A Nigerian doctor, Emmanuel Edet and his wife, Antan, has been charged before a West London court after it was discovered that the couple had enslaved a man, Ofonmbuk Sunday Inuk, against his will from the age of 13, for 24 years before he finally managed to escape from them and inform police, reports the Daily Mail Online.
Dr Edet was also accused of human trafficking after he smuggled Inuk into the UK as child. when he was just 13 years old.
The court also heard that Edet demanded to be called ‘master’ and repeatedly beat his victim and subjected him to a life of misery for all of the 24 years.
Edet, 60, and his wife 58-year-old wife, a senior hospital nurse, are also accused of stripping the 39-year-old Inuk of his passport and making him work up to 17 hours a day.
The online paper reports that Inuk who is an orphan went to live with the Edets in Nigeria when he lost his parents when he was 13 and they smuggled him into the UK and since then, had been using him as a slave until he managed to escape.
When Inuk confronted couple in court for the first time, he described how he suffered in their household as they made him sleep on the kitchen floor was barred from using many rooms except to clean them.
He described how he was scared of the couple after realising they would not pay him or send him to school.
In a police interview, Inuk 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.”
He told police that his ordeal began when he was taken under the wing of the Edet family at the age of 12.
He was the oldest of eight children. His family had fallen into poverty when his father died and he willingly went to work for the Edets in Lagos, Nigeria, being paid £2 or £3 a month.
A short time later the family moved to Israel and then, when he was 14, to Britain. They brought him into the country by changing his name to their surname and falsely adding him to their passports, it is alleged.
Roger Smart, prosecuting, said Inuk slept on the kitchen floor on a dirty foam mattress thrown out by a hospital. He was expected to get up first and begin cleaning the house, but was told to sweep instead of using a vacuum cleaner because it was too noisy.
Inuk was also forced to wash clothes by hand because the Edets said it was too expensive to run the washing machine.
He always ate by himself, kept his few possessions in a single bag and was not allowed to sit in the front room or go upstairs.
“The couple, to all intents and purposes owned him, controlling nearly every aspect of his life down to his very name.
Over a period in excess of 20 years, they have deprived him of his identity, his rights to education and freedom of movement and the money he should have received. He has no means of returning to Nigeria. He was entirely dependent on them.
At one stage, he tried to undertake a college course in computer skills but the Edets stopped him.
When he did not meet their exacting standards, they hit him and punched him – he recalls this particularly clearly in relation to his trying to apply for college.”
Dr Edet, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, and his wife are being prosecuted under modern anti-slavery legislation.