A Melbourne man accused of reducing his wife to a slave forced her to remain in their bedroom unless she was cooking and cleaning, while she survived on little more than bread and pickles, a court has heard.
The woman was allegedly forced to perform tasks for her husband and brother-in-law from the moment she arrived in Australia, with immediate instructions to cook, clean and do their laundry, despite being exhausted from travelling, according to the police summary.
The man, who cannot be named in order to protect his wife’s identity, is facing a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court charged with intentionally reducing a person to slavery between August and October 2015.
He is accused of physically, sexually and verbally abusing his wife who he instructed to remain in her bedroom unless she was cooking and cleaning, according to the police summary.
“She was provided with very little food and often lived on bread and pickles,” it said.
“Her husband constantly demanded she request money from her family in India.
“She did not have access to money, and when she asked if she could go to work to earn money her husband told her she could not leave the house.”
Police allege she was not allowed to see a doctor or take medication when she was sick and she felt she was being constantly monitored.
It is alleged that after about six weeks, the woman’s brother-in-law caught her using a computer to contact her sister and ask for advice.
According to the police summary, he told her he could not wait to find out what his brother would do to her when he got home.
Woman ‘sought help from neighbours’
The woman allegedly fled the house and sought help from neighbours.
She began being supported by a family violence agency which contacted the Australian Federal Police in April 2016 and an investigation was launched, according to the police summary.
The court was closed to the public and media as the woman gave her evidence today.
The committal hearing before Magistrate Belinda Wallington continues.