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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

EXPLOITATION OF A TANZANIAN WOMAN LANDS DOCTOR IN COURT


  • Victim 'fed just two slices of bread a day and slept on the floor'
  • 'Slave' claims she was forced to work 18 hours per day

A retired doctor trafficked an African woman into the UK and kept her as a 'modern day slave' for more than three years, a court heard today.

Saeeda Khan, 68, forced Mwanahamisi Mruke to sleep on the kitchen floor of her suburban London home and made her work from 5am until 11pm, jurors heard.

After bringing her into the country from Tanzania, she initially gave her an allowance of just £10 a month, before ceasing to pay her altogether, prosecutors said.

Accused: Saeeda Khan
'Modern day slave': Mwanahanisi Mruke

MWANAHAMISI MRUKETO



Khan fed her two slices of bread a day and kept her at her beck and call by ringing a bell she kept in her bedroom, Southwark Crown Court heard.

It is further claimed she stopped Miss Mruke, 47, leaving the house in Harrow, north west London, monitored her calls to her family and prevented her attending her parents' funerals.

Prosecutor Caroline Haughey told Southwark Crown Court that Miss Mruke worked at a hospital in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania on the East African coast, which Kahn owned.

Khan offered her the chance to move to the UK as a domestic servant, telling her she would work six hours a day.

It was agreed that Miss Mruke's daughter in Tanzania would be paid 120,000 Tanzanian Shillings a month: equivalent to £50, while she herself would receive a £10 allowance in London.

But although the arrangement was initially honoured following her arrival in the UK in October 2006, Khan stopped paying after the first year.

The daughter received 50,000 Tanzanian Shillings a month for the first two years, but those payments came to an end after that.


    Meanwhile in London, Miss Mruke herself was made subject to conditions which Miss Haughey said amounted to slavery.

    She 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.'

    The court heard that the victim's plight was only discovered when she went to see doctor for an examination of her varicose veins.

    Even then, Khan continued to shout at her in the medical centre car park, in front of a Swahili interpreter, who raised concerns about what she had seen to the authorities.

    Ms Haughey told the jury: 'In effect, we say that the conduct of Saeeda Khan outside the surgery demonstrated clearly that she considered Mwanahanisi Mruke as property, a chattel, and certainly not a human being.'

    The court heard police officers raided Khan's home on February 11 last year, and discovered the conditions Miss Mruke was living in.

    Miss Smaller said: 'She told the interpreter that she was sleeping in the floor of the kitchen.

    'She pointed out a thin mattress and some sheets rolled up in the hallway.'

    Khan, from Harrow, denies trafficking a person into the United Kingdom for exploitation between October 21, 2006, and February 11 this year.

    The charge alleges that she arranged Miss Mruke's arrival in the UK intending to exploit her in this country.

    The trial continues.




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