Police in Sligo are investigating claims that a Traveller gang is using vulnerable adults as “slaves” as part of their debt-collection team.
It is believed that the gang operates throughout the west and north-west of Ireland, according to the Irish Independent’s reports. Police are investigating allegations that the gang are holding “slaves” in squalid conditions in a house in County Sligo. These people are allegedly being forced to work for nothing, while working for the gang as debt collectors.
An illegal money-lending scam is also part of the probe.
The police were told about the gang’s illegal actions by on their victims, who has been moved to another town for their protection. The witness is due to speak to detectives.
A source told the Irish Independent “This man says he was forced to live in squalid conditions and kept almost as a prisoner and was regularly beaten.”
They continued, saying “The victim says he finally plucked up the courage to flee the house last week, jumping from an upstairs window and making his way to a garda [police] station for help. He has since been moved to another part of Ireland pending further inquiries.”
This incident is uncannily similar to the Connors family’s case in Britain. James John Connors (34) and his wife Josie (31) were recently convicted of two counts of forced labor at Luton Crown Court. They two were holding vulnerable men in their compound and forcing them to work as part of the paving company. They picked this men up on the streets or at homeless shelters.
Mr Connors was sentenced to 11 years behind bars while Mrs Connors was jailed for four years.
Four other Connors family members will face a retrial next April after the jury failed to reach a verdict on their charges.