UK’s wealthiest family faces human trafficking charges in Swiss court

The Hinduja family members are accused of spending more money on their dog than on their domestic help staff.

News Desk June 19, 2024
Ajay Hinduja (L) and his wife Namrata arrive with their lawyer Robert Assael at a court house in Geneva

Four members of the Hinduja family, the richest in the UK with a net worth of $47bn, are on trial in Switzerland for alleged human trafficking and exploitation. The accusations claim they spent more money on their dog than on their domestic help staff.

Prakash and Kamal Hinduja, their son Ajay, and his wife Namrata are charged with importing domestic staff from India to their Geneva villa in the upscale Cologny area.

Allegations include confiscating passports, paying as little as $8 for 18-hour workdays, and severely restricting the staff's freedom.

Although a settlement for exploitation was reached last week, the trial for human trafficking continues, with the Hindujas denying all charges.

Geneva prosecutor Yves Bertossa drew a stark comparison in court, noting that the family allegedly spent nearly $10,000 annually on their dog, while staff received minimal pay.

The family's lawyers argued that the wages should be viewed in context, as servants were provided with accommodation and food.

They also disputed the claimed long hours, stating that activities like watching films with children should not be classified as work.

Some former servants defended the Hindujas, describing them as a respectful and kind family. However, allegations of passport confiscation and restricted freedom are serious and could qualify as human trafficking.

Bertossa is seeking prison terms and substantial financial compensation along with legal fees.

Spotlight on Geneva

This case sheds light on Geneva's persistent issues with servant mistreatment.

In 2008, Hannibal Gaddafi was arrested for allegedly beating servants, leading to a diplomatic conflict with Libya.

Last year, four Filipino domestic workers sued a Geneva diplomatic mission for unpaid wages. The Hinduja trial exposes the darker side of Geneva, a city that prides itself on peace and international cooperation.


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