London News & Search
Slavery in London may be hidden in dark corners, but it is nevertheless present.
Authorities believe there are tens of thousands living in modern slavery conditions today in the UK.
The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner defines it as “a serious crime in which individuals are exploited for little or no pay. Exploitation includes, but is not limited to, sexual exploitation, forced or bonded labour, forced criminality, domestic servitude and the removal of organs”.
Since the Modern Slavery Act came in in 2015, prosecutions are on the rise. These three shocking cases illustrate the extent of slavery on the capital’s streets.
THE 29-year-old hit the headlines after her husband became the first person in Britain to be jailed for keeping his wife as a slave.
Ms Iram, whose marriage to Safraz Ahmed was arranged in Pakistan in 2012, was tortured for 18 months before raising the alarm.
She was beaten regularly and feared for her life as she endured an existence of “violence, intimidation, aggression and misery”.
Ahmed, of Charlton, told her he had married her so she could “look after his mother and his house”.
When, in desperation, Ms Iram took an overdose of painkillers, she was told to be sick before being taken to a wedding, rather than a hospital.
Ahmed was jailed for two years at Woolwich crown court in 2016 after being convicted of holding a person in servitude and assault causing actual bodily harm.
In a victim impact statement, Ms Iram said: “Because the beatings happened regularly and for such small things I felt worthless.
“I was not allowed to do what I wanted to do, I was never allowed to step out of the house alone and I was not allowed to make friends.
“I felt like their prisoner. I cooked, I cleaned, I washed, I ironed, looked after other people’s children and when things were not to the liking of the family I was punished by beatings.
Katie Morgan Davies
Police say Katy Morgan-Davies was the victim of the “worst case of modern-day slavery ever uncovered in Britain”.
She was born and raised for 30 years inside a Maoist cult in Brixton, led by her father Aravindan Balakrishnan, inset left. He was jailed last year for 23 years for false imprisonment and the rape of another woman.
Balakrishnan, 76, called himself Comrade Bala and brainwashed his followers into thinking he had god-like powers. Southwark crown court heard that he convinced them he could read their minds.
During his trial, Ms Morgan-Davies, 34, pictured, said she was beaten and banned from singing nursery rhymes, going to school or making friends.
She had been brainwashed to believe her own behaviour was to blame for natural disasters such as earthquakes, calling the situation “horrible, so dehumanising and degrading”.
She said: “I used to think ‘God, if the whole world is going to be like this, what way out is there? How am I going to live? I cannot live in this.’
“So I used to think that the best way would be to die.”
When she finally managed to escape the cult in 2013 after memorising the number of an anti-slavery charity she saw on the news, she had the social skills of a six-year-old. She was unable to cross the road or use basic appliances.
The judge said Balakrishnan had treated his daughter like “an experiment”, adding: “Your treatment of her from her birth to the age of 26 was a catalogue of mental and physical abuse.”
Ofonime Sunday Inuk
The 41-year-old was just 14 and an orphan when he was lured away from Nigeria with the promise of a better life in London.
But as soon as the teenager set foot inside the west London home of NHS doctor Emmanuel Edet and his wife, he was enslaved.
His passport was confiscated and for more than two decades he was forced to work 17 hours a day, cooking, cleaning and helping to raise the couple’s sons, with his bed a thin foam mattress in the hallway of the Perivale property.
Edet, 62, and his wife, Antan, 59, were sentenced to six years in prison each in 2015 after being convicted of cruelty to a child under 16, servitude and assisting unlawful immigration.
Mr Inuk, now 41, became scared of the couple after realising they would not pay him or send him to school.
But with no official paperwork, no money and nowhere else to go, he had no choice but to stay.
In a police interview, he said he was known as a “house boy”, adding: “My role is to stay in the house … I always do everything in the house, sir … clean, cook, wash car, the gardening, ironing … or maybe like a slave. That’s called slavery.”
Mr Inuk, who has suffered psychological trauma as a result of his mistreatment, was finally rescued after hearing the name of a slavery charity on the radio one day and managing to contact them.
He said: “I just worked from when I woke up to when I went to bed.
“I’m not going to get my life back, it’s gone now.”
London News & Search