Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The free and the unfree.

A nice angle over at The Bad Old Days Will End on the 'travellers and slavery' story. Or possibly non-story.

The discovery of a group of slave labourers at Leyton Buzzard  site in the run up to the eviction of the travllers' community at Dale Farm is both convenient and suspicious.

Ray is quite right in his post to also  raise the danger of us freedom-loving types instinctively  siding with the outsider who lives on the edges of society. Up close such communities can reflect exactly the same shit we see in the mainstream. In my own world I confess that sometimes I find myself romanticizing the outlaw MCs. But in reality, whatever the nobility of much of their ethos,   they often just act as predatory bullies. And  ironically those worst affected are often a group only slightly less on the periphery -  although indistinguishable in the eyes of Jo Public - the wider biking fraternity.

But specifically regarding the slavery angle in this story I do wonder about the police's motivation: Working in Soho I know that only a few yards away from my studio there is an open doorway to a staircase with a crudely hand-written sign advertising 'lovely new eastern European girl in town'. And its a sign that gets updated with a disturbing frequency.

I realise that the workings of the sex industry is  more complex and nuanced than simply human trafficking. But I also suspect that for every story of a Belle-de-Jour making an informed and voluntary career choice there is a parallel story about the exploitation of the vulnerable. Whilst I'm usually  loathe to suggest conspiracies of corruption, I can't help but notice that coppers must walk past these  doorways every half hour, often passing the respectable and be-suited punters on their way out. It seems like modern slavery doesn't raise too many eyebrows when it's an established part of the status quo. Like Woody Guthrie said:
Well, as through the world I've rambled, I've seen lots of funny men
Some rob you with a sixgun, some with a fountain pen
As through this world you ramble, as through this world you roam
You'll never see an outlaw drive a family from its home.

1 comment:

Iskra said...

Good article!

I was a bit sus as regards how quick the cops were with their press releases after (or probably prior to) this raid. I have since heard that most of those 'rescued' have since returned to the camp.

Perhaps the cops decided that travellers were riding high in the public sympathy polls after the coverage of the council evictions and Paddy Doherty winning BB, so had to do a negative PR job on them?
Who knows..