Council worker slap servants ‘jest’

A CONSULTANT who works for the council said – during an online debate on the abuse of domestic workers – that servants should be slapped. University of Cambridge educated, Rehana Mohamed, a strategic change management consultant at Brent Council, made the shocking comment on her microblogging Twitter account in response to a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, Britain’s Secret Slaves.

During the programme on Monday night, she posted a number of comments that have drawn furious criticism.

As the programme was on air, Ms Mohamed wrote: ‘Oh this is so self righteous. That b****y maid needs a good slap. Some ppl [sic] here have no idea what it’s like having servants.

‘I’m sorry but being on call 24/7 and not having a day off for months and not being allowed to leave the house DOESN’T make you a slave.

‘Damn right they should get up and make what you want. That’s their job. We never let out female servants for their own safety.’

When the Times called and asked for clarification on the comments, she said they were made ‘in jest, and that’s been acknowledged.’

Sarah Teather, Brent Central MP and Education Minister, said: “This is absolutely unacceptable. Anybody who is working on policy on a council like Brent needs to be sensitive to these issues. I am extremely shocked by these comments. If they are an accurate report the council should ask whether it is appropriate to employ a consultant who holds such views to work in policy for the most ethnically diverse borough in the country.

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“The Dispatches programme raised the very serious issue of abuse of domestic servants in this country.”

The Channel 4 report investigated the suffering of overseas domestic workers brought to the UK, effectively enslaved behind closed doors by rich employers. Many are treated like slaves.

Aidan McQuade, director of charity Anti-Slavery International, said: “Many instances of domestic servitude in this country are forced labour – a classification that includes retention of passports and wages, threat of denunciation and restriction of movement and isolation.”

Yearly, a reported 15,000 domestic workers come to Britain. Many are paid less than �50 a week to work 20-hour days.

Cllr Ann John, leader of Brent Council, said: “It’s joke in poor taste. I am aware that there are trafficked people in our borough.

“To go on tweeting, particularly when you can be identified – she should have known better than that.

“I find it unacceptable she made a joke like that. I feel strongly about this issue. It’s a set of stupid remarks.”