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Homeless people forced into slavery

 
July 17th 2012
 

 

Four members of a family of Irish travellers who “brutally manipulated and exploited” homeless men by forcing them into servitude were jailed this month after being convicted at Luton Crown Court.

The workers were treated as “modern day slaves” kept in squalid conditions by Tommy Connors Snr, 52, his son Patrick Connors, 20, his daughter Josie, 31, and her husband James John Connors, 34, the court heard.

Twenty-two men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were found with broken ribs, scars and wounds during a police raid on Greenacres caravan park in Bedfordshire last year. Some had been living in horse boxes and sheds. One even had scurvy.

During the trial, the jury heard that the men were forced to work in the Connors’ block paving business and were given next to no food, forced to wash in cold water and paid little or no money for working up to 19 hours a day.

One man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, described a life of being treated “like a slave”. He was recruited in 2004, when John James saw him in a “distressed state” in a service station, the judge said.

“He was an alcoholic. In three months he was weaned off alcohol. Your purpose was to put him to work... He lived in a caravan with no toilets or washing facilities, he had to go to the toilet in a nearby field.”

The man had to work from 5am to around 9pm on driveway work and then had to clean the Connors’ caravan to “an immaculate condition”. “He said he was beaten and practically starved, he was punched, kicked and hit with a broom handle,” the judge said.

Another man said he felt “worse than a slave”. He managed to escape and told police the couple took his benefit money from him and forced him to perform hard manual labour for up to 16 hours a day, unpaid.

The United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre said that similar criminal enterprises exploiting workers may be operating at other traveller and gipsy sites.

Seven members of the Connors family were on trial but the jury failed to reach verdicts on charges regarding Tommy Jnr, 27, Johnny, 28, and James, 24, after deliberating for nine days.

 
 
 

 

Contents

New arrivals hit the streets

Soup Run Forum

Web only: Emergency Islington shelter remains open during sub-zero temperatures

Chairman of the board

Rest in peace - in memory of lost friends

Prince poses

Starter pack boost

Wearing a jacket to beg?

Teens found guilty of killing Ralph Millward

The Passage withdraws service "as a last resort"

New learning centre for Glasgow

iHobo game causes controversy

Auckland extends ban on rough sleepers

Homeless interrogation

Affordable housing development opens in Edinburgh

Who decides?

Credit unions

New counts are optional

Nobby on stage

I will never forget you, my people

London homeless services in limbo over ?Ǭ£3.28m cuts

Disused night shelter re-opened for winter months

Coventry Cyrenians forced to cut services

London hub success for new rough sleepers

Crisis Skylight in Birmingham - a year on

Residents look ahead to staff upheaval

Midland Heart report

Labour call for hefty council tax levy on empty homes

Stik pic for the American Church

Lottery grant means new opportunities

Mungo?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s launches women?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s campaign

Homeless people forced into slavery

Homeless couple marry in Australia

Number of homeless in Southend underestimated

Basic banking for all

NSNO expands into west London

Scottish homeless applications drop by 19 per cent

Miami cannibal

Invisible People film UK homeless

The demilitarised zone in North America’s drug war

2012 - the year of the right to permanent accommodation in Scotland?

Crisis at Christmas

The Pavement is recruiting

Rough sleeper donates $250 to charity

Food voucher scheme scrapped

Commemorating friends and companions

Human rights for all

First person: Gemskii on regaining control of her life

The shades come off

Upfront: spikes

Comment: Spikes are the least of your worries

Opinion: All up in smoke?

Heartbreak Hotel, episode 4.

The Pied Piper of Housing

March for the Homeless

Being homeless doesn't mean you can't vote on May 7

The vulnerability ruling

The Queen’s speech

Criminalising homelessness

116-bed hostel for young homeless to close in Southwark

Sponsor a bed and rebuild a life

Hipsters neutralise anti-homeless spikes

What the Brexit will happen now?

Anti-homelessness protesters threatened with eviction, jail by Manchester city council

Showing our impact

Rebirth

The birth of the North Gower Action Group

A pianist, an artist, a dog called George and a new homeless app

Living water

Midwinter blues?

Councils back change in law to tackle rising homelessness

Having problems with your JSA?

Mayoral hustings on homelessness

Skippering

A major step in reducing homelessness?

Liverpool Police homeless curb beggars belief

Charity begins at home?

Legal aid charade

Surviving the streets – by those who've done it

Stop the scandal

Glasgow homeless services at risk

Bill gives councils legal duty to stop homelessness

Homeless Grenfell survivors afraid of deportation

Remembering those who have died in the past year

 

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