London

African woman 'kept as slave' in Harrow

An African woman was kept as a slave at the home of an ex-hospital director in London for four years, a court heard.

Mwanahamisi Mruke was flown from Tanzania in October 2006 and made to work an 18-hour day carrying out chores for Saeeda Khan, 68, jurors were told.

Southwark Crown Court heard Miss Mruke, 47, was denied her passport and liberty and endured the ordeal to support her daughter through college in Africa.

Khan, of Whitmore Road, Harrow, north-west London, denies people trafficking.

'Modern-day slavery'

In a police interview Miss Mruke said she was expected to work from 6am until midnight cooking, cleaning, gardening, and accompanying Ms Khan's disabled son on walks, often in the middle of the night.

The jury also heard she had to sleep on the kitchen floor despite undergoing an operation on varicose veins in her leg.

Miss Mruke said she was paid £120 for her first year's work and received no pay for the following three years.

A total of 50,000 Tanzanian shillings (£20) was sent to her daughter each month for two years, the court heard.

Prosecutor Caroline Haughey said: "Deprived of her passport, communication with her family and her liberty, it is only right that the conditions she existed under with Saeeda Khan be described as modern-day slavery, exploitation, domestic servitude and abuse."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites