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Polish 'slaves' found at UK camp

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 12.09.2011 09:13
Police in Bedfordshire, central England, are questioning five people after a raid on an Irish 'gypsy' camp revealed some two dozen 'slave labourers', three of whom appear to be Poles.

Two hundred officers were involved in yesterday's raid, which took place at a long-established travellers' camp in the town of Leighton Buzzard.

Police have revealed that at least one of the captives had been held for fifteen years, while others had arrived only weeks ago.

The prisoners were found to be living in appalling conditions, with some living in horse-boxes and dog kennels, others in old sheds.

It is understood that captives were lured with the promise of paid work and board. Invariably, the victims were picked up at soup kitchens, benefit offices and hostels for the homeless.

Of the 24 captives, three are said to to be Poles, two are Romanians, a further two are Russians, while the rest are British nationals.

The liberated workers were taken straight to a medical centre for examination.

"The men we found at the site were in a poor state of physical health and the conditions they were living in were shockingly filthy and cramped,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Sean O' Neil, in an interview with the BBC.

"They're recruited and told if you come here we'll pay you £80 a day, we'll look after you give you board and lodgings,” he said.

"But when they get here, their hair is cut off them, they're kept in in some cases [in] horseboxes, dog kennels and old caravans, made to work for no money, given very, very small amounts of food.”

Police have admitted that 28 people have made accusations against the travellers since 2008, and questions are already being asked why action was not taken quicker on the matter. (nh)

tags: slave labour, UK
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