Metropolitan Police apologises for delay in helping a Nigerian man held as slave for over 15 years

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Emmanuel Edet and his wife Antan

A Nigerian man held as a slave in Perivale London for nearly a quarter of a century has told how Metropolitan police turned him away when he first asked them for help.

Metropolitan Police sorry for delay in helping man held as slave, It took Ofonime Sunday Inuk 15 years to report his captors in 2004 only for police to say they could not help him as it was a “family matter,” he said. Mr Inuk finally managed to escape with the help of the Met in March 2014. 

The force said it was “really regrettable” it had missed earlier opportunities to help Mr Inuk. Emmanuel Edet, a trained doctor who worked for Surrey County Council and his wife Antan, a nurse at Ealing Hospital, were sentenced to six years in prison for ill treating a young person, holding him in servitude and assisting unlawful immigration. 

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The Edets’ notes on the victim’s chores

They brought Mr Inuk to the UK from Nigeria in 1989 when he was a teenager by promising him an education in return for paid work cleaning the house, cooking and caring for their children, but instead treated him as a slave and forced him to work up to 17 hours a day at their home in Perivale, Ealing.

In order to get him through immigration they changed his name and added it to their family passport.

Mr Inuk, who is now 40 said: “I was so happy, thinking it would change my life, but I was just a person’s property,” he told BBC London’s home affairs correspondent Nick Beake in an exclusive interview. “I wanted to commit suicide, I couldn’t bear it.” 

After 15 years he reported his intolerable situation to the metropolitan police

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The slave was made to clean the house

“They didn’t help me.” “They told me that if I wanted to report them [his captors] they would have to come to the house. The Edets would have turned me out and I would have got myself in trouble.” When he told the Metropolitan police the Edets had confiscated his passport, he said: “They told me there was nothing they could do” because it was a “family matter”.

He was encouraged to seek help from the police a second time in 2013 after hearing about a slavery case on the radio and Met detectives finally helped him to escape nine years after he first contacted them.

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The foam that the victim was forced to sleep on in the hallway

Det Ch Insp Phil Brewer of the Metropolitan Police trafficking and kidnapping unit said: “It’s really regrettable that happened.” He said the Metropolitan police  now worked with many organisations and local authorities to help prevent similar scenarios occurring where “people are not listened to or not believed.”