London

Man jailed for abuse of 'enslaved' woman in London

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Media captionThe victim's passport was taken from her after she reached the UK and she was made to work up to 16 hours a day for 365 days a year

A man has been jailed for 11 years for raping an Indian woman who was treated like a "slave" at his home.

The mother of four, 39, from Hyderabad, was employed in three London households as a nanny and domestic worker.

Enkarta Balapovi, 54, was convicted of five counts of rape at Croydon Crown Court in April.

Co-accused Shashi Obhrai, who was found guilty of assault and making death threats, and Shamina Yousuf, received non-custodial sentences.

Obhrai, 54, an optician from Moor Park in Northwood, received 18 months for assault and 20 months for threatening to kill. Her sentences were suspended for 20 months and she was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

Yousuf, 33, who was convicted of actual bodily harm, received a community order of 40 hours' unpaid work.

'Sexual toy'

The victim worked for a number of people including Obhrai, the court heard.

Image caption Balapovi, Yousuf and Obhrai were convicted of abusing the woman

She was paid about £2,300 between 2003 and 2006, and was treated as a "sexual toy or general dogsbody", the prosecution said.

Her passport was taken from her after she reached the UK and she was made to work up to 16 hours a day for 365 days a year.

In an impact statement the victim said: "I have had a really bad experience with these people. They have made my life hell. I have suffered with depression and sleepless nights for a very long time.

"They have treated me so badly that I worry at night that they will come for me.

"These people are dangerous they have ruined my life and kept me away from my children. Each should be punished for their wrongdoings."

Human rights charity Liberty said it intended to represent the woman to pursue a civil claim against Hertfordshire Police, who it says failed to protect the woman.

"This was an incredibly serious case of what can only be described as modern day slavery," said Liberty's Corinna Ferguson.

"This was an incredibly vulnerable person who managed to find their way to a police station to make a complaint.

"Our concern is that it wasn't taken seriously. It wasn't properly investigated, but then most importantly the police did take her back to the very person who had been abusing her."

Hertfordshire Police declined to comment.

'Awful case'

Following the sentencing, Det Insp Kevin Hyland of the Metropolitan Police's trafficking and prostitution unit, said: "I hope that the guilty verdicts and sentencing will help the victim to rebuild her life and serve as a warning to other people who would look to exploit individuals in a vulnerable situation."

Image caption The woman was made to sleep on a kitchen floor

Catherine Kenny, from charity Kalayaan, which supports migrant domestic workers, said: "It is beyond belief that such a thing can happen - that somebody can go into their workplace every day and be at risk of being raped by their employer.

"This is a particularly awful case. This woman suffered physical abuse, psychological abuse and rape."

Balapovi, a butcher of Charlbert Street in St John's Wood, his partner Shahnaz Begum, and Obhrai, were found not guilty of trafficking offences on the direction of the judge.

The jury at Croydon Crown Court cleared Aleemuddin Mohammed, 35, of Sefton Avenue, Harrow, of sexual assault and trafficking offences.

The victim first worked for Mr Mohammed and his then wife Yousuf, of Edgware, north London, before moving in with Shahnaz Begum and her partner, Balapovi.

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