A modern-day slave passed between three middle-class families during years of horrific abuse is suing a police force that returned her to one of her tormentors.
The terrified and illiterate Indian victim, who was beaten, raped and given out of date food that made her ill, made desperate pleas for help to Hertfordshire police as well as charities and other state agencies. But when officers from the force spoke to her, one of her powerful and well-connected abusers was used as an interpreter.
After she was handed back to her slave master, the victim was attacked, threatened with a knife and told she would be buried in the back garden of their multi-million pound luxury home for spoiling the family name.
The treatment of the 40-year-old woman can be revealed today as three people – a wealthy optician, a butcher and a secretary – were convicted of her abuse that spanned more than three years. During that time that she was passed like a chattel between the families. She was kept a prisoner, given virtually no money and had her passport confiscated. However, when she fled, her pleas went ignored by police and other organisations on at least 12 occasions, according to court documents.
The woman’s ordeal ended only after she was taken in by a migrant workers’ charity and human rights’ group Liberty took up her case.
“Various state agencies failed her… ignoring her repeated pleas for help, not adhering to their own investigative practice and it could be said ignoring the obvious,” Caroline Haughey, counsel for the prosecution, told Croydon Crown Court.
The woman, described as one of society’s most vulnerable people, came to Britain in 2005 to try to make a better life and to send money to her family in Hyderabad. But when she sought help she was threatened by her keepers, rebuffed or failed to make herself understood by authorities. In one case, a professional interpreter told a police officer investigating the case: “She’s telling a lot of lies – it’s common in her country,” the court heard.
Police investigated while she was with three different families but critics say that the incidents did not appear to have been connected.
dailyalternative | alternative news – Raped, beaten, and enslaved for years – and handed back to her tormentors when she went to beg police for help