Nine members of Traveller family jailed for slavery

Nine members of Traveller family jailed for slavery”

The leader of a Irish travelling community based in the United Kingdom has been jailed for ten years and nine months for running a slavery ring.

Sentencing Rooney, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby, Lincolnshire, Judge Timothy Spencer QC contrasted the family's wealth, foreign holidays and expensive cars with the dirty caravans and squalid conditions their victims lived in.

The family travelled the country recruiting unemployed vulnerable men, setting them to work for meagre wages labouring for their various businesses.

Nearly all of the 18 victims were found to have mental health or drug and/or drink problems. Extraordinarily, one of the men was held by the family for 26 years.

He told the family: "Violence is a consistent theme in this case".

Nottingham Crown Court heard their victims were beaten and left without running water or toilet facilities.

If victims complained, the Rooneys would say they owed money and claim more labour to pay off the supposed debts, while providing alcohol and drugs as part of what prosecutors had described as a "grooming" process.

The family were described as being "chilling in their mercilessness" towards their victims.

The Friends, Families and Travellers group said the Rooney case was "not the norm in Traveller culture" and the judge "probably doesn't have much knowledge of Traveller culture".

According to the Guardian, the Rooney family of England have been incarcerated for violently exploiting at least 18 victims, including homeless people and men with learning disabilities. Another said he was forced to eat leftovers thrown at him on the ground.

An aerial view of Drinsey Nook, the site of a modern day slavery ring.

"And the jury's verdict made it crystal clear that society regards what was going on Drinsey as completely unacceptable".

"The victims will never get the years back that were taken away from them but I hope this provides them with some comfort that justice has been served and demonstrates that we will do everything in our power to try and stop others suffering in the ways that they did".

Forrester said he knew of "three or four" cases involving Travellers' sites that have resulted in modern slavery charges in the past five years.

"According to local authority-collected government data, there were, in January of this year, 12,276 caravans on privately owned sites, and the vast majority of these are occupied by families who are just as outraged by modern-day slavery as the vast majority of the non-Traveller communities".

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