Imported Wife Abused & Enslaved

Unprecedented case sees Londoner face jail time for domestic servitude

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CHARGED: Safraz Ahmed

In a milestone case, a Londoner is facing jail after enslaving his wife, a Pakistani national, in his British home.

Safraz Ahmed, of Charlton, initially denied the offence but later changed his plea to guilty.

Safraz, who refused to consummate the marriage, told his wife her presence was solely to bring his parents happiness.

Charged with conspiracy to hold a person in domestic servitude, the 34-year-old faces jail time following sentencing at Woolwich Crown Court.

The unprecedented case is the first time in Britain for a conviction of slavery to be passed in a case involving a husband and wife.

In 2006 Safraz and Sumara Iram wedded as part of an arranged marriage set in Pakistan’s city of Gujrat.

However, Sumara didn’t join her husband in Britain until 2012, having decided to complete her masters in Islamic Studies before she moved.

Upon reuniting with her husband in the home he shared with her mother-in-law, Sumara was made to complete a never-ending list of chores.

Sometimes forced to work from dawn until midnight, she often received vicious beatings.

Sometimes forced to work from dawn until midnight, she often received vicious beatings. She was imprisoned inside the house and threatened with rape should she ever set foot outside it. To further isolate her, her mobile was also confiscated.

She also suffered humiliation at the hand of her British Pakistani husband, who would make her wash in the garden.

Safraz, who refused to consummate the marriage, told his wife her presence was solely to bring his parents happiness.

After two years of abuse and slavery, neighbours became suspicious of the goings-on in the Ahmed household.

Following a brutal attack which saw Safraz break her nose, Sumara fled into the street where neighbours witnessed the injured woman being dragged back into her house.

Though the police were called, Sumara’s inability to speak English meant she wasn’t able to place a formal complaint about her husband, who was released from custody.

She was imprisoned inside the house and threatened with rape should she ever set foot outside it.

Half a year after the assault, she attempted to take her own life by overdosing on painkillers.

Following the failed suicide attempt, she was placed in her brother-in-law’s house “for safe-keeping”, where she finally phoned the police, who came to her rescue.

She claims that the experience, which has caused her to suffer from post-traumatic stress, has “ruined her life”.

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