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British police freed 24 people over the weekend, some of whom had been in a state of virtual slavery for up to 15 years, reports Channel 4 News. Five people were arrested when police raided the caravan site in the early hours of Sunday morning. They found 24 “enslaved” people reportedly in a poor state of health. Nine of these did not wish to cooperate with any police investigation.
Eight of the remaining men were British, while the others constituted a variety of European nationalities.
A police spokesman said that the situation was being taken “extremely seriously.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
The BBC reports that the men had been targeted at “benefit offices, jobs centres and soup kitchens” and promised £80 a day ($126 a day) for laboring work. Once they were at the site they had their heads shaved and were kept against their will, receiving no money for their work. They were only freed when escapees told the police.
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