Michael, now 32, is from Hertfordshire. Life had not been easy for Michael. He had found school difficult and when he left he was unable to find work and became depressed and started drinking heavily. His drinking meant it was difficult for him to maintain relationships with his friends and family and soon he wound up homeless and having to sleep rough. He was 23 years old. One day, at the soup kitchen, he was approached by a man named Liam who offered him a job on a farm. He would be given food, accommodation as well as £70 a day in wages. Michael was a little nervous but it was a chance to turn his life around so he went with Liam.
While Liam, and his wife Coleen, were nice at first, it was not long before the situation changed. Michael was forced to work from 5am to 9pm and had to sleep on a mattress in the barn. The food he was given left him hungry and ill and him and the other men working there were regularly beaten and threatened. Once, when Michael collapsed from exhaustion he was beaten so badly that two of his ribs were broken. He was trapped in this situation for years as the beatings and threats made him too scared to leave and he didn’t know who he could turn to. Finally, the police raided the farm and arrested Liam and Coleen. Michael was eventually able to trust the police and talk about his experience. Liam and Coleen received 15 years in prison.
Case stude from Gwent Police, Wales