A Melbourne couple who kept a Tamil woman from India in domestic servitude for eight years have both been handed prison sentences this week in a case that Justice John Champion called “a fairly remarkable absence of humanity.”
Between 2007 and 2015, Kumuthini Kannan and her husband Kandasamy Kannan abused and exploited a woman they had recruited from India to help them to look after their children and clean their home.
In return, they subjected her to physical and emotional abuse, forced her to work 23 hours a day and was paid just $3.36 a day. Eventually, she was rushed to hospital where doctors found her to be malnourished and suffering from untreated health conditions.
The Guardian reports:
The victim came to Australia twice to live with the Kannans in 2002 and 2004 before returning again on a one-month tourist visa in 2007.
The woman left school before the end of her first year of formal education at age six. She worked in fields from the age of 12, took on menial work on building sites and later moved into cooking.
She married and had four children but was widowed young and left to raise her family alone. Her life in India was dominated by financial struggle and deprived circumstances, the judge said.
She urged the Kannans to let her return to her country of origin which only provoked further violence and abuse. After being submitted to hospital in 2015, she was eventually released into a care home and continues to reside there.
Champion remarked on the Kannans attitude during the trial that “No one has expressed any sense of regret or sorrow.”
Kumuthini Kannan was sentenced to eight years in jail and her husband Kandasamy Kannan was sentenced to six years due to Kumuthini’s role in initiating the abuse.
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