In a case that many have called ‘modern-day slavery’ and ‘lucky’, response to the news of a maid being enslaved by a football star has been met with diverse perspectives.
Alice Sawyer claimed Premier League footballer, Kolo Toure, and his wife, Chimene Akassou aka Awo, treated her like a slave while she was their live-in housemaid.
The 30 year-old left the family last week after she couldn’t take the “demeaning” tasks she was expected to carry-out daily.
Sawyer, who is a mother of two said her pay rate equated to £6.63 an hour (N 1,869). She said she was paid a ‘basic rate of £350 a week (N 98,700.00) for 8PM to 8PM shifts Monday to Friday and £8 for every extra hour she worked – but sometimes her shifts wouldn’t end until 3AM’.
The minimum wage is £7.20 an hour (N 2,030.00).
Her torment ended when her family rang 999 to alert police after Awo, 36, refused to return her passport as Alice insisted: “I can’t take any more. I want to leave”.
Alice, who has a British dad and Filipino mum, said: “I arrived at the house to get my things and said I was leaving”.
“She made me open my luggage and turn my things upside down to make sure I hadn’t stolen anything”.
“I asked for my passport — they had it because they’d booked a trip to Spain for a Liverpool FC training camp two weeks earlier and needed it for the flight details”.
“Awo told me that Mr Toure had it but I’d seen it in the perfume cabinet when I was cleaning”.
“She just kept saying, ‘If you want to leave then leave’ but I said I wouldn’t without my passport”.
“I was upset and started to feel scared and alone — she was shouting trying to get me out the door”.
“She’s a bully and even started filming me in tears sat on the stairs, which made me feel small”.
“I was crying down the phone to my sister who was so worried about me she called the police”.
“I didn’t know she’d made the call until we saw the car pull up on CCTV cameras. I was so relieved”.
Sawyer said Toure saw how she was treated but never confronted his wife.
“I was supposed to be working from 8PM to 8PM Monday to Friday but often my shift would run on until as late as 3AM”.
“I was rarely given a day off and would usually work weekends”.
“I’d start first thing cleaning the kitchen and then would move on to the whole house — dusting, vacuuming, changing the beds, doing washing and helping prep the food”.
“It was non-stop. I was on my feet all the time. All I’d hear was shouting and nagging”.
“She even made me call her ‘Madam’ instead of her real name”.
“She’d get angry all the time. No matter what I did it was wrong”.
“She’d run her hand over surfaces I’d dusted and make me do it again. She’d get up in my face shouting and pointing her finger”.
“I’d been sharing a room with another woman from the Philippines but she didn’t like us being friends. She made me move and sleep in a bedroom with her two eldest kids — even though it was a five-bed house. I didn’t even have space in a wardrobe so I had to live out of a suitcase.”
Alice said she had to take over looking after Toure’s three children aged three, ten and 12, after the Filipino nanny left.
Alice added: “I had to do everything, even put lotion on their 12- year-old and tie their son’s shoelaces. I did the school run and would have to have the downstairs finished by the time Mrs Toure woke up at around midday”.
“Madam doesn’t have any friends and would never leave the house”.
Alice said: “I wish I’d never met them. It was awful”.
She added: “Mr Toure was always friendly and would say ‘hello’.
“He was rarely around. He’d leave at 8AM for training and wouldn’t get home until 9PM.
“But he did see sometimes how she’d treat me and he never apologized or put a stop to it.”
Speaking about her boss who is a Save The Children and Unicef ambassador, Alice said: “I feel they’re both nothing but hypocrites”.
“I work so hard trying to provide for my boys in the Philippines”.
“Mr Toure is always helping kids abroad and funding charities”.
“If he cared he’d have paid me what I was rightfully worth so my kids were better taken care of”.
KOLO Toure is paid around £90,000 a week, which equates to £12,000 a day or £535 an hour.
That is more than 257 times more than Alice’s weekly £350 wage, which equates to £18,200 a year.
She would have to work for almost five years to earn what Toure makes in a week for Liverpool.
There are those who feel she’s ‘fortunate’ to have a job where she’s being paid $350 a week and doesn’t have to pay for amenities.