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Christian girl held as slave for almost 5 years

by Hannah Tooley

The tribunal heard that Permila Tirkey, from Bihar, a poor state in India, was employed by Ajay and Pooja Chandok, who are Hindu, and forced to work up to 18 hours each day.

It has been reported that once in Britain she worked seven days a week and was banned from bringing her Bible to the country.

The tribunal also heard that she was forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor and was not allowed to contact her family.

The ordeal is thought to have lasted overfour and a half years.

The employment tribunal decided that Permila Tirkey was a victim of unlawful harassment and indirect religious discrimination, and the finances she was awarded represented the shortfall from the national minimum wage.

She has received nearly £184,000 in compensation for caste discrimination.

The Chandoks were higher in the caste system than Permila Tirkey, a system that dictates which class in society people are born into in India.

The tribunal concluded that the Chandok family "wanted someone who would be not merely of service, but servile; who would not be aware of United Kingdom employment rights and whom they could treat in the United Kingdom as [Mrs Chandok's] father treated his servants in India."

This is one of the first cases of caste discrimination that have been heard.

After the judgement Miss Tirkey said: "I want the public to know what happened to me as it must not happen to anyone else.

"The stress and anxiety that this sort of thing creates for a person can destroy them.

"I have not been able to smile because my life had been destroyed.

"Now I am able to smile again. Now I am free."

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