10-year-old girl kept as virtual slave in cellar

A couple trafficked the deaf Pak girl into Britain, raped her and kept her as a slave for nearly a decade, a court heard  

A deaf, Pakistani girl was trafficked to the UK and kept as a virtual slave in a cellar for almost 10 years by an elderly couple, a court was told.

Caged innocence: The 10-year-old girl was made to cook, clean,
wash cars and then forced to sleep down in the cellar. Representation pic

The orphaned youngster from Pakistan, who is profoundly deaf and has no speech, was locked in a cellar each night where she would sleep on a concrete floor and by day was forced to work for no money and was sexually assaulted, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester was told.

Her alleged abusers were Ilyas Ashar (83) and his wife, Tallat Ashar (66) who deny charges of false imprisonment, human trafficking, sexual offences, violence and benefit fraud.

If their alleged victim displeased them she would be forced into their cellar where the girl would "sit there for hours crying and locked in", the court heard.

They kept the girl, now aged between 19 and 21, at their home in Cromwell Road, Eccles in Salford, Greater Manchester, after bringing her into Britain from Pakistan in June 2000, Peter Cadwallader, prosecuting, told the jury.

The victim's true age is not known but it is thought she was aged between 10 and 12 when she came to the UK, allowed in by immigration on the basis she was to work as a domestic servant.

Although supposed to be employed as a domestic help, she was never paid and just given food and lodging, Cadwallader told the jury.

Instead the girl was made to cook, clean, do the washing and ironing for the Ashars and clean the houses and cars of their family and friends, the court heard.

She was also kept in the cellar to work for hours packing football shirts and clothes and mobile phone covers, the jury was told.

"They would be upstairs while she was doing the work," Cadwallader added.

"She was the subject of forced labour in that she was made to work for Ilyas and Tallat Ashar as a domestic servant and do other work for them and members of their family."

"At night the door at the top of the stairs down to the cellar was locked and bolted so she could not get out during the night.

There were no washing or toilet facilities in the cellar so that if she needed to use the bathroom during the night she had to bang on the cellar door in the hope that she was heard and the door opened," said Cadwallader.

The alleged victim had no family or friends in the UK and had never been to school.

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