Civil servant kept woman from Nigeria in 'domestic servitude'

High court was told Rashida Ajayi worked at the home of Teresa Abu and husband Joel for a decade for about £300 a year

Ajayi’s case was heard at the high court in London.
A civil servant and her husband kept an African woman in servitude at their home, a judge has concluded.
Rashida Ajayi said she had been a domestic worker at the home of Teresa and Joel Abu for a decade. She said she received about £300 a year and complained of being a victim of “labour exploitation”.
Mrs Abu, a civil servant involved in policy support at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and her husband disputed Ajayi’s claims. But Master Victoria McCloud has ruled in Ajayi’s favour after a high court hearing in central London in July.
The judge said Ajayi had been prevented from having a wage “sufficient to give her basic freedoms”. She made no ruling on what compensation Ajayi should get.
“The overall picture I have from the evidence is that Ms Ajayi was kept in economic servitude,” McCloud said in a written ruling. “Her circumstances in the Abu household were oppressive servitude.”
She said they “fell short of the standards which the law of the land requires as a basic minimum for the dignity of the worker and their remuneration”.
Ajayi said she had been a domestic worker at the Abus’ home between 2005 and 2015 after being brought from Nigeria. She said she had been subjected to minimally paid domestic servitude and had little or no personal freedom.
The Abus disagreed, arguing that they had “treated her as a member of their family, paid her appropriately or perhaps at times generously for the work she did.”
McCloud’s ruling did not disclose Ajayi’s age or where the Abus lived.

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