A female doctor has pleaded not guilty to human trafficking and exploitation in what is believed to be the first case against modern slave-keeping to be tried in the UK.
Saeeda Khan, 68, is accused of smuggling Tanzanian national Mwanahanisi Mruke into the country to use her as a slave at her £500,000 home.
The 46-year-old victim was allegedly forced to work around the clock for no money and sleep on a mattress on Khan’s kitchen floor at the house in Harrow, northwest London.
Today Khan denied trafficking people for exploitation at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
She allegedly brought Mruke into the country on October 21, 2006, before paying her £10 each month to slavishly carry out work at the bungalow where she lived with her late husband Zahid.
Police said the payments soon stopped, and the victim was forced to continue cleaning, cooking and gardening for the couple.
She was rescued earlier this year after detectives from the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command, known as SCD9, swooped on the home.
Police had received a tip-off from an anti-slavery charity about Mruke’s situation.
Khan was granted bail until October 25, when she will return to court for a committal hearing.
Trading in slaves was made a criminal offence in the 19th century.
Human rights groups believe more than 1,000 people – including maids, fruit pickers and factory workers – are forced to work as slaves in the UK.