Woman paid 11p an hour as domestic servant wins £184k in ‘first caste discrimination’ case

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A woman from India who was paid 11p an hour to work as a domestic servant for a family in Milton Keynes has been awarded almost £184,000 in unpaid wages.

Permila Tirkey, 39, worked 18-hour days for employers Pooja and Ajay Chandhok for four and a half years.

During this time she slept on a foam mattress on the floor, was not allowed to call her family, was given second-hand clothing instead of choosing her own clothes and cooked and cleaned for the couple - as well as looking after their children.

She was also prevented from bringing her Bible to the UK and going to church and her passport was held by the Chandhoks and she had no access to it,

Her lawyers say she was discriminated against because of her “low caste” and that the case represented a legal landmark because caste was considered an aspect of race by the tribunal.

Caste is a hereditary division rooted in Hindu society, based on factors such as wealth, rank or occupation.

The tribunal found the conditions in which she was forced to live and work was a “clear violation of her dignity”, adding “it created an atmosphere of degradation which was offensive”.

Ms Tirkey’s solicitor Victoria Marks, from the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit, said: “This is a very useful judgement for victims of modern day slavery.

“We hope that it will give other victims the courage to come forward and seek redress.”