Monday, September 12, 2011

Bedfordshire Slaves held in horseboxes and kennels are freed after police swoop on travellers' camp in dawn raid - 12th Sept 2011

Two dozen modern day slaves held in appalling conditions were rescued when police raided a travellers' camp yesterday.

About 200 officers stormed the site where the men were being kept in filthy caravans, dog kennels and horseboxes.

Some were starving. The vulnerable victims had been lured from soup kitchens, benefit offices and hostels with promises of paid jobs and shelter.

Instead they became slaves after their ‘masters’ beat them into submission, stole their possessions and shaved their heads.

They were put to work in gruelling manual labouring jobs including paving driveways and clearing rubble because they were deemed cheaper than hiring machinery.

At least one man had been kept as a slave for 15 years. Investigators are now working to uncover the true scale of the horror amid speculation that there may have been hundreds of victims.

Five travellers – four men and a woman – from the site were arrested for offences under anti-slavery legislation introduced last year. Three more suspects were being hunted last night. Read More