A worker of the Italian Consulate and his wife have been accused of holding a Brazilian woman as a slave in their San Francisco home. They promised of a better life to the woman but instead kept her as an indentured servant.

Giuseppe Penzato, 54, an assistant at the Italian Consulate, and his wife, Kesia Penzato, 33, were arrested last Friday and charged in United States court in San Francisco with forced labor. The couple was accused of enticing the woman to the United States to work in 2009, and allegedly kept her as a slave by taking and refusing to return her passport.

The woman entered on a domestic servant visa in August 2009 into U.S. The couple promised her $1,500 per month to clean their home and care for their children, Special Agent Melissa Saurwein of U.S. said. But they physically and verbally abused her and failed to pay her negotiated salary

The couple filed a counter-suit against the woman, that she invaded their privacy by secretly recording their private conversations.

It is nothing more than a civil wage and hour case brought by a scheming young woman to facilitate her goal of living permanently in the United States, attorneys for the couple wrote in court papers.

Giuseppe Penzato sequestrated the woman's passport and told her that United States was a dangerous place, where someone might rob her and take it.

Saurwein wrote that Kesia Penzato had berated the woman telling her that she was born to be servant, that she was a prostitute, that she was ugly and that even her birth mother did not want her.