Indian Woman Reportedly Held As Slave By Australian Husband And Wife For Eight Years
A married couple from Australia have been charged with intentionally possessing a slave after an Indian woman was found in their home in a pool of her own urine.
The husband and wife, from Mount Waverley, appeared in Victoria’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 10, where they were accused of usurping the woman’s right to proper care as they kept her at their home between 2007 and 2015.
Identified only by the pseudonyms ‘KK and KK’, the couple denied the charges, which also included intentionally exercising the right of ownership over a slave.
At the court hearing, the Supreme Court was told that the couple had met the woman while visiting the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Following their initial meeting, the woman visited Australia twice to work for the couple before returning home to India each time.
She reportedly returned to Australia for a third visit in July 2007 and did not leave for eight years, during which time her tourist visa expired, meaning she was in the country illegally. Per ABC News, the woman was responsible for caring for the couple’s three children, as well as cooking and folding clothes.
Prosecutor Richard Maidment said the woman was not paid properly for her work, commenting:
The origins of the whole arrangement were that [the victim] would be paid.
She worked very hard. During the whole of the eight years … she’ll say to you that all she received by the way of payment in Australia were the odd $5 or $10 note here and there that might have been given to her on her birthday.
Maidment further alleged that KK and KK ‘interfered’ with the woman’s freedoms of choice, movement and communication. Contact with her family in India became more intermittent, while requests to return the woman to her family were said to be met by the couple with hostility, with the wife allegedly saying in one email, ‘Get f*cked.’
The prosecutor said, ‘Each of them exercised such a degree of control over fundamental rights and freedoms … as to constitute a state of slavery.’
In July 2015, the wife found the woman collapsed on the bathroom floor of the home in a pool of her own urine. Paramedics who responded found her shivering, weighing just 40kg (6st 2lbs) and with a body temperature of 28.5 degrees Celsius.
She was said to be in an ’emaciated condition’, with Maidment claiming she had great difficulty getting medical and dental services while living with the couple. She reportedly had no teeth, and the wife claimed told police she ‘pulled them out’ herself after they started to wobble.
Upon being interviewed by police in hospital, the woman said she was not allowed to talk to investigators without the wife present.
The prosecutor commented, ‘She feared that [the accused] would not return her to India and would not pay her the money she was owed for the work she had done.’
Defence lawyer Gideon Boas argued that the alleged victim was an ‘integrated member of the family’, and claimed the couple referred to her using the Tamil word for ‘grandmother’, The Australian reports.
He further claimed that the woman was given clothes, and that her accommodation, food and needs were provided for.
The trial is expected to continue for at least six weeks.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Most Read StoriesMost Read