Beaten up for loyalty in a strange country
15th February 2011: In what can be termed as nothing less than exploitation of the young innocents, a case of migrant children working as domestic help has come to the fore. This follows the conviction of a woman at Isleworth Crown Court “for her role in keeping trafficked children as domestic servants and assisting with illegal immigration”.
The case has once again underscored the appalling conditions so many migrant children come face to face with after being brought to the UK.
Taking note of the incident, the UK Border Agency assistant director Julie Reene said: ‘This was a truly shocking case in which vulnerable children were trafficked into the UK and treated appallingly”.
Asserting that the victims were being exploited in the most terrible ways, she made it clear this would not be taken lightly. `We will continue to work closely with the police and other law enforcement partners to prevent and prosecute this kind of awful crime,’ Reene asserted.
Giving details, the UKBA said: `In early 2009, a 23-year-old woman (victim A) attended a police station and made historic allegations that she had been brought to the UK in early 1997, abused and exploited as cheap childcare until 2006 by Lucy Adeniji.
`Under interview on 15 April 2009 by officers from Operation Paladin, a joint Metropolitan Police Service and UK Border Agency team, victim A further stated that at the age of 11 years old, in December 1997, she was brought to the UK by a man she knew as ‘Kenny’ and placed in the Adeniji household, where her role was to care for the four children, in particular their disabled daughter.
`Victim A stated that she was not enrolled in school nor registered with a doctor, denied friends and regularly verbally abused and beaten by Adeniji.
`In 2000, the Adeniji family moved to the USA and victim A was sent to live elsewhere until they returned in November 2003. On her return to the Adeniji household, victim A found that the Adeniji’s had a further house girl (victim B) living with them and that a boy (victim C) had also been used as a houseboy but had run away.
`Victim A describes life back in the Adeniji household as volatile and she was regularly beaten and verbally abused by Adeniji. Victim A described a number of assaults to police, one particular assault in April 2006 was described in detail whereby Adeniji repeatedly hit her with a stick following an argument over a fish meal, to the extent that victim A fell to the floor unconscious and was then kicked in the head by Adeniji. Victim A states that victim B witnessed this assault, and then told her that Adeniji was going to kill her.
`At around the same time as the alleged assault and threat, a pastor at church gave a sermon about parental responsibility and childcare. Victim A told police that this spurred her on to leave the house and she ran away to stay with friends.
`Metropolitan Police Service, Detective Inspector Gordon Valentine, from Operation Paladin, said: ‘At just 11 years old, a time when any child should rightfully be at school, this poor young girl was forced to feed her keepers’ children, wash their clothes and do the household cleaning, with little or no access to the outside world. Not only this, but she was in a strange country and beaten for her loyalty.’
The UKBA added: `On 19 May 2009, Adeniji’s home address was searched by police and she was arrested on suspicion of trafficking for the purpose of domestic servitude. During interview she admitted knowing victim A was Nigerian and that she had lived with her after entering the UK at an age she believed to be 16 years old.
`She denied any ill treatment of victim A. She further admitted having a Nigerian boy victim C live with her for two years, who she had "adopted" as her son, after he was "willed" to her by another man.
`Adeniji admitted obtaining a British Passport for victim C by claiming that he was her son. She was further arrested for both obtaining a passport by deception and facilitating illegal immigration during the interview.
`Follow-up enquiries uncovered a number of identity and travel documents suggesting that Adeniji had falsely registered eight individuals as British citizens. They also indicated that Adeniji had been present on flights from Nigeria to facilitate the entry of both victims B and C into the UK. She was bailed and returned on 8 April 2010, where she was charged and she will be sentenced on 18 March 2011.
Click here to learn more on the ‘ARTICLE 4 NO SLAVERY OR FORCED LABOUR ‘ of the Human Rights Act, on the Liberty website.