September 12th, 2011
12:25 PM ET

UK police raid suspected slave camp

British investigators were questioning suspects Monday after police rescued 24 men that they said were kept as slaves - some for as long as 15 years.

Police in Bedfordshire, northwest of London, arrested five suspects under a new anti-slavery law passed last year, alleging that they lured the men to a trailer park with promises of food and shelter, then threatened them with violence and forced them into hard labor.

The men, from England and parts of Eastern Europe, are "all believed to be victims of slavery," police said. Living in squalid conditions in the town of Leighton Buzzard, many of the men were on the verge of starvation, police said.

"There's no electricity. There's no running water. People haven't had their hair cut. (They're) wearing dirty clothing. And made to perform labor, rather than being given proper food and proper wages for their labors," said Detective Chief Inspector Sean O'Neil of Bedfordshire Police.

Tips from other alleged victims who had managed to escape the site led to a lengthy investigation that culminated in Sunday's raid, police said.

Bedfordshire Police issued a statement Monday saying that four of the five people in custody were being questioned. The fifth is a woman who "is pregnant and has been released on police bail and will be questioned further following the birth of her child which is imminent," the statement said.

Police identified the four men arrested as three brothers - James Connors, 23, Tommy Connors, 26, and Patrick Connors, 19 - and their brother-in-law, James Conner, 33. The four are scheduled for a court hearing Tuesday morning and will be held in custody until that hearing, police said.

Nine of the men rescued in the raid have left a medical reception and "have chosen not to support the police investigation," Bedfordshire Police said in the statement Monday.

"Those people who we continue to help are appreciative of the support that is on offer, but it will take some time to work through with them what has happened," O'Neil said in a statement.

Investigators are searching for two additional suspects, Bedfordshire Police said.

According to the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre, which assisted Bedfordshire Police in Sunday's operation, nearly 1,500 cases of slavery and human trafficking have been reported to British police in the past two years.

A new anti-slavery law passed last year in Britain means that anyone convicted of holding a person in servitude can spend up to 14 years in prison.

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Topics: In The News

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. sorry

    Sorry, I don't buy this, how can you do road work outside and be kept as a slave for 15 years? Sounds like illegals doing black market jobs were busted.

    September 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • DaLe

      if these road works were in country-side (with closed roads) and/or on motorways (with more or less high speed traffic), then there probably was barely any or no opportunity to escape ('warden/s' with gun).

      September 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • PBZ

      It seems odd that they were slaves for 15 years and one of the accused is 19?

      September 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • Edward Lane

      Eastern Europeans are unlikely to be illegals most of Eastern Europe is in the EU.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:45 am | Reply
    • Georgia Hull

      I agree that this story seems weird. What company did this? Why is the story so centered on the victims? Who is the perpetrator? And 15 years is a long time. No one in the area noticed.

      September 17, 2011 at 11:08 am | Reply
  2. ion

    'Romanian slave trade family' – wasn't that the news headline about romanians a few months ago? Why isn't this headline 'British slave trade family' ??? You r4c1st f4cks.

    September 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • meles

      They might be British, but the article says nowhere that they are indeed British. So why would the article have the title "British slavers"?

      September 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • DaLe

      Wasn't that about s3x slave trade? Seemed reasonable to remind not only a number of family daddies out there about the life circumstances of their exotic f4cks.. Not that they would necessarily care so or so of course, albeit it seems worth to give it a try to get them to their senses though, imo.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply
    • alan

      They are Irish Gypsies .These poor oppressed darlings of the liberal media have been 'rescuing' mentally disturbed waifs and strays since time immemorial..

      November 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  3. Babak from LA

    I am self employed and have a taste for making big bucks ... But there are lines we just don't cross. To inslave another human being to provide for our families ... hhmmmm that has bad karma written all over it. I think when we bust these types of slave rings the punishment should be for them to live like the people they were abusing.....

    September 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  4. Huw

    I was talking to a long term homeless guy in Swansea South Wales a few weeks ago and he said his worse nightmare was ending up as a slave to a traveling family. I thought he was making it up and then this happened. It seems to be widespread and maybe this will bring a few more to the surface. I know for a fact that a lot of homeless guys seem to just disappear from Swansea and I wondered where they all went.

    September 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  5. Bosey

    This can only be possible if the victims are totally dependent on some type of drugs.

    September 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Reply
    • melvinslizard

      Like Oxygen, or maybe protein? Those drugs?

      September 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  6. Lynn

    Something is not right about this story. If these people have been held in slavery for as long as 15 years, how come the people arrested are 23, 19, 26, and 33? I am not saying that it is not true. I have no doubt that this sort of thing is happening all over the UK, but we are definitely not getting the whole story here.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:09 am | Reply
  7. Mike Keith

    To live in England alone is to be a slave, who wants to live in that Socialist cesspool? Witches and Fairies running about.

    September 13, 2011 at 7:25 am | Reply
    • Zakir.

      Living in England is like a dream come true. the actions of a small minority should not be used to give a bad name to the whole population.

      September 13, 2011 at 8:51 am | Reply
    • Edward Lane

      Better than Afghan

      September 14, 2011 at 6:47 am | Reply
  8. Bilal

    if this happens in any 3rd world countries ,any one can imagine how the media and people react making it headline for days and giving all bad things for the country

    September 13, 2011 at 8:00 am | Reply
  9. Zakir.

    if this happens in any 3rd world countries ,any one can imagine how the media and people react making it headline for days and giving all bad things for the country

    September 13, 2011 at 8:47 am | Reply
  10. ColoredMountains

    People from all sides need sharper, functioning conscience. The West needs Christian education.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:59 am | Reply
  11. Regan Levendale

    "UK police raid suspected slave camp" people read the headline "SUSPECTED" not confirmed, let the police do further investigations and confirm if it's a slave camp or not! I'm sure this thing happens worldwide, at least we highlighting that it's not only in 3rd world countries but in 1st world countries too that modern slavery and trafficking is happening, it is up to us to end this heinous crime in our life time.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:27 am | Reply
  12. BIG JOHN

    Slavery should have never ended!!! I get so tired of these Nigers always blaming the Whites for all there problems! They act like animals, lean way in the back seat of the car, always talk loud, blast there music loud and say OOH GIRL, I KNOW THAT'S RIGHT!!! They want to tell us whites what to do now, they think we owe them something, because our ancesters did them wrong, we did nothing to you all since that happened but will always blame us for that and someday they want to do the same to us!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
    • NikkiP

      Wow, Big John – I'm trying my best to not judge you but you are incredibly ignorant, clearly uneducated and so devastatingly dumb that the only feelings I can possilby conjure (...look it up in the dictionary) towards you up are pity and disdain. I feel for you , it must be so hard going through life being a complete ass and a total moron.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  13. sue

    this story makes zero sense. Some men were held for 15 years ? but the people arrested are in their 20s? exactly what labor were these people doing? Im not saying something illegal wasnt going on but the story is poorly written and missing some key facts.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  14. Loya

    I read that Slavery was abolished in Great Britain Main Island in 1800.....64 years before 1864 Civil War in USA freeing Slaves...and before 1884 Colonial Britain abolishing Slavery in its Colonies....The Article says that UK has abolished slavery last year means in 2010....Funny and Confusing ! Modern Slaves as the Report says have bee doing hard work for 15 years without complain and Police noticing it...which kind of hard work? In Factories or in Open?. I suspect the Case is flaky and may not stand in Court.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:05 am | Reply
  15. ugama

    Antislavery forces in the North identified the "Slave Power" as a direct threat to republican values. They argued that rich slave owners were using political power to take control of the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court, thus threatening the rights of the citizens of the North.

    "Free soil" was a Northern demand that the new lands opening up in the west be available to independent yeoman farmers and not be bought out by rich slave owners who would buy up the best land and work it with slaves, forcing the white farmers onto marginal lands. This was the basis of the Free Soil Party of 1848, and a main theme of the Republican Party.Free Soilers and Republicans demanded a homestead law that would give government land to settlers; it was defeated by Southerners who feared it would attract to the west European immigrants and poor Southern whites. What are they after?

    September 14, 2011 at 4:42 am | Reply
  16. ugama

    Antislavery forces in the North identified the "Slave Power" as a direct threat to republican values. They argued that rich slave owners were using political power to take control of the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court, thus threatening the rights of the citizens of the North.

    "Free soil" was a Northern demand that the new lands opening up in the west be available to independent yeoman farmers and not be bought out by rich slave owners who would buy up the best land and work it with slaves, forcing the white farmers onto marginal lands. This was the basis of the Free Soil Party of 1848, and a main theme of the Republican Party. Free Soilers and Republicans demanded a homestead law that would give government land to settlers; it was defeated by Southerners who feared it would attract to the west European immigrants and poor Southern whites.what is their own reason for slavery?

    September 14, 2011 at 4:49 am | Reply
  17. tutuvabene

    The oldest accused would have been 18 when he started the slave operation, which I suppose, could be, if he was reallly savvy. What was the "labor" that these slaves were doing? If they were doing any kind of outside work how could they not be noticed, especially in a small town such as Leighton Buzzard where, presumably, everyone knows everybody else.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:19 am | Reply
  18. tutuvabene

    If the slaves were doing road work, as one of the other comments suggests, then the entire town was in on it. I'm not sure how it could be hidden.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:24 am | Reply
  19. tayor

    i d not think that this is right i personly think that just cause somebody is british they should not be slaves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I THOUGHT WE WERE OVER THIS SLAVERY YEARS AGO

    September 14, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  20. sunday arogbonlo

    Together we can all fight the fight of freedom,freedom is coming tomorrow...........heers

    September 16, 2011 at 7:05 am | Reply
  21. Oldfortman

    14 years in jail if they did it? How about a rope over a tree limb if they did it? You get my drift?

    September 16, 2011 at 9:10 am | Reply
  22. Martin

    the perpetrators? ......Irish knackers based in England. Lovely people, equal rights for all.

    September 18, 2011 at 3:32 am | Reply
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  29. Brian Smith

    This is known and common in the UAE where those local Emirates think they own people. They pretend to be Muslims when in fact they are away from being Muslims, particularly when they take advantage of people. Despite the fact that this is a rich country, over 90% percent of the Emirates are uneducated, stupid, corrupt and weird. The majority of them are even supported by their Sheiks, if they are not the stupid sheikhs themselves.

    Shame on them and God will punish them someday. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    May 6, 2013 at 5:09 am | Reply

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