London, UK. Sept 6th: A teen who was lured to the UK with the promise of a ‘free education’ was kept as a slave for more than a decade, a court heard. Job Centre worker Afolake Adeniji, 50, allegedly tricked the now 27-year-old woman into flying to London from her home in Nigeria in 2003, when she was just 13. She was allegedly subjected to a campaign of exploitation that left her with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Promised a better life, she agreed to come and live with Adeniji and her family first in Beckton, East London, and then Chelmsford, Essax. But the teenager was forced to wake up at 5.30am each morning to take care of Adeniji’s children and spend the rest of her day completing menial household chores, jurors heard. The alleged victim claimed she could only eat her dinner once she had fed Adeniji before the routine was repeated the following day, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Irshad Sheikh said: “She was completely submissive to the defendant and her family and any confidence she had was lost and ebbed away. Effectively that was what she was living – the life of domestic servitude. It soon became apparent that [the woman] had become miserable, had become extremely depressed, was having negative thoughts and suicidal ideas.”
Adeniji denies arranging or facilitating the travel of a person to the UK for exploitation and inflicting GBH, ‘namely post-traumatic stress disorder’ upon the teen.
Giving evidence Adeniji told Southwark Crown Court that the alleged victim was ‘making up all these stories’.
Mr Sheikh said: “What I suggest is that [the teen] was brought here to this country to ‘help’ you and do the chores that she has mentioned. That is not correct,’ Adeniji replied, before the prosecutor followed up: “And that is what she did, I would suggest.”
Adeniji answered: “I do not need her to help me. Everything was already in place before she arrived.”
She explained to jurors how she got to know the alleged victim through her older brother, who worked at the home of her lawyer father and her mother, who was employed in local government.
Adeniji refused Mr Sheikh’s suggestion that he too was a ‘houseboy’, instead describing him as ‘like a son to my parents’.
“He was part of the extended family,” she added.
Adeniji said the teen came to live ‘as part of my family’ after her arrival from Nigeria.
She said the teenager had her own bedroom and woke up ‘whenever she wants’.
Adeniji described all household chores being completed on Saturdays with all family members chipping in to help.
She said: “My husband is an early riser, he will have Hoovered the stairs and cleaned the sitting room. By the time we woke up, whatever was left, washing the bathroom – it could be me, [or the alleged victim], it could be anybody – whatever was left we just took it because whatever needs to be done we just did it.”
Adeniji told Southwark Crown Court that the teen was ‘making up all these stories’
Following her arrest in October 2014, Adeniji blasted the accusations as ‘untrue’, instead claiming that the teen was ‘part of a loving family’ and ‘given financial and emotional support’.
Photo: Afolake Adeniji
Describing the time the teen eventually moved out, she added: “There was no fight. There was nothing. It was amicable when she left and she was coming back as she wished, not to help me.”
She added: “I didn’t need anybody to help me do chores and look after the children. All I did was just to help [her].”
Adeniji, of no fixed address but previously of Chelmsford, Essax, denies arranging or facilitating the travel to the UK of a person with a view to exploitation and inflicting GBH.
The trial continues.