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In UK Nigerian couple jailed for 12 years on enslavement charges

A Nigerian couple, Doctor Emmanuel Edet and his wife Antan were sentenced to 12 years in prison for holding a man in enslavement for 25 years.

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Doctor Emmanuel Edet and his wife Antan play

Doctor Emmanuel Edet and his wife Antan

(Linda Ikeji)

A Nigerian couple, Doctor Emmanuel Edet and his wife Antan were sentenced to 12 years in prison for holding a man in enslavement for 25 years.

The Metropolitan police said that this judgement came on Monday, December 7, 2015. The couple were charged on the offence that they have been subjecting a person called Inuk to enslavement for 25 years.

The couple took the victim from his home country, Nigeria, to the UK without his family's permission in 1989, when he was 13 years old. He agreed to be their "house boy" on the basis that he would be paid and receive schooling, but they made him carry out arduous, unpaid labour for 24 years.

He was forced to work for around 17 hours every day at their homes in Chatham, Scarborough, Walsall, Northolt and Perivale. The Edets kept notes on the standard of his work, which included rigorous cleaning, caring for their two children and cooking for the family.

They verbally abused him, calling him a "parasite", and convinced him that if he went to the police, he would be arrested for being an illegal immigrant.

The Edets controlled the victim so effectively that even when they left him alone in the house for weeks at a time, he did not run away.

The victim, having recently seen media reports about modern slavery, realised the life he was being made to lead was wrong and emailed the charity 'Hope for Justice' from a computer at the house.

Hope for Justice referred the matter to the MPS Trafficking and Kidnap Unit (TKU) on 19 December, and the next day detectives helped him leave and get specialist support. The unit carried out a lengthy investigation, including a number of sensitive interviews with the victim. They subsequently arrested and charged the Edets on 6 March 2014.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Brewer of the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit said, "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."

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