12 September 2011
The British Red Cross has been called in by Bedfordshire Police to help set up a rest centre following a police raid on a caravan site in Leighton Buzzard on Sunday morning.
Police officers discovered 24 men, some English and some from eastern Europe, living in appalling conditions at a Bedfordshire site. It is suspected that they were being held against their will.
Police spokesman Sean O'Neil told BBC News: "The men we found at the site were in a poor state of physical health. We believe that some of them had been living and working there in a state of virtual slavery, some for just a few weeks and others for up to 15 years.”
The rest centre is providing shelter for the men while alternative accommodation is found and other necessary arrangements are made.
Melissa Magna, Red Cross service manager, said: “Our emergency response volunteers are offering emotional support and giving the men any practical help they need, such as clothing and hygiene kits. We have also provided recreational activities such as games, a radio and DVDs.”
She added: “While the rest centre is still open, we’ll be there day and night to ensure help is on hand.”
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