Ukrainian refugee reports mum who housed her for slavery – for having to wash up

A mum has been questioned by police after the Ukrainian refugee she took in reported her for slavery.

Hannah Debenham welcomed the Ukrainian refugee into her home as part of a settlement scheme.

But three weeks later the mum-of-two was slapped with slavery accusations after asking the house guest to do the washing up.

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The 42-year-old from Uckfield, East Sussex was reported for using the refugee as "a slave and full-time child-minder for little to no pay under the disguise of assisting her in the Ukrainian settlement scheme".

Hannah says she was “devastated” by the accusations which led to a hellish two-month police investigation.

She told MailOnline the day police grilled her over the claims was "the worst day of her life".

Hannah found the refugee on an au pair website. The 36-year-old – who cannot be named for legal reasons – agreed to babysit her 10-year-old daughter two or three days a week in exchange for lodgings and £200 a week.

But when Hannah asked the refugee to clear up after herself, their agreement turned sour.

She said: "The first couple of weeks, the honeymoon period, were fine. But they did not clear up after themselves, and the amount of dishes to be done quickly doubled.

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"The mother used a new glass every time she got a glass of water or drink, for example.

"I explained to her that she needed to help out more, we even showed her how to use the dishwasher.

"I understand that she was in a terrible situation having fled from her country and after losing friends to the war, but things did not improve.

"It was just devastating. We just wanted to help. If I was charged I would have had to declare that and it would have been a permanent impediment to my career."

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The Ukrainian woman said she was "made to work most days, looking after the children and expected to clear up and tidy up the house", a report claimed.

But the case was dropped when no evidence was found.

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: "Sussex Police received a report on July 20 of a person being required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

"The informant was a woman with a young daughter who had arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

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"On July 26, a woman from Uckfield, who had offered to host the pair, was invited to attend a voluntary interview at Eastbourne police station with her solicitor on August 16. She was not arrested.

"Following that interview, the informant was approached on several occasions to provide a full statement but was not willing to assist with further enquiries or to provide a formal account.

"As a result, it was judged that there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution and no further action would be taken."


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