Mother and daughter prosecuted for exploiting "house slave"
A 46-year-old woman from Kerkdriel said she has "no active memory" of the abuse and exploitation allegedly experienced by a former girlfriend who lived with her for more than a year, she said in court in Arnhem on Monday. The victim was held in the Kerkdriel home and treated as a "house slave" by the woman and her 81-year-old mother, according to the Public Prosecution Service (OM). The pair were charged with human trafficking.
The 45-year-old victim said she had to hand over her passport to the pair, do household chores for them, and cook for both mother and daughter. When that was not done to their specifications, she received fines and corporal punishment, such as caning. She was also ordered to stab herself in the foot with a carving fork or pins when she did something wrong.
The woman incurred such a high amount of debt due to the fines that she had to sell her home in Amsterdam. The money from the "house slave," as the mother, Theresia S., called her, was used to pay for the renovation of the bathroom and kitchen at the Kerkdriel house, and the construction of a garden there. According to the Public Prosecution Service, the older woman and her daughter, Mandy van B., took the victim for 270,000 euros in total. By the end of the victim's ordeal she was practically forbidden to eat, brush her teeth, or shower.
The victim managed to make several secret recordings of the assaults with her telephone, which were played during the trial. Among other things, the court could hear Mandy van B. saying, "Stab, stab, stab with the carving fork, or otherwise I'll do it," and "I swear to you, I will keep going until the blood starts to flow.
Her mother added, "Other world, that's where you have to go to get help." Confronted with these clips, the daughter stated that she found it disturbing, but said she cannot remember any of it.
The case was exposed in October 2020 when the victim fell down a flight of stairs overnight and broke her foot. Hospital workers examining the woman found she had injuries all over her body, including a broken back, which could not have been caused by a fall from the stairs.
The suspects stated that they offered the victim shelter because she wanted to sell her home in Amsterdam. There were occasional struggles which sometimes got physical, but the defendants said they never imprisoned or structurally abused the woman.
The hearing started Monday after a four-hour delay. The delay forced the court to schedule the case to continue on February 25.
Reporting by ANP