Elite Billionaire Family in UK Stand Trial for Human Trafficking Charges


The wealthiest family in the UK, the Hinduja family, who are owners of the multinational conglomerate Hinduja Group, are standing trial in Switzerland on human trafficking charges.

Hinduja relocated its businesses from India to London in 1979 and steadily expanded its global presence before amassing a net worth of £37bn ($47bn).

Hinduja’s business included oil, chemicals, IT, cyber security, automotive, healthcare, trading, infrastructure, media, property, and power.

Now, some senior members of the family are involved in a scandal of alleged exploitation and human trafficking.

Four members of the Hinduja family are on trial in Switzerland.

BBC reported:

“The family own a villa in Geneva’s wealthy neighbourhood of Cologny, and the charges against them all relate to their practice of importing servants from India to look after their children and household.

It’s alleged that Prakash and Kamal Hinduja, together with their son Ajay and his wife Namrata, confiscated staff passports, paid them as little as $8 (£7) for 18-hour days, and allowed them little freedom to leave the house.”

Below are five shocking revelations from the trial of the Hindujas – per NDTV:

  1. Prosecutors revealed that the Hinduja family spent much more on their pet dog expenses than they paid one of their staff. Swiss prosecutor Yves Bertossa stated that the family’s yearly spending on their dog amounted to 8,584 Swiss francs (₹ 8,09,399), whereas some staff allegedly worked up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, for as little as 7 Swiss francs (₹ 660) per day.
  2. The family allegedly confiscated the passports of their staff members from India, restricting their freedom to leave the premises without permission. This potentially constitutes human trafficking under Swiss law.
  3. The staff were paid in Indian currency, leaving them without money in Switzerland.
  4. Contracts for the staff reportedly did not specify working hours or days off but required them to be available as needed by the family. This lack of clarity contributed to the alleged exploitation, as per the prosecutor’s arguments in court.
  5. The defence responded to accusations, saying they treated their staff with respect and provided them with accommodation and meals as part of their compensation. They pointed out the staff returned to work for the family repeatedly, which they argued showed that they were satisfied with their working conditions.

A financial settlement over the exploitation charges was reached last week, but the Hindujas remain on trial for trafficking – a serious criminal offense.

In defense of low wages, the lawyers said staff were also receiving accommodation and food.

“But the allegations that servants’ passports were confiscated, and that they could not even leave the house without permission, are serious, because they could be judged as human trafficking.”

READ: Trump Calls for Child Sex Traffickers to Get Death Penalty

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