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Slavery widespread in Britain
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 11-09-2011 13:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder how Vanessa Redgrave views this?

Quote:
Five arrests in 'slavery' raid at Greenacre travellers' site
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-14871318

Twenty-four men suspected of being held against their will have been found during a raid at a travellers' site.

Four men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of committing slavery offences in the raid at Greenacre travellers' site, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, on Sunday.

The men, who are English, Polish and Romanian, were found in "filthy and cramped" conditions, police said.

Detectives believe some may have been there for up to 15 years.

Those arrested are being held on suspicion of committing offences under the Slavery and Servitude Act 2010.

They are being held at police stations across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Weapons, drugs and money were also found at the site, police said.

More than 200 officers were involved in the raids.

'Shockingly filthy conditions'
The men, all believed to have been victims of slavery, were taken initially to an undisclosed medical centre and given medical, health and social welfare care.

The local authority is now co-ordinating their social and medical needs, while police liaison officers will keep in close touch with them.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

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”

Det Chief Insp Sean O'Neil
Bedfordshire Police
Det Chief Insp Sean O'Neil said: "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.

"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.

"Because of the number of victims and suspects and the size of the site, we needed the assistance of many officers from specialist units today.

"A small number of officers are remaining at the site to complete searches and to liaise with the residents. The offences that are being investigated are extremely serious."

Police have appealed for help and ask anyone with any information to contact them in confidence.

During the operation, Bedfordshire Police were assisted by officers from the UK Human Trafficking Centre.

Police joined forces with dog handling sections, helicopter and firearms support units, to execute search warrants at the traveller site.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 11-09-2011 13:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Two Scots admit sex trafficking across UK
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-14857004

Sarah Beukan moved 14 men and women around the UK for sex

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Two people have pleaded guilty to sex trafficking in the first convictions in Scotland under new legislation.

Stephen Craig, 34, and Sarah Beukan, 22, admitted moving 14 men and women to various addresses in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and Newcastle for prostitution.

They were caught after a joint operation by Strathclyde Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Brothels across the UK were raided and trafficking victims rescued.

Two other men, Malcolm McNeil and Gordon Dryburgh, had their pleas of not guilty accepted by the Crown.

Sentence on Craig and Beukan was deferred.

A support group that worked with some of the victims in the case said they had been through an "unimaginable ordeal".

Craig, from Clydebank, and Beukan of Leith, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty on the day their trial was due to start, saving more than 200 witnesses from giving evidence.

'Complex operation'
Craig had originally been prosecuted in Northern Ireland before the proceedings were transferred to Scotland.

Appearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court, he admitted sex trafficking between January 2009 and September 2010.

He now faces proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act after making money from his part in the operation.

Beukan admitted committing the offence between October 2009 and September 2010.

It is understood they were the first to be charged under section 22 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003, new legislation designed to deal with a range of offences involving "traffic for prostitution".

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These despicable individuals took advantage of desperate and vulnerable people and were willing to trade misery for profit”

Det Insp Stephen Grant
Strathclyde Police
Scottish police forces have succeeded in freeing numerous sex workers they believe to have been trafficked, but they have found it very difficult to convince the victims in such cases to make formal complaints.

Police said Operation Factor, which led to the convictions and also involved the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service, was a "complex and protracted" one.

Det Insp Stephen Grant from Strathclyde Police's major investigation teams said: "Human beings are not products which can ever be bought and sold and this will never be tolerated.

"These despicable individuals took advantage of desperate and vulnerable people and were willing to trade misery for profit.

"Many agencies took part in Operation Factor, all with a common goal of keeping people safe."

Craig had also been charged with managing the men and women and living on earnings from prostitution, along with Mr McNeil, from Hamilton and Mr Dryburgh, of Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire.

Beukan had also been accused of managing prostitutes and arranging accommodation and advertising for them at various addresses in Glasgow and Aberdeen, between January 2009 and September 2010.

Craig was also accused of being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

All of the pleas of not guilty by each of the accused were accepted for these charges.
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CavynautOffline
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PostPosted: 11-09-2011 16:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

ramonmercado wrote:
I wonder how Vanessa Redgrave views this?


Why would you wonder?
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 11-09-2011 16:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cavynaut wrote:
ramonmercado wrote:
I wonder how Vanessa Redgrave views this?


Why would you wonder?


Well, she was easily taken in by Travellers who believe they don't need planning permission to build houses.

There are too many on the left who will not criticise any aspect of traveller culture.
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CavynautOffline
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PostPosted: 11-09-2011 23:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

ramonmercado wrote:
Cavynaut wrote:
ramonmercado wrote:
I wonder how Vanessa Redgrave views this?


Why would you wonder?


Well, she was easily taken in by Travellers who believe they don't need planning permission to build houses.

There are too many on the left who will not criticise any aspect of traveller culture.


With all due respect (and I have a lot of respect for you personally), the article simply says that the 'slaves' were discovered on a traveller site. It doesn't mean that travellers habitually keep slaves or that traveller sites are havens of slavery. It just seems unfair to me to imply, however obliquely, that travellers should be associated with such practice.
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Mal_ContentOffline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 02:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

The timing looks a bit suspicious doesn't it.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 06:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

12 September 2011 Last updated at 07:17
Five quizzed over Greenacre travellers site 'slavery'

Five people are still being questioned by police over the discovery of 24 men suspected of being held against their will at a Bedfordshire traveller site.
Four men and a woman were arrested on Sunday on suspicion of committing slavery offences at Greenacre caravan site in Leighton Buzzard.

The men, some English and some from eastern Europe, were found in "filthy and cramped" conditions, police said.
Detectives believe some may have been there for up to 15 years.

Those arrested, all residents of the caravan park, are being held on suspicion of committing offences under the Slavery and Servitude Act 2010.
They are being held at police stations across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
Weapons, drugs and money were also found at the site, police said.

The raid was launched as part of a long-running investigation by Bedfordshire Police after intelligence a number of men were being held against their will in poor conditions and forced to work for no pay.
The raid on the site, which involved more than 200 police officers and representatives of various agencies including welfare charities, began at 05:30 BST on Sunday.

The 24 men believed to be victims of slavery, were found in sheds and horse boxes, and were taken from the site to a medical centre.
Dozens of police vans remained at the site, which consists of a series of gated properties set off a winding road, until late Sunday afternoon.

Det Ch Insp Sean O'Neil said: "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.
"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.
"Because of the number of victims and suspects and the size of the site, we needed the assistance of many officers from specialist units."
The major crime unit was assisted by dog sections, helicopter and firearms support, and officers from the UK Human Trafficking Centre.

Mr O'Neil said the men appeared to have been "recruited" from soup kitchens and benefits offices and included people with problems such as alcoholism.
He said: "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.

"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.
"That's the worse case. Some are treated a little bit better but they were told they could not leave and if they did they would be beaten up and attacked.

"But in fact some people did leave and told us what was going on and when we looked back since 2008 we were aware of 28 people who had made similar accusations."
Police have appealed for help and asked anyone with any information to contact them in confidence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-14878181
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merriman_weirOffline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 08:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

The size of this 'operation' is boggling, both in terms of captives and the length of time this has gone on. Also, how big is this site? How many 'travellers' are there? It must be quite a few, judging how many police went in. Given the nature of 'travelling' communities who are meant to be a very close-knit but widespread network, I find it impossible to believe that more than 5 people weren't in on this.

Also, it's hard not to read this story and not be reminded of various bits of folklore, Hunchback of Notre Dame etc regarding the 'gypsies as kidnappers' meme.
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 08:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

merriman_weir wrote:
...

Also, it's hard not to read this story and not be reminded of various bits of folklore, Hunchback of Notre Dame etc regarding the 'gypsies as kidnappers' meme.

Roma 'Gypsies' (as portrayed in the Hunchback and folklore) and 'Travellers' are two quite separate and distinct groups. Competitors for the same narrow niche on the margins of society. By and large, ne'er the twain shall meet.

It is probably quite possible for criminal gangs to develop within tight knit and marginalised communities, shielded by the traditional family, or community ties and allegiances of the marginalised. Probably got more to do with the seasonal vagaries of nomadic fruit, hop, vegetable and flower picking gangs.
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merriman_weirOffline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 11:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pietro_Mercurios wrote:
merriman_weir wrote:
...

Also, it's hard not to read this story and not be reminded of various bits of folklore, Hunchback of Notre Dame etc regarding the 'gypsies as kidnappers' meme.

Roma 'Gypsies' (as portrayed in the Hunchback and folklore) and 'Travellers' are two quite separate and distinct groups. Competitors for the same narrow niche on the margins of society. By and large, ne'er the twain shall meet.


That's a fair point. I've queried the genetics and racial identity of 'travellers' on another thread, recently.

I'm curious as to the timeline of the folklore pertaining to travellers. I'm under the impression that the majority of 'travellers' in this country are now Irish rather than Roma. Have they 'displaced' Roma in a population numbers sense? How does the folklore/rumour correlate with the actual travelling population changes?
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Quake42Offline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 11:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm curious as to the timeline of the folklore pertaining to travellers. I'm under the impression that the majority of 'travellers' in this country are now Irish rather than Roma. Have they 'displaced' Roma in a population numbers sense?


I understand that the number of Irish Travellers in the has UK increased significantly since the 90s when Ireland passed legislation which effectively criminalised trespass. Ramon may know more.

No idea what effect, if any, this may have had on Roma Gypsies but (other than recent Eastern European migrants) they seem rarely seen these days.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 11:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cavynaut wrote:
ramonmercado wrote:
Cavynaut wrote:
ramonmercado wrote:
I wonder how Vanessa Redgrave views this?


Why would you wonder?


Well, she was easily taken in by Travellers who believe they don't need planning permission to build houses.

There are too many on the left who will not criticise any aspect of traveller culture.


With all due respect (and I have a lot of respect for you personally), the article simply says that the 'slaves' were discovered on a traveller site. It doesn't mean that travellers habitually keep slaves or that traveller sites are havens of slavery. It just seems unfair to me to imply, however obliquely, that travellers should be associated with such practice.



The problem is that its impossible to criticise travellers in any way without being accused of racism. The people involved in this slavery are from a leading Irish Traveller family. I find it hard to believe that the other travellers on the site were unaware of what was going on. A relatively large number of slaves were imprisoned there.

No, it doesn't mean that travellers habitually keep slaves but a large number of enforced labour cases have involved traveller and romany gangmasters.

It is an area that settled people are involved in and also travellers and romany are involved.

I'll post more info.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 11:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mal_Content wrote:
The timing looks a bit suspicious doesn't it.


Should the police have left the men in slavery a bit longer?
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 11:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Travellers face slavery charges as UK police raid site at dawn
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2011/0912/1224303946851.html
MARK HENNESSY, London Editor

Mon, Sep 12, 2011

FIVE IRISH Travellers, four men and a woman, were arrested in England yesterday by heavily-armed officers in a dawn raid, suspected of enslaving dozens of immigrants and homeless UK citizens for up to 15 years.

Twenty-four alleged victims, mostly eastern European, but including a number of British, were found held in appalling conditions in rundown caravans and a garden shed on the Travellers’ caravan site in Little Billington in Bedfordshire.

Last night, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Constabulary indicated charges against the five under the Slavery and Servitude Act will follow over the next two days, while they continue to search for three others suspected of involvement.

The alleged victims held at the Green Acres caravan park were allegedly brought there after being offered work laying tarmac or doing house maintenance, but were allegedly held captive, forced to seek work and hand over their earnings.

Some of the alleged victims had been recruited at welfare benefit offices, employment exchanges, charity soup kitchens, or at aid organisations helping those suffering from alcoholism or with drug addictions.

“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. 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.

“Some are treated a little bit better, but they were told they could not leave and if they did they would be beaten up and attacked,” said Det Chief Insp Seán O’Neil of the constabulary’s major crimes unit.

Detectives have been investigating the slavery allegations for up to four years, he said, though the constabulary says it struggled to act until new anti-slavery legislation was passed in 2010 and witnesses were prepared to make formal statements.

Last night, the 24 were still receiving medical care, though a number are badly malnourished. One was fouled with excrement when discovered as they slept four to a caravan, while two were freed from a garden shed by police, who raided at 5.30am.

“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. We believe 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,” said Det Chief Insp O’Neil.

Yesterday’s raid followed an approach from a former victim, who alleged he had been held by a gang who repeatedly beat him and threatened him with even worse consequences if he tried to escape.

Privately, police believe that they have made a major breakthrough in an investigation into such activities.

The five arrested yesterday, in the operation that involved 200 officers, some heavily-armed, were still being questioned late last night at several police stations. Weapons and drugs are alleged to have been found.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 12-09-2011 11:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Lengthy intelligence work led to arrests of Travellers on suspicion of slavery
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0912/1224303946705.html
MARK HENNESSY, London Editor

Mon, Sep 12, 2011

BACKGROUND: THIS YEAR a man contacted Bedfordshire police, alleging he had been enslaved, frequently beaten and threatened with more violence after being offered work outside a job centre.

The allegations prompted months of covert intelligence and led directly to a dawn raid yesterday by 200 police, complete with armed officers, helicopters and dogs, on an Irish Travellers’ caravan site in Little Billington, south of Milton Keynes.

Twenty-four people, whom police believe had been held hostage, were taken away for medical treatment and interviews: some were Slovakian, others Polish or Romanian. A few were English, who had been homeless before arriving at the Green Acres site.

Five Irish Travellers, four men and a woman, have been arrested under the Slavery and Servitude Act 2010, a rarely used piece of legislation brought in after fears that criminal gangs across Europe were combining to enslave the weak.

Some of the alleged victims held at Green Acres had lived in dilapidated caravans, four at a time; two had slept in a garden shed, while police believe others had been kept in a horse box, although that was not present yesterday. One was soiled with excrement, others were badly malnourished, sources said.

“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 Det Chief Insp Sean O’Neil.

“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,” added Det Chief Insp O’Neil, of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Constabulary’s major crimes unit.

The alleged victims had been recruited and offered work laying tarmac, or other such jobs, after they left welfare benefit offices or job centres in the region, but instead, endured beatings and were forced to tout for work and hand over the monies earned.

The Travellers settlement at Green Acres is long-established, privately owned and licensed. It is near the town of Leighton Buzzard and has 20 brick-built homes on eight plots, along with other Traveller caravans.

Bedfordshire police are no strangers to the site. Police spokeswoman Jo Hobbs said officers had been called out there in the past in connection with allegations of violence. “We have had our suspicions about the site for some time.”

The UK’s Human Trafficking Centre has been investigating allegations that criminal gangs have been co-operating across Europe to send illegal immigrants into Britain, who then end up in the clutches of enslavers.

“This is a form of human trafficking that the UKHTC recognises and has helped a number of police forces with over the past two years,” a spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph, adding that British citizens had been found held against their will in earlier inquiries.

Last night, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Constabulary continued to question the five arrested yesterday, but were also hunting for three others wanted for questioning in connection with the Green Acres discovery.

Saying the numbers of suspected victims involved forced the police to mount a major operation, Det Chief Insp O’Neil said: “We are aware the operation has caused a lot of disruption to the other residents of the site and we thank them for their co-operation and understanding.”

Last year, lobby group Anti-Slavery International warned that slavery in Britain was becoming increasingly frequent, with up to 4,000 young women alone brought in to be forced into a life of prostitution without pay, “sometimes with 20 men a night”, or required to work for 18 hours a day as domestic servants.
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