The Beds and Herts Major Crime Unit rescued 24 slaves on Sunday by pouncing into the traveler's site during a raid at Greenacres in Leighton Buzzard. They included other specialist units including dog section, helicopter and firearms support unit in the operation.
Over 100 police offers took part in the rescue operation. The slaves were kept in a "smutty" condition.
According to police, one man was kept in dog dirt and others were in a miserable condition. The male slaves were kept in horse boxes and sheds for 15 years. Out of the 24 slaves, two were from Russia, three from Poland and two from Romania. The rest of them were British. They were made to work unpaid, beaten and shaved their heads off.
The victims had been taken to the undisclosed medical reception centre, where multi-agency approach was taken to providing medical, health and social welfare care.
"The men we found at the site were in a poor state of physical health and the conditions they were living in were shockingly filthy and cramped. We believe some of the men had been living there in a state of virtual slavery, some for up to 15 years," Detective Chief Inspector Sean O'Neil said.
He said "a small number of officers are remaining at the site to complete searches and to liaise with the residents. The offences that are being investigated are extremely serious. We understand that some people may have information about what has been happening, but have been too scared to come forward and report it".
"People who do want to talk to us about this matter should contact us on 01707 355798, or Crimestoppers, which is both anonymous and independent from the police. You do not have to give your name, but if you do we will keep it secret," he said.
The Bedfordshire Police said that it can possibly be the epicenter of a national slavery organization, operating worldwide and worth multi-million pounds.
While four residents of the site including three men and a woman, have been taken into custody using new legislation under the Slavery and Servitude Act 2011. The accused are being detained at Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police stations.
Slavery was already banned in Britain and the British Parliament wanted a clear power to crackdown those who propel others into slavery. Therefore, a specific offence was crafted under Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. The section bans the practice of holding another person in servitude.
With enforcement of this section, it becomes easy to prosecute slave masters. People who are convicted face unlimited fine and 14 years imprisonment.