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200 modern slaves found working at flower farm
February 10, 2018
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LONDON: More than 200 potential modern slaves have been found working at a flower farm in Cornwall.

Police raided the property in the picturesque village of Manaccan and discovered mostly male migrants from Eastern Europe living in caravans on the site.

Two men aged 41 and 61 have been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences, while a third suspect was arrested on suspicion of being an unlicensed gangmaster.

They have been taken into custody as the workers undergo welfare checks by Cornwall Council, The Salvation Army and Red Cross at a specially-created reception centre.

“Those affected by this alleged crime are mostly male migrants thought to be from Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria,” a spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said Fourteen men, women and children aged between 17 and 40 have so far elected to receive support through the national referral mechanism.

The early-morning raid was supported by the Gang Masters and Labour Abuse Authority, HMRC, interpreters and specialists.

Bosahan Farm is run by a local company that specialises in bulbs, with hundreds of migrant workers understood to arrive every year for the local flower season.

The family firm is famed for its daffodils, which have been featured in the local press and at a church festival.

Kathryn Taylor, from The Salvation Army’s modern slavery unit, said anyone identified as a potential victim from Thursday’s operation would be supported.

“It is vital that all victims of modern slavery are given the opportunity to reflect on their experience in a safe and supportive environment, and to gain access to the assistance they so desperately need and deserve,” she added.

“Once they have been identified as potential victims The Salvation Army works with survivors of this heinous crime as they begin the long journey to rebuild their lives and their trust in humanity.”

Support includes counselling, interpreters, legal and immigration advice, healthcare, financial assistance and safe accommodation to help people escape the “horrendous trade in human lives.”

Flower-picking is among the seasonal trades known to be at risk of modern slavery in the UK, with other labour, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation also at risk.

The Independent

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