A New York socialite is on trial for allegedly keeping a woman
enslaved in her mansion for years.
How could such a thing happen? Pretty easily, actually.
Some years ago, while my husband was in training on the East coast, we lived for several months with an older couple I’ll call Jane and Thomas. They were nice enough people–except they were hoarders. One day Jane told me they had almost adopted a little girl, an orphan from the Middle East. Seems that their church sponsored a group of homeless waifs, brought them to the U.S., and were begging families to take them in.
“We took a 10-year-old girl,” Jane said. “We planned to adopt her. We gave her food and clothes better ones that she was used to. She went to school down the street.”
I nodded. It sounded good.
“Her job was to keep our house clean, do the laundry, and wash up after meals,” Jane said. “I was just starting to teach her to cook, because that was her job, too.” Jane quickly added, “Not grocery shopping, though. I wouldn’t ever trust her with my money. In fact, I didn’t want her outside at all. She wasn’t any of the neighbor’ business.”
What? Jane and Thomas weren’t adopting a child at all! They were getting a servant. Who would work for free. And be locked in the house so the neighbors couldn’t see.
Jane and Thomas wanted a slave!
And had the pastor of their church not finally stepped in, they would have one.
Poor Valsamma Mathai didn’t fare as well. An undocumented immigrant from India, she spent over six years working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, keeping up the 26-bedroom mansion of New York socialite Annie George. Valsamma slept in a walk-in closet.
“A servant!” Annie George keeps insisting. “She is a servant!”
No, Annie. She is a slave.
“Consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of God as it is derogatory from our own honor or interest of happiness.”