Follow Us

Swazi slavery here in Georgia

Saw this news report. A Georgia couple apparently conned a Swazi lady to be their slave. Honestly. I don’t even know what to say.   ATLANTA — An Ellenwood minister and his wife were arrested and charged after authorities said they made a woman work for them and their friends for littl…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Saw this news report. A Georgia couple apparently conned a Swazi lady to be their slave. Honestly. I don’t even know what to say.
An Ellenwood minister and
his wife were arrested and charged after authorities said they made a
woman work for them and their friends for little or no money.
Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents
arrested Juna Gwendolyn Babb, 54, and her minister husband, Michael J.
Babb, 53, on Wednesday.Officials said the Babbs enticed a woman
to come to the United States from the Kingdom of Swaziland, Africa, by
falsely promising her a lucrative, short-term opportunity to provide
catering at a family member’s wedding.
Once the victim arrived in
the U.S., authorities said the couple made her their housekeeper and
nanny through threats of arrest and imprisonment. Officials said the
Babbs confiscated her passport and return airline ticket and told the
victim she owed them for the costs of her travel.
The couple
allegedly required the victim to clean the homes of their friends and
associates, and to assist with Michael Babb’s construction business,
authorities said.
The indictment alleges that the defendants
required the victim to work long hours every day of the week, for which
the victim was grossly underpaid on the few occasions that she was paid
at all.”Many people are unaware that this form of modern day
slavery still occurs in the United States,” said Kenneth Smith, Special
Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office
of Investigations in Atlanta. “The defendants in this case used the
victim’s desire for a better life to lure her into a situation where
she was deprived of her basic human rights,” said Smith.
Babbs were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy,
forced labor, document servitude, which is confiscating someone’s
passport and visa, and harboring an alien for financial gain.Bond was set at $20,000.

Comments (20)

  • This disgusts me. I don’t know what to say, either, Seth, but my mind is going crazy fantasizing of what I would do to this couple if I were in charge of their punishment. Not feeling much grace towards them, only justice.

  • This reminds me of Ron Hall & Denver Moore’s Same Kind of Different As Me. Incredulous to know this can happen in today’s society. I am relating with Gabe’s reply above.

  • The fact that these people were ministers is what bothers me most…I presume they r Xian ministers b/c if they were of a diff religion that would have been stated 2 make that religion look bad…so the next time someone approaches this Swazi woman about Xianity she is gonna say no freakin thank you…and rightfully so…which makes me extremely skeptical these days of tying the one true God to any religion. I have seriously thought long and hard about unclaiming Xianity & this is another push in that direction! ūüôĀ

  • Christi, I am also avoiding the label of being a “christian” these days as things with that label seem to be going adrift.

    I go back to Jesus teaching where He says ” if you do not love me more than your own life you are not fit to be my disciple”.

    So I tell people I have met many “Christians” but rarely do I meet Disciples.Those that ive shared the gospel with are much more ready to listen if they understand that most of what they have seen of “christians” might not always be the true gospel.Satan is very clever in trying to peddle a false gospel that is like an inoculation of the real thing.

    As far as the slavery is concerned it is aweful but not surprising. I think in these last days and the ready access to media we are going to start hearing more and more of how human nature is becoming so corrupt an degrading.

    My prayers are for that woman who was enslaved.

  • Sad… but true. This is SO common in the States! The focus is a lot on sex trafficking, but domestic servitude is a greater part of trafficking Stateside.

  • What the heck?!?!?!?! Seth, this couple should be sentenced to years at the check points, feeding the orphans daily and then and only then being allowed to eat. This is one of the reasons that people are leaving the churches…..appalling!

  • I’m shaking my head. This is deplorable! I went to the man’s website and it “appears” that he has a legitimate Christian ministry!

    I went to other news sights and read the readers’ follow up comments. As you could imagine, people are making some pretty bad comments about “those Christians”. This is another eyesore for those who are followers of Jesus.

    Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of these cases in our One Nation Under God.

    “Please help us oh God…”

  • Ian – WR Oct. ’08

    Makes me sigh and shake my head, but it’s good and necessary for people to know that this plague on the earth is much closer to home than we think. Might spur some into action. We’re begging, Jesus.

  • I am saddened that Christians are so quick to condemn others and much more so when the allegations are against other Christians. I am amazed that the work one does for Christ provides no boost when his character is questioned.

    I wish someone would say “I went to this man’s website and he appears to be a stand up guy and a good Christian. Perhaps this is not true, or it is some kind of mix up.” I believe we should give people the benefit of the doubt, especially if we have no reason to believe he is not a good Christian.

    We don’t know all the facts. What if the alleged “slave” manipulated and used the Christian family she met while they were on a missionary trip to Africa. What if, after she used them up she found herself without a way home or any other resources in the US. What if she then made up this story to get some attention, a free trip home or even a pass to stay in the US? What if?

    Then would you pray for the Christian couple that needs your prayer much more than your premature condemnation. Have we not learned anything from the persecution of our Savior? Society truly doesn’t care about innocence. You would think Christians would be different.

  • @ perfecting my walk

    I think I get where your heart might be…however it doesn’t much matter if we were to go to his site and while we were perusing it came to the conclusion that he appeared to be a stand up guy. ¬†What you appear to be (esp on your own website) and who you are, are often 2 very different things…whether you help perpetuate modern day slavery here in America or not…and a “good” Christian…what the heck is that? ¬†Even Jesus would not allow people to call Him good.

    Have you been to Swaziland? ¬†Have you met the people? ¬†Maybe you have b/c you are commenting on this blog…I don’t know…but it seems to me you are projecting your cynical thoughts about how Americans might behave when you insinuate the level of manipulation and usury you are speaking of here. ¬†These are beautiful people filled w/ a very real hope amidst despair that we would have a very hard time even being able to conceive of. ¬†In many ways they are very culturally different from us. ¬†They have been beaten down and oppressed for so long I doubt they could¬†
    even begin to conjur up a scheme as intricate and elaborate as the one 
    you have proposed here.  

    The Swazi held in slavery here was a woman. ¬†They are most often uneducated, beaten, and sexually used and abused for most of their short life. ¬†Most do not have running water or electricity…would you mind taking a minute to inform me of how you believe that someone raised in those¬†
    conditions could have the time or resources to begin mastermining a plan with the magnitude of which you have presented here.

    Seth, the writer of this blog, is a fairly inteligent guy and because of the nature if his job was probably more involved in finding out about this than you and I know.

    Talk about giving someone the benefit of the doubt…I would like to ask you if you did your research on Seth before you began insinuating the things that you did and ask you the same question you asked this community… Shouldn’t the work one does for Christ provide a boost when one’s character is in question?

    In closing I would like to answer that question and my answer would be probably not. ¬†One can do a lot for Christ…like say casting demons out in his name…and in the end if it doesn’t bring forth good fruit it probably doesn’t mean a whole lot.

    There might not be a whole lot you can do to find out say, the fruit of a commentor like myself…but there is much out there that you can find out about Seth, and not just from his own site either… and he isn’t about to stand trial for holding a slave.

  • I am not sure how to respond to your comment.

    But first I will apologize if I came off as attacking Seth. I did not intend to. I am simply taking up for the couple and admonishing people not to be so quick to judge. I have seen first hand how much baseless accusations can tear apart a good person’s life and no one ever reports the vendication with the same vigur that they report the accusation.

    All I know about Seth is what is on this website which leads me to believe he is a wonderful man and shares the compassion of Christ. But that just supports my point. If there was an allegation about him doing something deplorable wouldn’t you want (and doesn’t he deserve) his works to be considered when evaluating whether he is actually guilty of such a thing?

  • @ perfecting my walk

    I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that your heart was in the right place, and had you picked any other subject to question the “intelligence” on I would have been challenged by your comment…honest.

    That being said…the bulk of your first comment was about doing your research before you begin passing judgement and in so doing I felt that you were insinuateing that Seth had not done his before he posted this. ¬†I thought that was a bit ironic because I felt, had you done your research before you posted you would have seen that AIM, the mission org that Seth began and heads has a big presence in Swaziland via contacts and people. ¬†The AIM headquarters happens to be in Gainesville GA…which happens to be right outside of Atlanta, where the minister and his wife were arrested. ¬†Even if Seth and/or AIM aren’t directly involved with this some how I am pretty sure he did his homework before he publicly announced this.

    Many people who read this blog and esp the ones who commented on this particular post, b/c of the level of outrage, have probably gone on mission trips w/ AIM to Swaziland and knew all of this about AIM and Seth and probably assumed the same thing…Seth did his homework.

    To me it felt like you were insinuating that this post and the ensuing comments were made in ignorance when in fact I assumed b/c of what  you were saying that you were probably pretty unaware of all the background info.

    Also your comments about an alternative scenario were pretty insulting…I can see where you wouldn’t be meaning them as such, but it was obvious you didn’t know much about Swazi people or culture in what you were proposing…plus it is my guess that to ask us here to assume that b/c a guy is a “Christian” he has big potential to be a stand up guy and we could find that out by going to his site while at the same time insinuating that it is also just as likely that because the victim was from another country she might have duped the poor American Christian just isn’t going to go over well on this site (but that is just my opinion and does not reflect those of anyone else)

    Anyway, I wish you the best. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday season…thank you for responding back to me with love…all I was doing by my comments was trying to present another way of looking at things as were you.


  • Oh, and I am also very sorry u have had to witness 1st hand how baseless accusations can tear a person apart and you are correct vindicating a person is never done as vigorously as teraing them down…good point!

    Again, peace!

  • I always welcome debate and thank you for trying to see where my heart is. Honestly I found this site trying to learn more about Swazi people in relation to this incident.

    Perhaps this site was not the forum for my comments.

    God Bless and Happy Holidays.

  • I have learned much from you today in how you responded to me! I too welcome debate, but you are far more gracious!

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap