LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A British couple have been jailed for six years each for keeping a Nigerian immigrant as a slave for more than two decades, a London court clerk said.
Emmanuel Edet, 61, and Antan Edet, 58, were sentenced at Harrow Crown Court in northwest London late on Monday after being found guilty last month of child cruelty, slavery and assisting in illegal immigration.
The couple brought the man to Britain in 1989 when he was 14 years old, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
They told the teenager they would educate and pay him, but they forced him to work long hours for no pay and threatened him with deportation if he tried to escape, prosecutors said.
He received no education and had only very limited contact with his family and the outside world. The couple took his passport, and he had no identity documents, prosecutors said.
The victim, now 40, was forced to cook, clean, garden and care for the couple’s children without any pay for up to 17 hours a day, they said. He had to eat alone and typically slept on the floor of the hall, they said.
Prosecutor Damaris Lakin said the Edets told their captive he would be arrested as an illegal immigrant and deported if he left the house and contacted police.
“He believed this and felt trapped and completely dependent on the Edets,” Lakin said in a statement. “Emanuel and Antan Edet have cruelly robbed this victim of 24 years of his life. They have treated him with complete contempt.”
“This was a shocking case of modern day slavery,” he said.
Prosecutors said the Edets had changed the victim’s name and added him to their family passport as their son when they brought him into Britain.
(Reporting by Magdalena Mis, editing by Tim Pearce.; Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit http://www.trust.org)