Aussie Couple Kept a Slave for 8 Years

Indian woman toiled for up to 23 hours a day, was punished with boiling water
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2021 8:44 AM CDT
Aussie Couple Kept a Slave for 8 Years
This 2007 photo shows Victoria's Supreme Court building in Melbourne.   (Wikimedia/Adz)

An Australian couple who kept a slave for eight years will soon know what it's like to be held against their will. Kumuthini Kannan, 53, was ordered to serve at least four years of an eight-year sentence, while her husband, Kandasamy Kannan, 57, was ordered to serve at least three years of a six-year term on Wednesday, per the Guardian. Both were convicted of enslaving an Indian woman in their suburban Melbourne home from 2007 to 2015, when the woman was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, where she was found to be malnourished, weighing 88 pounds, and suffering from untreated sepsis and diabetes. The court determined she'd been forced to cook, clean, and care for the couple's three special-needs children for up to 23 hours a day, receiving about $2.50 a day in return. She was also burned with boiling water and beaten with a frozen chicken, per ABC News.

Described as "uneducated, illiterate and vulnerable," the woman had come to stay with the family in 2002 and 2004. She returned on a one-month tourist visa in 2007 but never left, despite pleas from her family. The Kannans responded with a simple "f--- you," per the Guardian. "No one has expressed any sense of regret or sorrow—it's a fairly remarkable absence of humanity," Justice John Champion said in Victoria's Supreme Court. "You both grossly exploited a vulnerable person for which you should be ashamed." Kumuthini was found to be more morally culpable than her passive husband. Champion said she'd called for help for the woman when she collapsed in 2015 only after taking her children to a school concert. The woman, now 67, was found shivering in a pool of urine, per She spent two months in the hospital and has been in a nursing home ever since. (More slave labor stories.)

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