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Archive for the ‘SLAVES’ Category

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A man identified as the ringleader of a forced labor case involving workers at a Trillium egg farm has been sentenced to 15 years in prison

Young people from Guatemala were forced to work at a Trillium egg farm and surrender their earnings, but Trillium was unaware workers were being victimized

The ringleader of a forced labor case at an Ohio egg farm has been sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison and deportation.

Aroldo Castillo-Serrano  plead guilty to charges stemming from a 2014 case where 10 people from Guatemala – eight of which were under the age of 18 – had been living at a trailer park with no heat and little to eat and were forced to work at a nearby Trillium Farms egg farm. The victims were also forced to surrender most of the money they earned while working at the farm as a means of payment for their ability to live in the United States. The families of the victims had been promised a good education for their children if they were allowed to leave Guatemala.

Once Castillo-Serrano serves his prison sentence, he will be deported to his native Guatemala, according to a Cleveland.com report.

Five other people have been sentenced for their involvement in the crime. He had originally been scheduled to be sentenced with co-defendants Conrado Salgado Soto and Pablo Duran Jr., but his sentencing was delayed. Soto was sentenced to more than four years in prison, while Duran was sentenced to about one year in prison.

Trillium Farms was unaware that the workers were being victimized and did not face any charges.

2 sentenced in case of forced labor at egg farm

The victims worked at a Trillium Farms location, but the company was unaware of the crimes being committed

Two men were given prison sentences while a third defendant had his sentencing delayed for their involvement in a forced labor case that victimized people who worked at a Trillium Farms egg farm.

The court action stems from a 2014 case in which federal agents raided a run-down trailer park near Marion, Ohio. Ten people from Guatelmala – eight of which were under the age of 18 — had been living there without heat and with little to eat.

Investigators said the victims in the case were forced to work at the farm and give most of their earnings to pay for their ability to live in the United States, according to an Associated Press Report in SC Now.

Trillium Farms, headquartered in Johnstown, Ohio, was not aware that the workers were being victimized and does not face any charges.

In a federal court on April 11, Conrado Salgado Soto, was sentenced to more than four years in prison, while Pablo Duran Jr. was sentenced to about a year in prison. Soto, prosecutors said, managed the victims’ employment. Duran, according to prosecutors, was involved in taking the victims to the farm.

A third suspect, Aroldo Castillo-Serrano, is believed to be the leader of the human smuggling operation. His sentencing will take place at a later date. He entered guilty pleas in 2014 for his involvement in the criminal activity.

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It was, in the words of one charity boss, “just an ordinary house in an ordinary street”.

Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland

Yet behind its doors, unbeknown to neighbours going about their daily lives, the elderly home owners were keeping three women as slaves in conditions that belonged to the pre-Victorian age.

For no fewer than 30 years the women had lived in such terror of the 67-year-old couple arrested on Thursday that they did not dare run away, call the police or confide in another living soul.

Physically and mentally abused, they had come to believe that they had no choice but to remain under the control of their captors.

“It was a life of domestic servitude,” explained Aneeta Prem, founder of the Freedom charity, which eventually secured the women’s release from the house in Lambeth, south London.

“They were there and they weren’t able to leave. They felt they were in massive danger. They were restricted in everything they could do.”

Helped to rescue three women: Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity.
Helped to rescue three women: Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity. Photo: AP

Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, of the Metropolitan Police’s human trafficking unit, said: “Their lives were greatly controlled. For much of it, they would have been kept on the premises.”

The oldest of the women was a 69-year-old Malaysian national; her fellow slaves were a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old Briton, thought to have been born in the house and kept in servitude for her entire life.

When they first fell under the control of their captors, who are described as “non-British”, Margaret Thatcher was beginning her second term as UK prime minister, Sally Ride was making history as the first woman in space and Return of the Jedi was filling cinemas.

Almost as shocking as what was to happen to the women over the next three decades was the fact that they felt unable, in 20th and 21st-century Britain, to cry out for help.

Mr Hyland said that they were allowed “some controlled freedom” but the mechanics of how they went outside and how far they were allowed to go remained unclear.

The youngest victim is thought to have been denied the opportunity of going to school. Whether neighbours even knew she existed is another as yet unanswered question.

“I don’t believe the neighbours knew anything about it at all,” said Ms Prem. “It was just an ordinary house in an ordinary street.”

The turning point for the women came on October 4, when they watched a BBC news report featuring Ms Prem calling on Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, to track children who did not return to school following the summer holidays.

Although the report was about child kidnappings, it featured the work of the Freedom Charity, and the women decided that they had at last found an organisation that they could trust.

On October 18, taking what they no doubt believed to be a huge risk, the 57-year-old Irish captive managed to evade the attention of her masters long enough to telephone the charity.

“The professionals shone through and made sure that call was taken seriously,” said Ms Prem. It was the first of a series of phone calls over the following week in which she talked to Vineeta Thornhill, the charity’s chief executive.

“We started in-depth talks to them when they could, it had to be pre-arranged. They gave us set times when they were able to speak to us.”

At first, the women were so frightened that they could not bring themselves to tell the charity the address of the house where they were being kept.

But over the course of several calls, the charity’s staff were able to build up a bond of trust with the women, until a clear picture of their terrible circumstances emerged along with the location where they were being held.

As a result, on October 25, the women were able to pluck up the courage to do something they had been unable to do in their 30 years of captivity: walk out of the door of their prison against their masters’ wishes.

The two younger women met charity workers and the police at a pre-arranged location and officers went to the address and rescued the 69-year-old.

“It was planned that they would be able to walk out of the property,” said Ms Prem. “The police were on standby. They were able to leave the property, but it was done in such a way … it was a very, very excellent way it happened.”

She said that the women had been held in a “controlled freedom”.

“I think basically that a controlled freedom would mean that there are part freedoms, but a lot of it can be psychological and a lot of it can be physical as well,” Ms Prem said. The women would previously have been allowed out of the house occasionally, but always escorted by their captors, she added.

It would take another four weeks before police could move in and arrest the alleged captors, such was the difficulty in coaxing hard facts out of the women that could be used as evidence.

“They were deeply traumatised, so information coming out from them was coming out slowly, that is one of the reasons for the gap before the arrests,” said a police source.

Mr Hyland said: “We had to work very carefully with these people who were highly traumatised and it was very difficult to establish the facts.

“We needed professional assistance from outside agencies. The last thing we wanted to do was increase that trauma.

“Until we had facts to justify where we are now, we delayed that arrest.”

He added: “Our unit deals with many cases every year but has never unearthed such a staggering example of people held against their will for their whole lifetime.”

The women – who police say were not sexually abused – are now in the care of a charity, which is helping them to adjust to freedom, a process which is likely to take months.

Ms Prem said: “They are going to be afforded all the help and support that can be given. I’m so grateful they saw the news. Now they will try to rebuild their lives. It was a very, very difficult life they led and all we can hope now is that they can move forward from this.”

The Telegraph, London

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GANG SELLING CHILDREN IN CHINA GETS BUSTED BY CHINESE POLICE

abused child pic

Chinese police have rescued 92 children and two women kidnapped by a gang for sale and arrested 301 suspects, state media said on Saturday.

Police simultaneously swooped on locations in 11 provinces on 11 September after a six-month investigation, China Central Television and state news agency Xinhua said, quoting the ministry of public security.

State media did not give a breakdown of how many boys and how many girls were kidnapped or give a reason for the delay in reporting the operation.

A traditional preference for boys, especially in rural areas, and a strict one-child policy have contributed to a rise in the trafficking of children and women in recent years.

Kidnapped women are sold to men in remote areas who are unable to find brides due to a sex imbalance resulting from the one-child policy, which has also encouraged sex-selective abortions.

The government would impose harsher punishment on people who buy kidnapped children, state television said.

Xinhua said the government would also punish parents who sell their children.

China has tried to stop the kidnapping and sale of children and women recently. In 2011, police said they had rescued more than 13,000 abducted children and 23,000 women over the past two years or so.

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