U.K.’s richest family accused of keeping staff in modern slavery - FreedomUnited.org

U.K.’s richest family accused of keeping staff in modern slavery

  • Published on
    June 18, 2024
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Domestic Slavery, Human Trafficking
Hero Banner

Four members of the Hinduja family, worth an estimated combined total of $47bn and currently the U.K.’s richest family, went on trial in Switzerland for labor exploitation and human trafficking. The charges centered around claims that they illegally brought staff in and out of Switzerland after confiscating their passports. They also imposed exploitative working terms — all hallmarks of modern slavery.

More money spent caring for the dog than workers

Prakash and Kamal Hinduja, together with their son Ajay and his wife Namrata were accused of keeping the staff for their Switzerland home living in modern slavery. According to the prosecution, the employers confiscated the staff’s passports upon arrival and did not allow them to leave the house without permission. In addition, the employers paid them for their work in India, not in Switzerland where they were living. This meant they had no Swiss money they could use for themselves while in Switzerland, severely limiting their freedom and mobility.

According to the BBC,

“…allegations that servants’ passports were confiscated, and that they could not even leave the house without permission, are serious, because they could be judged as human trafficking.”

Some staff were allegedly paid as little as $8 for 18-hour days. A lawyer for the prosecution pointed to a document titled ‘Pets’ which appears to show the family spent almost $10,000 a year on their dog — an amount far larger than the annual salary of the working staff.

Despite denials, signs point to slavery

One of the defense attorneys told the Swiss court that while the idea of ‘breaking the rich to make the poor less poor’ is attractive, the prosecutor’s office is conflating justice with social justice. However, where there is smoke, there is fire.

NDTV reports,

“Contracts for the staff reportedly did not specify working hours or days off but required them to be available as needed by the family.”

Paltry wages, confiscated passports, and a lack of freedom of movement with contractual ambiguity paints a classic picture of modern slavery. And despite denying the charges, the Hidujas reached a financial settlement over exploitation charges last week. They also no longer pay staff informally and now hire all staff using a local third party.

Prosecutors asked for lengthy prison sentences for Prakash Hinduja, his wife Kamal, their son Ajay, and his wife Namrata. According to reports, they also wanted the family to pay for court costs and set up a compensation fund for the staff affected.

Despite the evidence, the Hidujas were convicted for exploitation but acquitted for trafficking. Nevertheless, the court sentenced Prakash and Kamal to four and a half years in prison, while Ajay and Namrata received four-year sentences. Additionally, they were ordered to pay approximately $950,000 in compensation and about $300,000 in procedural fees.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bharat Gupta
22 days ago

Such exploiters should never be spared. It’s appalling that such rich people stoop so low to deny minimal wages to those who take care of their day to day cooking and other needs.
The appellate courts should uphold the prison sentry.

22 days ago

I simply cannot believe it… Worth 47bn and paying this misery to their staff and abusing them this way.. they deserve much more than 4-4.5 years in prison.

Anne Morris
Anne Morris
22 days ago

It’s unbelievable that such cruelty and exploitation could occur in a country that purports to be bound by the rule of law. Hopefully the prison sentences will serve as a deterrent to others.

Antonio Villar Iturre
Antonio Villar Iturre
22 days ago

Very greedy family. The government of Switzerland, plus all the sentences by the court, should confiscated all the assets of them, Send them back to where they belong.

22 days ago

This should have stopped a century ago! This wealthy family should have been imprisoned!!

This week

U.N. rights chief urges end to E.U.'s support for Libyan Coast Guard

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has called for an urgent review of the European Union's agreement with Libyan authorities to intercept and return migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at the Human Rights Council, Türk highlighted the alarming scale of “trafficking, torture, forced labor, extortion, and starvation” endured by returned migrants and asylum seekers. “It is unconscionable that people in

| Tuesday July 9, 2024

Read more