Wembley child slave wins High Court action against council

Judge rules she is entitled to additional benefits and support until she is 21

A woman forced into domestic slavery after being trafficked into the UK at the age of five has won a High Court case to be entitled to additional benefits and support.

Mr Justice Keith told the court the 18-year-old was so young when she arrived that she couldn’t even recall what her parents looked like and called her tormenters mum and dad.

The youngster known as ‘Y’ was made to be a general domestic dogsbody in a family home in Wembley and was beaten by her ‘mother’ if her housework lapsed.

She was banned from eating with members of the family and her ‘father’ ignored her as to him she was just a servant, the judge said.

The court heard she wondered why she did not go to school and was given no toys or presents of her own, like the other children in the family.

She was never allowed out of the house unaccompanied and, if anyone asked, the woman would say that Y was her daughter.

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She was later sent to another family in Hillingdon where she slaved away for another five years before running away and contacting the police who referred her to social services.

The teenager claimed a diary she found placed her as being born in February 1993.

But Hillingdon Council, who placed her in short-term foster care and commissioned two specialist dentists to assess Y’s date of birth from examining her teeth, argued her ‘confidence and maturity’ indicated she was over 18.

Today, Justice Keith said her maturity could because of her life experiences and ruled she should have been treated as a child by Hillingdon until her 18th birthday.

His ruling means until she is 21 she is entitled to additional benefits and accommodation under the terms of the Children Act.

Danusia Brzezina, a solicitor at the Children’s Legal Centre, a national charity committed to promoting children’s rights in the UK and worldwide that represented ‘Y’ in court said: “This is a wonderful outcome for ‘Y’.

“Regrettably this is one of all too many cases of children being wrongly age disputed in the UK, because of this ‘Y’s life was put on hold.

“She would now like to get the appropriate support from the local authority, so that she can move on from her past.”