The four Irish Travelers who were arrested on Sunday have appeared in court. They are charged with enslaving four men found at the camp site on Sunday following a 220-person strong police raid.
Last weekend 24 men were found at the Green Acres site in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, just outside London. Nine of the men have refused to cooperate with police inquiries. One man spoke out, to the Guardian, saying he had worked for the Travelers of his own free will.
However Fred Walker (20) came forward to confirm that these Irish Travelers have been enslaving the individuals who were down on their luck. He explained that he has escaped from this group of Travelers some time ago however he had been forced to work 12-hour days and was sometimes only given a slice of bread to eat.
Walker claims that 100 people are being kept as slaves on Traveler’s camps across the UK.
Speaking to the Sun he said “I couldn't leave as I was living in fear." He explained that at the age of 16 he was living on the streets when two men bought him a bottle of sherry.
“I was perhaps what you call a down-and-out,” Walker explained. “I’d been in trouble with the police and was addicted to drugs such as amphetamines. They preyed on my weaknesses at my lowest point. The only time I got paid was a paltry £20 ($30).”
The men said that if he went with them he would be given cash-in-hand work and his own caravan, with cable TV.
“None of that was true,” said Walker. “The van was cramped and you couldn't sleep properly. It was stuffy and smelly. We couldn't even wash at the site as there weren't any facilities.
"I was promised they would take me to the local swimming pool to have a shower but I was never given that privilege. It was simply a living hell."
Walker and the other slaves were carrying out hard physical work every day. He said "We were putting up expensive roofs and laying roads. After a really hard 12-hour day they would get you a can of cider.”
He continued "The food was terrible, normally a tin of spam or corned beef on a slice of bread. I didn't eat a hot meal in months. I probably lost a stone."
From November 2008 Walker was kept at Green Acres. He said “I was then introduced to a gang who took me to do more work in Germany.
"They told me I would have the perfect life. But I decided to leave. "I saw two British military police officers in Munich and they got me back to Britain. A church group paid for my flights."
Another man, Mickael (30), was too afraid to give his full name. He told the Sun that he had been dragged to Travelers’ sites in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Gloucester. He said that his “captors” had also brought him to Denmark, Norway and Holland to work.
Mickael is a French-born chef who had been down on his luck after his marriage split up.
He told the Sun that his “masters” had once beaten him so hard that they broke his ribs.
He said “Every day is constant bullying.”
Mickael escaped from the Travelers three months ago. He is now living on the streets.
On Sunday the police confirmed that they had found 24 minimum living in grimy condition. They were living in tiny caravans, sheds and horseboxes. They were forced to do labor for little food.
The group of Travelers, three brothers and their brother-in-law (James (Jimmy) Connors, 23, Tommy Connors, 27, and Patrick Connors, 19, James (Big Jim) Connors, 33) appeared at Luton Magistrates' Court.
The men have been charged with conspiring to hold four people in servitude.
The police believe that some of the 24 men found in Leighton Buzzard were going to be trafficked to Scandinavia. They also believe that other victims have already been taken out of the UK.
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