Friday links: Homeless vulnerable to slavery and the moment a slave is freed in Nottingham

Every Friday we share the latest news on modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK. Keep up to date by following us on twitter (@theclewer) or Facebook, where we will share the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter

Human traffickers lure UK's homeless into modern slavery: charities

Charities have been saying for some time that homeless people are vulnerable to modern slavery, and as winter picks up pace the offer of a job and bed may be too difficult to turn down, no matter how sketchy it looks. In the next few weeks we will be releasing a short video on the risks of modern slavery to homeless people. Keep an eye on our twitter to make sure you don't miss it. 

While modern slavery affects many sections of society, we feel this group (homeless people) is particularly vulnerable. There have been occasions outside our own service where traffickers have been attempting to ‘recruit’ our clients.
— Carly Jones, Chief Executive of Sifa Fireside

Greetings card slave worker kept in Nottingham loft

The moment when a slave worker being kept in a loft in Nottingham was found and rescued was widely circulated this week after his exploiter was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment. Edward Zielinski forced two men to give over the majority of their wages to him, made them work long hours, and locked them in his loft, where they had to urinate in plastic bottles so they wouldn't wake Zielinski and his wife by going to the toilet. Last week we learned that the churches and communities of Nottingham are working together to stop crimes like this from happening again. 

You made them live in squalor and took away their incomes. You took away their dignity as human beings, you fully exploited their vulnerability, you were able to brow beat and control them through threats and intimidation.
— Judge Gregory Dickinson QC
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Modern slavery awareness booklet from the Home Office

The Home Office has produced an 11 page booklet for public sector workers to raise awareness of modern slavery and help staff to identify victims. It's aimed at those who work with the public, including anyone who works in education, health, or for a local authority. The booklet includes lots of case studies, guidance on the signs of modern slavery and instructions on how to report. 





'Terrible conditions': police uncover abuse and exploitation on farms in Sicily

Last week's revelations about labour exploitation in tomato farms in Puglia have been followed this week by news of 'terrible conditions' in farms in Sicily, where hundreds of Romanian workers sleep in tents with no heating or water. The police investigation follows reporting by the Observer in March of this year. They interviewed Romanian women who said they were suffering from sexual exploitation, as well as being forced to work long hours in the fields. 

Of 40 farms we raided, only two were in order. In the other 38, we found workers living and working in terrible conditions in shacks with no heating or water. Some of the farm owners we arrested did not even think they were committing crimes. They saw themselves as benefactors, providing people with work and a roof to sleep under regardless of whether they were then subjecting those workers to exploitation.
— Antonino Ciavola, head of the police unit

That's it from us this week. Keep up to date with us the rest of the week by following us on twitter (@theclewer) or Facebook, where we will share the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter

Photo by Peter Clarkson on Unsplash