Police find modern slave empire in UK after 15 years of existence
Britain, holding the banner of human rights, has come under media pressure after police unveiled a modern day slave empire on a caravan site in London.
Twenty-four slaves were freed during a police raid. The men, from Poland, Romania, Russia and Britain, were found thin, hungry and living in "shockingly filthy and cramped" situations at the Green Acres travellers’ site in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.
The victims of British slavery, aged from 20 to 50, had been forced to live in “a state of virtual slavery”. Some are claimed to have survived in the London-based captivity for up to 15 years.
Bedfordshire police arrested four men and a woman over committing slavery offences in a dawn raid. Some 200 police officers, including armed police, dog units and a police helicopter, were involved in a prolonged operation.
Detective Chief Inspector Sean O'Neil said that the men were in a poor health condition, were barely fed, and not paid for the physically tough labouring jobs.
"We believe that some of them had been living and working there in a state of virtual slavery, some for just a few weeks and others for up to 15 years," he said.
O'Neil stressed that the site was recruitment centre where people down on their luck were brought to.
"They had been found in soup kitchens and benefit offices and told they would be given work, clothing, a home and food.”
"They're told, if you come here we'll pay you £ 80 a day and give you board and lodgings. But when they get here, their hair is cut off them, they're kept in some cases [in] horseboxes, dog kennels and old caravans, made to work for no money, given very, very small amounts of food," O'Neil added.
Anti-slavery campaigners insisted that, at any one time, about 5,000 victims of trafficking are staying in Britain who have been urged to work for prostitution centres or do forced labour.
"Coercion is used to bring people into the country to work in the sex industry or do other types of forced Labour,” Paul Donohoe, Anti-Slavery International spokesman said. “Some are told they are coming to work in a café and only find out they are being exploited when they arrive. Others are paid a nominal wage, from which is deducted money they are told they owe; most commonly they are told they are paying back the cost of transporting them to Britain."
Police also found weapons, drugs and loads of money at the caravan site.
The shocking fact that British police found a modern slavery site after 15 years of existence has bewildered the human rights unions and media across the world. They wondered why the same police who had arrested all the people committed minor crimes during England's social unrest, has turned a blind eye into the slavery of innocent people in the country. Analysts also condemned the British government's double standard policy, that on one hand they impose a war in countries like Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan to protect the civilians and bring in democracy and human rights, but on the other hand have evidently failed to protect the lives of those living inside Britain.