A Salford couple who trafficked a 10-year-old girl into the UK and then kept her as a servant for nearly a decade have had their sentences increased by the Court of Appeal.
Ilyas Ashar, 84, who repeatedly raped the girl at his Salford home, had his sentence extended from 13 years to 15 years by the Court of Appeal.
His wife, Tallat Ashar, 69, had her sentence increased from five years to six years.
Speaking about the sentences city mayor Ian Stewart said: “The Ashars stole a young woman’s childhood, abused her, deprived her of health care, education and her freedom and treated her like a slave.”
“Since being freed from their evil clutches she has made a remarkable recovery. Increasing the sentence sends out a very clear message that society will not tolerate such evil.”
The couple were originally sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court in October 2013
The sentences were increased following an application by Solicitor General Oliver Heald QC who argued that those originally imposed were unduly lenient.
Greater Manchester Police said the pair claimed thousands of pounds of benefits in the girl’s name, while she was made to clean and cook at several houses belonging to the family.
The girl, now in her 20s, was found in the ‘sparse, cold and damp’ cellar in 2009 by trading standards staff investigating allegations of illegal activity.
Mr Stewart said: “When we first met her she was timid, shy, unable to read or write. She couldn’t use a phone, didn’t understand money and had been deprived of any education.
“Our staff and the police worked patiently with her, using their skills and knowledge to build her trust and confidence, helping her to learn new skills to become independent.
“Thanks to their care and her remarkable resilience, she has now blossomed. She has her own home, travels with confidence on public transport, enjoys shopping and many other educational, social and cultural activities.”
She is receiving on-going support from social workers, is rebuilding her life and has been praised by Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for the ‘courage’ she showed during the trial.