A woman lured to the UK believing she would receive a free education and a better life was kept as a slave for more than a decade, a court heard. Afolake Adeniji, 50, is said to have arranged for 27-year-old Iyabo Prosper to fly to London from her home in Nigeria back in 2003, when she was just 13, but subjected her to a campaign of exploitation that left her with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Promised an education that would have eluded her had she stayed in her native village, she came to live with Adeniji and her family – first in Beckton, east London, and then Chelmsford, Essex.
But instead she was forced to wake up at 5.30am each morning to get Adeniji’s children ready for school before spending the rest of her day cleaning the house, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The jury was told Ms Prosper could only eat her dinner once she had fed Adeniji and then spent the rest of her evening finishing off the household chores before the process was repeated the following day.
‘She was completely submissive to the defendant and her family and any confidence she had was lost and ebbed away, said prosecutor Irshad Sheikh. ‘It soon became apparent that Iyabo had become miserable, had become extremely depressed, was having negative thoughts and suicidal ideas.’
Mr Sheikh told the court that ‘because of the ordeal at the hands of the defendant’, who was ‘emotionally and verbally abusive’ she went on to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
As she grew older, the worker ‘plucked up the courage’ to leave the household and report her treatment to the police before Adeniji was arrested in October 2014.
She now stands trial accused of arranging or facilitating Ms Prosper’s travel to the UK with a view to exploiting her and inflicting grievous bodily harm in relation to her alleged victim’s anxiety disorder.
Following her arrest in October 2014, Adeniji blasted the accusations as ‘untrue’, instead claiming that Ms Prosper was ‘part of a loving family’ and ‘given financial and emotional support’.
Adeniji, of no fixed abode but previously of Chelmsford, Essex, denies arranging or facilitating the travel to the UK of a person with a view to exploitation and GBH.
The trial continues.