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Well-to-do London couple abducted boy from Nigeria and made him their slave for 24 years

Dr Emmanuel Edet engaged in charity work for children in the developing world, while keeping a Nigerian “house boy” trapped in his home.
Nov 18th 2015, 10:12 PM 37,554 38

CO211-14Montage Dr Emmanuel Edet and Antan Edet. Source: Met Police

A COUPLE IN the London suburb of Ealing have been convicted of enslaving a 37-year-old man for almost a quarter of a century, after kidnapping him from Nigeria when he was just 13.

Emmanuel Edet, 61, a phlebotomist, and his wife Antan Edet, 58, a senior nurse, were convicted this week of holding a person in slavery or servitude, child cruelty, and assisting unlawful immigration, at Harrow Crown Court.

In 1989, the couple brought their 13-year-old victim back to England, against his family’s wishes, and made him their “house boy”, in return for the promise of pay and free schooling.

Instead, the Edets inflicted a decades-long regime of abuse and control, subjecting the boy to 17-hour work days at their five properties, while excluding him from even entering certain rooms in their home on Haymill Close, in Perivale.

Without any pay, their victim was forced to cook, clean and look after the couple’s children, but was forbidden to ever eat with the family, and could never step inside the living room, unless he was cleaning it.

CO211-14NotesCROPPED Source: Met Police

Notes found in their kitchen indicate a strictly-implemented schedule for polishing floors, and cleaning air conditioners, and ceiling fans, among other tasks.

While his Nigerian slave endured gruelling work hours and cruel treatment at home, Dr Emmanuel Edet presented himself as something of a pillar of the local community, and even performed charity work for, of all groups, children in the developing world.

As “International Specialist” at the Ealing Rotary Club, he appears to have coordinated the group’s contributions to Mary’s Meals – a non-profit group which provides school meals to poverty-stricken children throughout the world.

edetealing Source: Ealing Rotary Club via Facebook

At his home, his victim was forced to sleep on a dirty piece of foam in the hallway.

According to a statement from the Metropolitan Police, the Edets used threats and intimidation to control the man for the last two decades.

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.

edetsbed A hallway mattress, where the victim slept, along with some bare bedding and a piece of foam. Source: Met Police

In the end, however, he found it within himself to reach out for help.

During Christmas 2013, the couple returned to Nigeria, leaving their “house boy” under remote CCTV surveillance for several weeks.

Having seen some media coverage of “modern slavery”, he took the risk of using the home computer to email the Hope for Justice charity, who informed police.

An investigation was started, and the Edets were arrested and charged on 6 March 2014.

Yesterday, they were found guilty on all charges.

CO211-14LivingRoom The family's immaculately polished living room, which their victim was forbidden to enter, except when cleaning it. Source: Met Police

Responding to the conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Phil Brewer outlined the abuse inflicted on the victim, but struck an optimistic note:

The Edets took self-appointed ownership of the victim. They controlled what he wore, what he did and how he spoke for the majority of his life.
When the victim left Nigeria, he was a young boy with aspirations but the Edets abused him until he became timid, nervous and obedient.
They conditioned him to the degree that when we visited him at the Perivale address and tried to lead him into the living room to speak, he became visibly shaken at the thought of breaking the Edets’ rules about going into that room.

However, the 37-year-old Nigerian now has a paid job, an apartment of his own, is pursuing an education, and has “hope and a future.”

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.

Read: Life sentence for woman who kept disabled people in a ‘dungeon’ and collected their welfare>

Read: Major investigation by The Guardian lays bare ‘modern slavery’ on Irish fishing trawlers>

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Dan MacGuill

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