A former NHS obstetrician and his wife were sentenced to six years in prison on Monday at the Harrow crown court for kidnapping a Nigerian boy and keeping him as their slave for the past 24 years, according to The Guardian. In 1989, Emmanuel Edet, 61, and his 58-year-old wife Antan of Perivale, north west London told the then 13-year-old Ofonime Sunday Inuk that they would take him to their home in the United Kingdom and pay him to work for them.
The teen agreed, without his parent’s knowledge, to be their “house boy” on the basis that he would also attend school in the U.K., but instead he worked up to 17 hours per day without pay, babysitting the “couple’s two sons, cooking, cleaning and gardening.” The teen never received the things he was promised by the couple, but reporting the incident to the police was out of the question.
NHS doctor Emmanuel Edet and midwife Antan Edet who kept fellow Nigerian ‘houseboy’ as a slave are jailed https://t.co/l7hevBqTpR
— ivowtotheemycountry (@ivowtothee) December 7, 2015
The Edets’ verbal abuse had Inuk terrified to seek help as he was convinced that if he did, he would be arrested for being an illegal immigrant. Therefore, he remained silent for the next 24 years, all while sleeping on a dirty piece of foam in the hallway floor and taking orders from the couple. He was told that he could only speak to them in Nigerian, but when dealing with the Edet’s children, he had to speak to them in English.
Eating with the Edet family was forbidden as well as entering various rooms in the home, unless he was ordered to clean them. Although the couple often called him a parasite and treated him like a slave, he would always do as he was told, including remaining in the home while they went out-of-town for several weeks at a time in lieu of escaping.
But according to the Mirror, Inuk finally broke his silence in December 2013 when he learned about modern slavery while watching television when the Edets were in Nigeria for Christmas. He was able to reach out to a charity called “Hope for Justice” via email from the couple’s home computer, regarding his living conditions. When workers arrived at the home to investigate, they witnessed Inuk’s, who is now almost 40, horrible living conditions. The following March, the couple was arrested.
Before the couple’s sentencing, Judge Arran said to the couple that “He was conditioned to the extent that that he did not ask for what he wanted because he expected his request to be refused. He was paid the occasional pocket money of perhaps $10. He claims that was only at Easter and Christmas, and occasionally visitors would give him larger sums. He most certainly was not paid for the work that he was performing for you.”
“The most serious aspect of your behavior towards him was that it went on for an exceptionally long period of time, robbing him of the opportunity of leading a normal life. He suffered as a result of that treatment and has found it difficult to adjust to a normal life.”
The couple was convicted last month of “cruelty to a child under 16, servitude and assisting unlawful immigration,” and Emmanuel Edet and his wife were sentenced to six years in prison.
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Brewer of the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit stated that “When the victim left Nigeria, he was a young boy with aspirations but the Edets abused him until he became timid, nervous and obedient. They conditioned him to the degree that when we visited him at the Perivale address and tried to lead him into the living room to speak, he became visibly shaken at the thought of breaking the Edets’ rules about going into that room.”
“It was only when he went into the kitchen that he was able to relax and speak openly to police. Today the victim is living a new life in the UK. He has a job, a home with his own bed and freedom to move, and he is studying. While he will never fully overcome what happened during those 24 years, he is determined to make the most of the rest of his life and today’s conviction will help him feel he can do that. In his own words, he has hope and a future now.”
After Inuk came forward, the CEO at Hope for Justice, Ben Cooley, stated, “He was very courageous to come forward when he did. To all those others still out there I say: please have the confidence to come forward, we will do all that we can to help you.”
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