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Slavery in the UK

(42 Posts)
WhollyGhost Sun 11-Sep-11 18:04:16

"Twenty-four men believed to have been held against their will and forced to work have been freed from a caravan site in Bedfordshire.

Five people on the site, in Leighton Buzzard, have been arrested under suspicion of keeping 24 men from England, Romania and Poland as slaves in "filthy and cramped" conditions, police said. Four men and a woman were arrested after a long-running investigation by Bedfordshire police."

Horrible that some were there for up to 15 years. sad

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 11-Sep-11 18:07:18

apparently according to bbc was a traveller site, not commercial caravan site. Absolutely shocking though.

ragged Sun 11-Sep-11 18:11:36

What kind of work did they do? I am trying to get my head around how they could not have had a chance to escape or get help.

WhollyGhost Sun 11-Sep-11 20:55:53

I don't know ragged. Though women who are trafficked obviously have exposure to clients and yet are often too demoralised or frightened to seek help.

All of these slaves were "vulnerable" So I suppose that means mental health issues or learning difficulties?

Indaba Sun 11-Sep-11 22:31:37

if some one takes your passport or says you will get deported or jailed its easy to see how someone is vulnerable and can't seek help

moronicatatonic Sun 11-Sep-11 22:34:28

I agree it's really scary and almost unbelievable. Awful. sad

strandednomore Mon 12-Sep-11 08:01:45

They were mostly homeless people and were beaten if they tried to run away. It's shocking. But I think this is bigger than people realise. They won't be the only slaves being held in this country - there was a similar story in Glos a few months ago.

WhollyGhost Mon 12-Sep-11 10:19:22

stranded - what was the story in Glos?

ragged Mon 12-Sep-11 10:21:56

It was mostly hard labour, from what they are saying now (contract field workers?). I don't accept on the back of this that there must be many other set ups like this one (as alleged). They must have been people already very much on the margins of society and lacking good life skills, nobody reported them missing I expect sad.

bumpybecky Mon 12-Sep-11 10:24:05

no it's in Billington, near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire (very near me)

it is very shocking. I'm fairly sure the site is right next door to an award winning children's farm we've visited loads. Am really shock that this could be going on so close to home

Peachy Mon 12-Sep-11 10:24:57

Absolutely disgusted but not a surprise: anti slvery charities have been trying to explain that this happens alla croos Europe for eyars but it's ahrd to get coverage for a few when the word conjures up such horrid images of the transatlantic trade.

this group are fairly well respected.

EightiesChick Mon 12-Sep-11 10:27:16

Just awful. It seems that some of them were East European so probably were threatened with being reported as illegal immigrants, and the British ones were homeless/vulnerable types who probably would have been easily intimidated. One apparently was about to commit suicide when picked up by the gang and offered a job and place to stay. sad

The Guardian report I've just read says that although there have been campaigns for longer sentences for this kind of crime after the Morecambe Bay cockle pickers a few years ago, sentences given stll tend to be pretty short. I really do hope it is not that widespread. What would make people think of doing this?

cornsylk Mon 12-Sep-11 10:36:06

That made my blood run cold. Those poor men.

strandednomore Mon 12-Sep-11 11:08:35

whollyghost here is the story about the slaves in glos.
ragged unfortunately this isn't a one off. I suspect there are plenty more out there. Human trafficking is a very real crime in this country. It's appalling and I hope the publication of this story opens people's eyes.

Peachy Mon 12-Sep-11 11:13:17

I know someone convincted of running humans for rpostitution which is a related crime. He got 2 years, served less than half. On parole he escaped to Thailand where he was absed for teh trafficking and also trading frudulaent items (footie kits etc). He got to germany and was deported; warrant, interpol found him, he escaped in Dubai. No idea where he is now but in the meantime his family are on witness protection, kids traumatoised 9and he ahs said he ahs a fake passport and will snatch older dd)....... he was also accused of rape but was of a prostitute and no evidence... can't beleive how lightly he got away with it all. I only hope he tries to return (he will, genuinely thinks he is so clever) and gets caught and banged up for a very long time. Or even better, follows in the tracks of his business aprtner and gets caught in Thailand and jailed there.

Hence in part (also did my dissertaion on religion and transatlantic slave trade) my intrest in modern day salvery and recognition of th fact it exists in many forms in the UK right now.

Ilikepinkwine Mon 12-Sep-11 11:26:42

How could the other people in the community not know they were there? Or not be aware of the conditions they were kept in? I thought travellers' sites were made up of mainly extended family groups with a strong sense of community and everyone knew everyone else. So either they knew and condoned it (ignoring is as bad) or they had no idea (hard to believe).

EightiesChick Mon 12-Sep-11 11:57:07

It's also pretty bad that no one in the organisations being supplied with these people as cheap labour noticed what a bad state they were in.

Ilikepinkwine Mon 12-Sep-11 13:19:07

Totally agree. I'm sure a lot of people are kicking themselves right now for thinking the labourers 'looked a bit rough.'


I am still struggling to get my head around this whole thing. They were under surveillance for 5 months! 5 months of suffering after they had been discovered. Poor buggers.

WhollyGhost Mon 12-Sep-11 13:47:16

They were saying, on radio 2, that it took that long because they had to get poeple undercover to gather enough evidence. Jeremy Vine suggested they pretended to be travellers - I think it is more likely they got themselves enslaved.

strandednomore that makes me feel sick, my God, how did that story not get a higher profile, and how come the mainstream media has not noticed the similarity?

TwoIfBySea Mon 12-Sep-11 13:55:09

How do you get yourself enslaved shock ? Truly scary, it is horrible that there are "officially" around 1500 slaves in the UK and unofficially closer to 5000!

Has this been going on for years? Possibly hidden by Travellers using the "your all prejudice against us" card?

Peachy Mon 12-Sep-11 13:57:45

Twoif depends

many are brought to the UK thinking they ahve jobs as nannies etc. Others are simply too vulnerable to understand; thinking about that man with LD who was enslaved in a shed then murderd.

Although this is the first traveller slavery case I have encounterd; it seems as likely to be domestic ensalvery by well heeled famillies tbh.

strandednomore Mon 12-Sep-11 14:38:12

You don't want to know some of the stuff that's going on. Did any of you know about the Human Traficking Centre It used to be run by Manchester (Sheffield?) police (I think) but now SOCA have taken it over and centralised it because the problem has become so massive.

Peachy Mon 12-Sep-11 14:40:50

I did but only as I choose to follow the issues.

It gets so little publicity as well, as an issue. Such a shame.

I woudl encourage anyone to sign up with that site I posted earlier on- so few people are aware that those of us who are should join our voices.

strandednomore Mon 12-Sep-11 14:42:51

whollyghost I was suprised the Glos story didn't gain a bigger profile at the time but a lot of it depends what else is happening in other news. This time, they were "fortunate" that there wasn't much other "hard news" around.

strandednomore Mon 12-Sep-11 14:53:39

peachy - I think the issue is gaining publicity and story's like this can only help. I think people don't necessarily understand what "human trafficking" is though. Most think of people being brought against their will from other countries and forced to work. It includes (as you have already said) sex trafficking (including within the uk), boys from Vietnam who tend to the plants in Cannabis factories (which makes a mockery of the idea of "ethical cannabis" grown in the UK), children brought from Eastern Europe and used to gain benefits, organ trafficking, domestic workers brought with the promise of a job etc etc etc.

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