WA couple plead guilty to withholding passport



TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Longview, Wash., couple accused of forcing an 18-year-old woman to serve as their unpaid personal servant have pleaded guilty to document servitude. Federal prosecutors say 29-year-old Edk Kenit and 31-year-old Choimina Lukas recruited the victim from their homeland of Micronesia, brought her to the United States, then took control of her passport as part of their scheme to compel her labor.

The U.S. attorney’s office says the Micronesian couple also obtained a Social Security card in the victim’s name, found her full-time work at a chicken processing plant and forced her to give them her earnings. All the while she was expected to provide child care and cook and clean for them without compensation.

Officials say the scheme lasted nearly a year before the victim escaped in February.

The couple entered their pleas Tuesday in federal court. They each face a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing Oct. 21.