News Stories

Modern Slavery: Homeless White Men Shipped to Scandinavia and Europe

Not all slaves are black. In the UK, gypsies have been kidnapping homeless (mostly white) men and sending them abroad to work as virtual slaves. An investigation has discovered 32 victims of this practice. They are being transported to countries like Sweden, Norway and Belgium, where they are forced to work 14 hour days paving driveways (a traditional gypsy specialty) for little or no money. They are forced to live in cramped conditions and are threatened with violence. Many of these men are alcoholics or addicts. There is evidence that these gangs are also operating in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

One of these slaves died in captivity: Oliver Hayre, aged 22, died in a caravan fire in Sweden in 2005 after working in appalling conditions for a gypsy gang for more than three months. In another case, the Swedish police finally offered them help.

In BBC News, Alison Holt quotes one such slave, who wants to remain anonymous, as saying, "I've seen people threatened with pickaxes. I've seen people kicked, punched. I've nearly been pushed off a moving vehicle. It's very tense. You're waiting for the next thing to happen,." Like the others, he was promised a well-paying job when he was picked up.

Holt quotes Aidan McQuade, of Anti-Slavery International, as saying, "They are using very vulnerable people and especially in hard economic times, people have lost work, nowhere to live, thrown out from families."

Holt quotes Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, as saying, "That physically fit British men can be threatened or coerced into working without pay and living in fear for their safety reflects the brutal reality of modern slavery."

She quotes Oliver Hayre's father Martin as saying, "It's the 21st Century, we abolished slavery, but yet we haven't. My perception of the authorities is that they turn a blind eye to it and the intimidation to Oliver was real. It cost him his life."

Could it happen here? We have plenty of homeless men living on the streets of our cities, but it would cost too much to transport them to European and Scandinavian countries. But it could start happening in places like Mexico, where homeless men might be transported to newly booming industrial countries like Brazil, Argentina or Chile.

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The fact that this is happening AT ALL sickens the crap out of me. The people responsible for engaging in slave trafficking for profit should be imprisoned and forced onto a chain-gang to see what it is like to work as a slave first-hand.

Now, I have friends who live near the main point of origin for this story, which is Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, UK. This story made national headlines and we spoke about it, as they knew where the Travellers camp was. It is important to distinguish between genuine Gypsies (who largely live quietly and without causing a fuss) and the Irish Tinkers (Travellers) who are a big problem in the UK with their perceived anti-social behaviour, amongst other things. It appears that there is some truth to this story and undercover Police Officers had verified the justification of Police involvement. However, not all of the 'slaves' wanted to be removed and some remain, voluntarily, choosing the free lodgings for a hard day's work. Before anyone asks, no, I'm not a Gypsy, hehe, but when I see the word Gypsy used carelessly, it troubles me. I grew up in an area with Gypsies; they attended school all the way through and were simply not the troublemakers that these Irish Tinkers have become in the UK. I developed an admiration for genuine traditional Gypsies through my dealings with them in business. Ireland cracked-down on the Tinkers and guess what? They mostly came to soft-touch Britain to start over. Look at the result.. stories like this. My oh my...

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