It’s no surprise that slavery still exists in the present day. Foreign workers in Saudi Arabia are treated like the property of the wealthy people who own them. And there are “indentured workers” in many countries, who are “paying back” a “debt” to the criminals who smuggled them into Europe/USA. But the story in the Guardian is still stunning: 3 women of various ages have been freed by the police after one of them saw a report about modern-day slavery and worked up the courage to contact the Freedom Charity, who work to stamp out these horrific crimes. One of the women rescued from their “owners” in Lambeth, South London, is 30 years old and may never have left the house where they lived.
These are brutal, horrific crimes that might be happening in your next door neighbour’s house right now, as this Lambeth story demonstrates. And it is clearly difficult to detect. If the slave is not as brave as the women involved in this particular case, how can the police even know it’s happening?
EDIT: It now appears that the older slaves and their “owners” used to be in a tiny but extreme ultra-left Marxist/Leninist/Maoist organisation, the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. 74 year old Aravindan Balakrishnan, aka “Comrade Bala” was the leader and his wife Chanda Balakrishnan, aged 67, a fellow activist. It seems that the 2 older slaves may have been members of the group, and the youngest slave may be Comrade Bala’s child. It was believed that the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought had been inactive since the 1970s. But now it looks like at least one tiny splinter group has been active until very recently!