'Slave' says she only slept an hour a night

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Sat, 20 Feb 2021, 2:55PM
The court heard the alleged slave had to care for the couple's three children, cook, fold clothes and allegedly was not paid. Photo / Supplied
The court heard the alleged slave had to care for the couple's three children, cook, fold clothes and allegedly was not paid. Photo / Supplied

'Slave' says she only slept an hour a night

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Sat, 20 Feb 2021, 2:55PM

A woman allegedly kept as a slave in Melbourne for eight years claims she only slept an hour a night, felt helpless and survived on tea and rice, a court heard.

She detailed the allegations in a recorded interview from a hospital bed that was aired in Victoria's Supreme Court on Friday.

A Mount Waverley couple, who cannot be named, are fighting charges of intentionally possessing a slave and intentionally exercising the right of ownership over a slave between 2007 and 2015.

"What can I do, helpless," the alleged victim said through an interpreter in the recording.

"I came here for money, so I have to obey and do whatever I was told to do."

She said in the recording her family in India was sent some money but she never received a salary from the pair.

The woman also said she only slept for "one hour" and wasn't able to rest.

"No rest, I could not even sit," she said.

The woman said the couple would leave for an overseas trip every year and lock her in the house, the court heard.

If she ran out of food when the couple and their children were away she said she would drink tea and cook rice.

The woman, who is now in her 60s, said her son-in-law made the arrangement with the couple that she would be paid to look after their children when she came to Australia in 2007.

She had been to Australia twice before and was returned home before she was allegedly enslaved on her third trip.

The court heard her situation was uncovered when the woman was rushed to hospital in a serious condition in July 2015.

She had sepsis, weighed 40kg and her temperature was just 28.5C.

Prosecutors allege the couple had such a level of control over the woman's rights and freedoms that it amounted to slavery.

The court heard they allegedly controlled her right to communicate with others, freedom of movement and her rights to healthcare and payment for work.

But lawyers for the pair have denied the allegations.