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Feds seek 9-year prison term for African man convicted in Michigan forced child labor case

Prosecutors are seeking at least nine years in prison for an African man who was convicted of forcing children to work as slaves at his Ypsilanti home.

The government also is asking a judge to order Jean-Claude Toviave to pay two of the children $60,000 each. Four victims last fall told jurors that Toviave, a native of Togo, forced them to perform household duties for nearly five years until January 2011.

Toviave will be sentenced Monday in Detroit federal court.

The four children emigrated from Togo in 2006 with fraudulent papers. They said Toviave beat them if they didn't follow his orders. One says he prayed for freedom or death.

In a court filing, defense attorney Randall Roberts acknowledges that Toviave's "family experiment went horribly off the rails."

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