A deaf girl of 10 was trafficked into the UK, repeatedly raped, kept in a cellar and treated as a virtual slave for almost a decade, a court heard today.
The girl was locked in a cellar each night where she would sleep on a concrete floor and by day was forced to work for no money and was sexually assaulted, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester was told.
The orphaned youngster from Pakistan, who is profoundly deaf and has no speech, was brought into the UK aged between 10 and 12 in June 2000.
The case raises serious questions about how the girl was able to get through past the UK Border Agency.
Peter Cadwallader, prosecuting, told the jury that it was a "mystery and matter of concern" she was able to enter the UK, and said there may be "significant and proper" criticism of the Border Agency, who had a "good deal to answer for".
It was reported by the Press Association that she entered the country on the basis she was going to work as a domestic servant.
The Home Office told the Huffington Post UK that they do not comment on ongoing court cases.
Her alleged abusers were Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife, Tallat Ashar, 66, who deny charges of false imprisonment, human trafficking, sexual offences, violence and benefit fraud.
If their alleged victim displeased them she would be forced into their cellar where the girl would "sit there for hours crying and locked in", the court heard.
They kept the girl, now aged between 19 and 21, at their home in Cromwell Road, Eccles in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Although supposed to be employed as a domestic help, she was never paid and just given food and lodging, Cadwallader told the jury.
Instead the girl was made to cook, clean, do the washing and ironing for the Ashars and clean the houses and cars of their family and friends, the court heard.
She was also kept in the cellar to work for hours packing football shirts and clothes and mobile phone covers, the jury was told.
"They would be upstairs while she was doing the work," Cadwallader added.
"She was the subject of forced labour in that she was made to work for Ilyas and Tallat Ashar as a domestic servant and do other work for them and members of their family.
"In essence it is the prosecution case that she lived in a state of servitude when she entered the Ashar home in Pakistan, then later when she was brought to this country in June 2000.
"The Crown say she was the ideal target for this exploitation as she is and was extremely vulnerable."
"There were no washing or toilet facilities in the cellar so that if she needed to use the bathroom during the night she had to bang on the cellar door in the hope that she was heard and the door opened.
"On other occasions, during the day, presumably when she displeased Tallat Ashar, she was pushed into the cellar, pushed down the stairs and the door locked.
The alleged victim had no family or friends in the UK and had never been to school in Pakistan or Britain.
She cannot read or write and the only people she knew in Britain were the Ashars, who told her both her parents were dead.
She was however taught to write her signature - so her name could be used to claim benefits, it is alleged.
Despite her disabilities the victim has an average, or higher, intelligence level, the jury was told.
Cadwallader added: "We believe you will find her to be a remarkably resilient young woman who tells things as they are."
Ilyas and Tallat Ashar both deny two counts of human trafficking into the UK for exploitation and a single count of false imprisonment.
Ilyas also denies 12 counts of rape, Tallat denies one count of sexual assault and unlawful wounding and the pair along with their daughter Faaiza, 24, deny charges of benefit fraud.
The case continues.
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