After four months undercover at an Irish Traveller camp in the Bedfordshire county of England, British authorities rescued 24 people they believe to be slaves—but only 15 agreed to rescue. The other nine denied being slaves and returned to the camp. What is going on at the Greenacre Caravan Park of Leighton Buzzard?
Five caravanners have been arrested for luring men from homeless shelters with the promise of "work," only to enslave them under the guise of food and housing debts, sometimes for decades. The 15 who accepted rescue are being treated for "malnutrition and other medical problems." The wife of one of the alleged slavers explained,
Isn't it better that they have a roof over their head? What are they going to do now—when the police have finished with them they will be homeless. It's up to them how they kept their homes, but they could come and go whenever they pleased.
The Guardian interviewed an alleged slave who chose to stay at Greenacre Caravan. He said he'd been toiling for 15 years to pay off debt incurred by staying at a Traveller's house. (It's like a fairy tale: Sleep at the home of a transient stranger, become enslaved forever.) "The police told me I couldn't come back, but I told them it was my home and if I wanted to go back I would go back," he explained. Anti-slavery advocates blame Stockholm Syndrome. [Guardian via Irish Central, caravanner who is not a slaver via AP]