Dhaka (CNN)She’s known as “Happy” but when Mahfuza Akhter was found bruised and crying in the streets of Dhaka she was anything but.
The 11-year-old former live-in maid of one of Bangladesh’s cricketing heroes is at the center of perhaps the biggest celebrity trial the country has ever seen.
She claims that she was abused by international cricket star Shahadat Hossain and his wife, Nritto Shahadat, while working in their home.
“They used to beat me with sticks, kitchen utensils, punch me, and scratch me. I would be slapped a lot,” she says, pointing to a distinct scar on her face.
ossain and his wife are both in police custody, charged with child repression and employing a minor. Hossain’s lawyer says he is innocent and that he wasn’t home the day Happy ran away.
The lawyer refused to comment on behalf of his wife but on December 1 Shahadat was granted temporary bail on humanitarian grounds as she has a young baby.
The young maid says she was sent to work in the couple’s home by her grandmother. She doesn’t know where her parents are, but said her extended family needed the money.
“My uncle had no job, my grandmother was sick, we didn’t have any money. There was no option but to send me to the house to work,” she told CNN.
She says she was locked in their home and forced to sleep in the bathroom. “They wouldn’t give me proper food. They’d usually give me leftovers or food that had gone bad,” she said.
She was looking for a chance to escape; she had made up her mind that she would rather beg on the streets than live in the home.