UK police free East European ‘slaves’
Rahvusvahelised uudised 17 Dec 2014  EWR
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Transitions Online 16.12.2014
A raid at a British picture-framing factory liberated 20 East European victims of a human trafficking ring who were working in conditions of virtual slavery, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Three men were arrested in the raid in the Manchester-area town of Rochdale, the 15 December report says. The workers were allegedly forced to work more than 12 hours a day for 25 pounds ($39) a week, after employers subtracted 100 pounds out of their weekly pay for expenses such as transportation and rent.

“This is a typical example of how modern slavery can work in the UK,” Detective Inspector James Faulkner of the Greater Manchester Police said. The raided factory’s customers included “major high street companies, with contracts running into the millions of pounds,” Faulkner said.

The raid was the most recent operation in a crackdown on human trafficking in Rochdale. In November, police broke up a gang they suspected of selling East European women to sham “husbands” for 3,000 pounds each, the Manchester Evening news wrote.

The gang was exposed when a pregnant Slovak woman came to a local hospital for an abortion. She claimed to have been sold to an Asian family. The reports do not specify the nationalities of other victims or suspects caught up in the raids.

Police said as many as 400 sham marriages may have taken place in Rochdale at a cost to the local economy of some $20 million in benefit payments and other public services.

UK authorities believe 10,000 to 13,000 people may be virtual slaves in Britain, the majority from Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam, and Romania, the BBC reports.

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