Modern Day Slavery in Britain

Posted on December 18, 2006


Madeleine Bunting
Monday December 18, 2006
Source: The Guardian

Nehad has the hunched look of a man who has lived with fear for years. It was to escape fear that he fled Iraq for Europe in 2003, hoping to start a new life beyond the reach of the torture and prisons of Saddam Hussein’s regime in northern Iraq. But after four years of failed asylum applications in the UK, he is still living in fear.

He’s too nervous to tell his story inside the cafe where we meet for fear of eavesdroppers, so we sit outside. He flinches as a policewoman passes. He says he never answers a knock on his front door at home in Birmingham; friends know to call first to tell him they are coming.

He knows – as the Home Office officials remind him on his monthly required visits to sign in – that he could be deported at any time and sent back to Iraq. He could be snatched from the streets or from his bed in the middle of the night. But, as he is well aware, there is nothing unusual about his plight – he is just one individual out of an army of irregular migrants, which the Home Office estimates at more than half a million strong. They precariously exist in a kind of bureaucracy-made limbo in this country.

Please click here to read the remainder of this article about the condition of half a million irregular migrants – an army of cheap labour on which British lifestyles depend.