in the garage, laundry room or backyard; she also restricted their food to bread and water.”
After a week-long trial, a federal jury has convicted Murra on two felony counts of harboring an illegal alien and two counts of forced labor. The latter count can come with a 20 year imprisonment and $250,000 fine while the former count carries up to 10 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Murra will be sentenced on Nov. 28, 2016.