More Slavery Out of Florida

More slavery out of Florida, only this time, it’s not far away in the fields–it’s in bustling Miami.

On Tuesday, March 4, a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale found mother and daughter Evelyn Theodore and Maude Paulin guilty of slavery, forced labor and harboring an illegal immigrant for keeping a Haitian teen imprisoned six years.

Additionally, Paulin’s ex-husband was found guilty of harboring an illegal immigrant.

During the trial, victim Simone Celestin, who’s now 22, testified that she was brought to Miami from Haiti when she was 14 and that she was forced to sleep on the floor and work 15-hour days cleaning the house, instead of going to school.

Like I write about in the Tulsa chapter of my book, defense attorneys in this case argued the victim made up the slavery charges to secure legal immigration status in the United States. They used the tried and true argument that Celestin was never tied up or locked up. It didn’t fly: prosecutors used an established 2000 law against modern-day slave masters who make use of psychological rather than physical coercion.

Like many slavery cases turning up in the orange groves and tomato fields, Celestin was never chained or physically bound; she didn’t need to be. Her captors exploited her just fine by isolating her and manipulating her fears about her immigration status.

Read the whole article by Vanessa Blum at the South Florida South Sentinel.


4 responses to “More Slavery Out of Florida

  1. Based on fact:
    • One of the family members who faced the same charges as the others has been found not guilty! What does that say about the overall process?
    • One can say if this family member can be found not guilty on all counts, technically she has been wrongly accused for a crime that she did not commit! The same can also be true for the others.
    • A certified letter from Simone’s uncle her closest family member, residing in Haiti, stated that he voluntarily registered Simone to the orphanage because her mother was mentally ill and, for financial reasons, he was unable to provide for her.
    •The Family friend who was able to get the US visa for Simone, have kept her passport and the family never have the chance to see the passport nor aware of what kind the visa was that issue to Simone.
    • The emergency room where she went after she left the Paulins’ house reported that there were NO sign of abuse. There were no bruises, nor marks on her body. Since she complained that she was not feeling well, they gave her a Motrin and she went to her journey.
    • An HRS agent who came over the Paulins’ house reported there were NO sign of ABUSE and advised the family not to send her back to Haiti because if was unsafe to do so due the political turmoil.(It’s all on paper)
    • The court brought in an officer from Dade County school system. The Defense has asked the agent “based on the paper in front of you, did the family try to register Simone but the system have turned them down?” The agent replied YES. Then who has failed Simone the Paulin or the system?
    • Several witnesses have come forward. Several teenagers have testified that they have known Simone. They used to play, eat, watch TV and go to the Mall together. Not once, have they seen the family mistreat her, they said in Court.

  2. Pastor of the church has explained that Simone has participated in several of their youth program. She was a happy teenager and when she wanted to attend the youth program at night, she would call them for a ride and they would have one of the parents pick her up.
    • A garment she has purchased at the mall was shown to her during trial. She admitted that she purchased it at the mall when she went to the mall with one of the teenager of the family. So she did go to the mall.
    • Many teenagers came forward and explained to the Court how they used to go to the movies together. One of them precisely said that they have seen “Batman” together
    • Even Momperous the prosecutor’s witness who use to live with the family stated that Simone has never been sequestrated at home nor refrained from going out.
    • Simone deposition she stated she was able to go to south beach, and had boyfriends.
    • Slavery and Harboring for profit – can you please define these charges? Does this sound like this teenager was abused or did the family have her working for others and kept the money? There was not one witness who came forward saying that they used to pay the Paulins for service rendered by Simone.

  3. Now that Simone have a child, should we say once again the system have been used. Simone will get her green card or her U visa she been granted.

  4. Pingback: Case Updates: Simone Celestin, Nona and Samirah «

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