The hunt for Britain’s slave gangs on FOUR CORNERS

The hunt for Britain’s slave gangs: the investigation that exposed a predatory network of human traffickers

“People need to know that in the 21st-century people can be used for money and treated like animals. That story needs to be told.” 

Witness for the prosecution

In a small police interview room, victim after victim came forward to give alarming accounts of being exploited by a predatory family crime gang that turned them into modern day slaves.

“We realised from the intelligence information we were gaining from the victims that behind all this was an organised crime group. A very organised crime group.” 

Undercover slavery investigator

Police and anti-slavery investigators were on the trail of a large family group who were trafficking hundreds of desperate and vulnerable people.

“It’s quite vindictive really, to do that to people from your own country. But she was making money. So I think it’s just a greed issue.” 

Investigating officer

Over three years, police tracked the family crime group who kept their victims in squalid conditions and stole wages to fund their own lifestyle. The trial that followed unmasked the family as the operators of Britain’s largest modern slavery ring.

“It’s the largest human trafficking, labour exploitation case in Britain ever… and it is taking down a very large organised crime group and gouging out its heart.”  

Anti-slavery barrister

With exclusive access to both the police investigation and the court case, the BBC’s Panorama program captured the dramatic events as they unfolded.

“I’m never confident… what the verdict will be, I have no clue. Because who knows what goes on in the room?” 

Barrister for the prosecution  

The case provides an insight into the staggering scale of modern slavery across the world.

“It is everywhere. We probably touch, receive, buy, something that has gone through the victim of human trafficking every day.” 

Lead investigator

Investigators and lawyers say this case stands as a powerful warning of how exploitative behaviour can take place in plain sight, and how much more needs to be done to stamp it out.

“We can’t stop this, not immediately, but we can try.  And we can educate and we can make a change and we can send a message and the message is we will not tolerate this behaviour here.” 

Anti-slavery barrister

It is replayed on Tuesday 22nd at 10.00am and Wednesday 23rd at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

Four Corners – Monday 21 September 2020 at 8:30pm on ABC and iview

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