From the New York Times:
Slavery Ensnares Thousands in U.K. Here’s One Teenage Girl’s Story.
By CEYLAN YEGINSU NOV. 18, 2017
… A report by a British government commission on modern slavery and human trafficking, released last month, described a sprawling practice that ensnares tens of thousands of people in Britain.
Many are immigrants. But the high number of victims from Britain was an unexpected shock — cases involving British citizens like the teenage girl were the third-largest grouping, after those involving Albanians or Vietnamese.
A majority of child-trafficking victims were also found to be British. …
“We kind of let it slip that we have vulnerable people in our own communities,” Kevin Hyland, Britain’s first independent antislavery commissioner, said in an interview. …
Then, during the school holidays in July last year, the teenager disappeared. It was not until seven months later, after her mother said she had resigned herself to the fact that her daughter might be dead, that a detective told her that she had been kidnapped and enslaved.
“Enslaved?” the mother, whose identity is also being concealed to protect her daughter, recalled asking the officer. “I just kept repeating that word. I didn’t understand it,” she said in a London park where she often goes to try to manage a panic disorder that developed after her daughter’s disappearance.
During the months when her daughter was missing, “I thought about every possible scenario that could have happened to her,” her mother said. “But slavery? I didn’t even know that happened in England.”
Britain recorded 2,255 modern slavery offenses across England and Wales last year, a 159 percent increase from the previous year. According to the government commission, the rise suggests that, while slavery might be increasing, so is awareness among the police and public. …
The man was grooming the teenager to “go country,” meaning that she would become a drug runner. While most British citizens are trafficked for labor or sex, an increasing number of young people are being drawn into the drug world because of the relatively new phenomenon of distributing narcotics from urban hubs to small towns. …
“Everything changed,” the girl recalled. “Ziggy started to beat me and told me I wasn’t worth anything to them anymore.” …
When members of the gang and different drug addicts started to rape her every night, she finally decided that nothing could be worse.
Did Ziggy look more like Ziggy Stardust or Ziggy Marley, or somebody in-between? There’s no mention in the article of the ethnicity of the grooming gang.
On a Sapir-Whorf note, the English-speaking world used to have a term for this, but now we don’t: white slavery. Not surprisingly, England now has more white slavery than back when everybody knew the term. From Wikipedia:
To battle sex trafficking in the United States, in 1910 the US Congress passed the White Slave Traffic Act (better known as the Mann Act), which made it a felony to transport women across state borders for the purpose of “prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose”. Its primary stated intent was to address prostitution, immorality, and human trafficking, particularly sexual trafficking. As more women were being trafficked from foreign countries, the US began passing immigration acts to curtail aliens from entering the country. Several acts such as the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924 were passed to prevent emigrants from Europe and Asia from entering the United States. Following the banning of immigrants during the 1920s, human trafficking was not considered a major issue until the 1990s.