Husband and wife convicted for keeping a man in slavery for 24 years

17/11/2015

Emanuel Edet, 61, and Antan Edet, 58, were convicted today at Harrow Crown Court for three charges relating to their treatment of a man who was brought into the country illegally at the age of 14 to work as a slave for the defendants.

The victim, who is now 40, was paid nothing for the work he carried out, including looking after the couple's two children, cooking, cleaning and gardening. He was denied access to education and only had very limited contact with his family and the outside world. His passport was taken away from him and he had no identity documents.

The Edets changed the victim's name and added him to their family passport as their son when they first brought him to the UK in 1989. He believed they would pay him for his work as a 'houseboy' and would provide him with an education while he was in the UK.

Damaris Lakin, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "Emanuel and Antan Edet have cruelly robbed this victim of 24 years of his life. They have treated him with complete contempt.

"Not only did the defendants have total psychological control over the victim, but they also had control of his passport and identity documents. He was told by the Edets that if he left the house and reported matters to the police he would be arrested as an illegal immigrant and sent back to Nigeria. He believed this and felt trapped and completely dependent on the Edets.

"The victim's dreams of gaining an education in the UK were destroyed as he realised the Edets had no intention of sending him to school and he was made to work up to 17 hours a day, eat all his meals alone and have no social interaction with the family. He was made to sleep largely on the floor in hallways despite there often being a spare bedroom in the houses where the family lived.

"This was a shocking case of modern day slavery which has no place in our society. I hope that the convictions today give some comfort to the victim and that he can now start rebuilding his life."

Background

Both defendants were convicted of the following charges:

  • Cruelty to a child contrary the Children and Young Persons Act  1933
  • Slavery contrary the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
  • Assisting unlawful immigration contrary to the Immigration Act 1971.