Modern Day Slavery: Shyima's Story

On April 9, 2002, 16 months after Shyima first arrived at the Ibrahim household, someone called in an anonymous tip. Detective Tracy Jacobson followed up with a visit to the house. Jacobson found a very frightened Shyima and brought her to a protective home for abused children.

"I believe she thought she was being arrested," Jacobson said. "Later on, I learned that Shyima had been told if she went outside that the police would arrest her and take her to jail."

At first she was scared, and only repeated what the Ibrahims had instructed her to say if she were ever discovered. But eventually, she confided to Jacobson about her life as a slave.

Happily Ever After?

On the same day Jacobson freed Shyima, Nasser Ibrahim was arrested at his home. Nearly five years later Nasser and his wife Amal pleaded guilty to two federal slavery charges: conspiracy and harboring an illegal alien. Nasser was sentenced to three years in prison, and Amal was sentenced to 22 months.

Shyima was placed in foster care and taken in by Chuck and Jenny Hall, who invited her into their home, adopted her, and became the loving family she never had.

Shyima now attends school and speaks English. Once a hidden slave, she is now a typical American teenager: She recently got her driver's license, runs track at school, and attended the senior prom this past spring.

Shyima's escape from her life as a servant is the happily ever after many hidden slaves in America never get.

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