Forced Labour Modern Slavery

What a Month in the United Kingdom

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[Sam McKenzie]

the United Kingdom’s largest modern slavery ring has been broken

If you’re an avid sports fan you’ll know that both Wimbledon and the Cricket World cup have recently wrapped up in emphatic fashion. Wimbledon saw the longest ever Men’s Final in its history and England held the cricket World Cup trophy aloft.

Significant events with extensive media coverage; certainly warranted. So, at 30 Million to None, we feel obliged to bring you further good news of events happening in England that you might have missed while watching these fantastic sporting events.

England might have won the Cricket World Cup and records might have been broken at Wimbledon, but the United Kingdom’s largest modern slavery ring has been broken. I’m almost lost for words as I write this; such positive news. Here’s what happened:

Eight people were jailed from a gang that exploited 400 victims. The 400 victims were subjected to horrendous, forced labour conditions that saw them work for 50p a day as they earned millions for the members of a Polish criminal gang. The Polish gang preyed on the homeless, alcoholics and ex-prisoners with promises of employment and accommodation in Britain. The promise of “working on farms, rubbish recycling centre and poultry factories in the Midlands, they were made to live in cramped, rat-infested accommodation and reduced to going to soup kitchens and food banks to get enough to eat”. This led Judge Mary Stacey to describe the horrendous accounts of modern slavery as the “most ambitious, extensive and prolific: modern day slavery network ever uncovered in Britain.

In what appeared to be quite an elaborate scheme of slave labour, where brutality was commonplace, it is also the financial, emotional and psychological abuse that took place which serves as a reminder. A reminder that slave-like conditions can be happening anywhere and at any time.  All of England was focusing on Lords and the Super-Over, or Wimbledon where history was again taking place. Yet, the United Kingdom’s largest modern slavery ring was being broken and it wasn’t receiving the same attention. Now, I’m not trying to downplay sporting history in any way, but I don’t think the 400 victims being subjected to slave-labour were watching England hold aloft the Cricket World Cup Trophy for the first time.

So, whilst sport has certainly been a winner over the last month. It’s important that we celebrate that the United Kingdom’s largest modern slavery ring was broken and that the 400 victims of this slavery ring won’t be subjected to horrendous conditions any longer.

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