Following news of a police raid that lead to the discovery of 24 men being kept in virtual slavery in the UK, the Times of London (subscription required) has discovered that police believe up to 100 people were being kept as slaves across the country.
The British newspaper reports that the men were being kept captive by a network of Irish travellers who recruited and kidnapped vulnerable and homeless people who were then forced into hard labour in the UK and Scandinavia.
Four men were arrested and charged in the UK last night, while another man has been arrested in Denmark.
However, there are some that dispute the label of “slavery” — including some of the slaves themselves.
“I think it’s all a load of rubbish and they just hate travellers,” one man working at the site told the Guardian. “Plenty of men who were here wanted to be here and they were getting paid. The police coming in heavy-handed like this is just wrong.”
travellers, or “gypsies”, have long the focus of discrimination in the UK, have been sparked controversy in multiple incidents recently. One notable case, involving the removal of a largely Irish campsite, has led to the intervention of the United Nations, reports The Journal.
Here’s Channel 4’s report on the controversy:
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