[h=1]Scientist 'smuggled woman from Africa to work as slave in her home'[/h] [h=2]A scientist at one of the world's leading medical research institutions smuggled a young woman from Africa to work in the UK as her house slave, a court heard yesterday.[/h] Rebecca Balira arrives court Photo: CENTRAL NEWS 2:52PM BST 01 Aug 2011 Rebecca Balira, 47, forced 21-year-old Methodia Mathias to cook, clean and wash for her while acting a nanny to her three children for six months without pay, jurors heard. The young Tanzanian was made to share a bed with Balira's 12-year-old son, stripped of her passport and banned from contacting her family or friends, it was said. She was forced to walk to and from church each Sunday while Balira and her children took the bus, Southwark Crown Court heard. Jurors were also told Ms Mathias was slapped and punched by Balira and had her bra cut off her with a pair of scissors after her employer flew into a rage over a money box. Her six-month ordeal only ended when Ms Mathias told the 'one friend she had in this country' about her mistreatment and the police were called in to investigate. Prosecutor Caroline Haughey told the court how Balira had offered Ms Mathias 250,000 Tanzanian shillings a month - about £96 - to work as her housekeeper. She said Balira, who has a 15 year association with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, arranged for her visa and paid for her flights from Dar-Es-Salaam to London. After arriving in February 2010, Ms Mathias was taken to live in a two bedroom flat in Thamesmead, southeast London, where Balira shared a bedroom with her three children while sub-letting the second bedroom. Ms Haughey said: 'When you think of slavery you may think of cotton pickers in Georgia, in the southern states of America, or the slave trade in Africa, or the sex slave trade in this jurisdiction, but what we are dealing with is Mrs Balira keeping Ms Mathias as a young woman who was effectively bound to her with no freedom of movement and no freedom of choice. 'What we say is Rebecca Balira kept Methodia Mathias, a young, Tanzanian, 21-year-old girl, in conditions that were such that they were tantamount to slavery and servitude. 'That is she was kept effectively without pay she did not receive a single penny for her work in conditions were she was deprived of money, she was deprived of her passport, working long hours in conditions which were unacceptable and are unacceptable. 'She was forced to share a bed with another person, abused both verbally and psychologically and not allowed to communicate with her family. 'She was in fact kept at the whim and behest of Rebecca Balira.' Ms Haughey said that Ms Mathias was forced to work long hours looking after her and her family. 'She was required to get up at 5am in the morning and prepare both breakfast and lunch for Mrs Balira, then upon Mrs Baliras departure she was required to wake and tend the children, take the two eldest to school, look after the youngest, clean the house, take the youngest to nursery in the afternoon, wash the clothes by hand, collect the children, cook the evening meal for the children, and then separately for Balira, she would then finish the housework going to bed late into the night often 11.30 or midnight,' she told the jury. 'During this time Ms Mathias did not receive a penny for her work nor did she have a day off work save on Sunday mornings when she was permitted to attend church.' Ms Haughey said Balira allegedly assaulted Ms Mathias twice in a matter of days in September 2010. On the first occasion the court heard she was slapped and punched in the face because her son had left his jumper at school. On the second occasion the court heard Balira allegedly snapped after discovering there was less money in a money box than she thought there would be. Ms Haughey said: 'She turned to Ms Mathias, took her downstairs, took out some scissors and sliced the strap of Ms Mathias' bra and in doing so she nipped her skin. 'She then went upstairs and cut one of Ms Methodias belts into pieces and broke her watch.' She added: 'These two counts reflect specific incidents but are a culmination of a relationship that Mrs Balira exercised over Ms Mathias. 'That was a relationship of control and domination over a young, vulnerable girl who was entirely subservient to her whims and wants.' The jury heard Balira was arrested after Ms Mathias' friend encouraged her to report the two alleged assaults. In police interview the scientist, described as being 'at the pioneering front of very important research work', claimed Mathias was her niece and that she had been treated 'properly and fairly'. She said Ms Mathias had requested to share a bed with her son and denied assaulting her. Balira, denies trafficking a person into the UK for exploitation, knowingly holding another in servitude and two counts of common assault. The trial continues.