LONDON: A British court jailed an elderly couple on Wednesday after a deaf and mute girl was trafficked from Pakistan to work as a servant and then repeatedly raped for nearly a decade.
Ilyas Ashar, 84, and his wife Tallat Ashar, 68, kept the girl in the cellar of their house in Salford, northwest England, after she was illegally brought to Britain in 2000 at the age of around 10.
Ilyas Ashar was jailed for 13 years for raping the girl from before the age of puberty until she was rescued in 2009, while his wife was jailed for five years for trafficking a person for exploitation.
The couple were also convicted of using the girl, who is profoundly deaf and cannot speak, to fraudulently claim more than £30,000 ($48,000, 35,000 euros) in welfare payments.
The couple’s daughter Faaiza Ashar, 46, was sentenced to carry out community service after being convicted of giving false information to obtain benefits.
The victim cannot be named for legal reasons.
Sentencing the couple at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, Judge Peter Lakin said the couple had subjected the girl “to a life of misery and degradation”.
“You, Ilyas Ashar, and you, Tallat Ashar, did not treat this girl as a human being. To you she was merely an object to be used, abused and cast aside at will,” he said.
The girl had no family or friends in Britain and had never been to school there or in Pakistan but was taught to sign her name to claim state benefits, the trial heard.
She wanted to return to her family in Pakistan but was not allowed to.
Ashar routinely raped her, despite her efforts to fight him off, and he also beat and slapped her if she did not follow orders.
Her plight was discovered after police and local authorities raided the house in 2009 and found her asleep in the cold and dark cellar.
The trial heard that the victim was now recovering with the help of social services.