Four members of the same family have appeared in court accused of keeping a woman as a domestic slave in their Stockton home. An interpreter was needed to translate proceedings into Punjabi. Sakina Bibi, 67, Rabia Mobin, 27, Tariq Mahmood Siddique, 47, and Javid Iqbal, 42, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court yesterday, The Gazette Live reports. All four pleaded not guilty to the charges.
They are accused using “force and threat of force” to knowingly hold another person in slavery and servitude at their house on Yarmoth Road, Stockton.
Iqbal is also charged with intentionally arranging entry into the UK for a person with a view to exploiting them. The women was held between November 1, 2014 and July 30, 2015. The charges carry a potential jail sentence of up to 14 years.
The mother, Bibi, and daughter, Mobin, are also facing assault charges relating to an “incident” in August. Siddique faces the sole charge of slavery.
The family was granted conditional bail. They cannot leave the country, will be electronically tagged and must abide by a strict curfew, cannot approach the alleged victim and must attend a police station once a week.
They will next appear at Teesside Crown Court on August 24.
The family is thought to be the first to be charge in the Teesside and Stockton area using new anti-slavery legislation brought into effect in 2010.
The legislation was brought in to combat the growing problem of slavery in the UK. It increased the potential custodial sentences for keeping a slave to 14 years and introduced life sentences for those found guilty of people trafficking.
Home Office figures estimate there could be between 10,000 and 13,000 people trapped in modern day slavery in Britain today. They including domestic staff who are imprisoned, women forced into prostitution and those forced to work on farms and in factories.