I was shocked and saddened to read this headline: “Eight men rescued from suspected slavery Little Testwood Farm in Calmore“:
POLICE have rescued eight men from a site in Totton following an investigation into potential slavery and servitude.
Officers from Hampshire Constabulary, supported by the National Crime Agency, executed a warrant around 6am today at Little Testwood Farm on Salisbury Road, Calmore. The men are aged between 21 and 46 and are a mix of Romanian, Latvian and Polish nationalities. Police also recovered industrial equipment that is believed to have been stolen.
A 27-year-old man from Luton was arrested on suspicion of knowingly holding another person in slavery or servitude and remains in custody.
The men have been taken to a survivor reception centre where they are receiving emotional and practical support. The centre is run by officers from Amberstone, Hampshire Constabulary’s specialist interview support team, with assistance from the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Hampshire County Council and the NHS.
Detective Inspector Phil Scrase from Southampton CID said:
“As this morning’s action shows, we’ll take swift action against anyone suspected of exploiting vulnerable members of society for their own gain. We know that people are being trafficked, exploited and enslaved across the country including here in Hampshire. I’d urge anyone with concerns, suspicions or information that could help our enquiries to contact us in confidence. For example, if you’re being offered cheap labour that’s too good to be true for the amount it costs, ask yourself: who’s really paying?”
Anyone with information about slavery, servitude, exploitation or trafficking can call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. If you don’t want to speak to the police directly, you can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the national slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700