4 men charged with slavery offenses in Britain

AP News

9/12/2011 4:22:56 PM - AP News

Authorities says four men have been charged with slavery offenses for holding a group of men in squalid conditions at a caravan site north of London.

Prosecutors said the men, who were all from the same family, were charged Monday with conspiracy to hold others in servitude and requiring them to perform forced labor.

They were arrested Sunday during a raid on the caravan site in Leighton Buzzard, north of London. A pregnant woman was also arrested but was released Monday on bail.

Police found 24 men, mostly of English and eastern European backgrounds, in poor health and in cramped and dirty conditions at the site. Officers said they believed some of the men had been working in a state of "virtual slavery" for up to 15 years.