Out of England comes the story of James John, 34, and Josie Connors, 31 who claim to be "helping people" get their lives together have been convicted of "forced labour." James John Connors getting 11 years and his wife Josie Connors getting 4 years. Like the cult of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Connors were "prospect hunting" for new members to join their flock and were targeting destitute men who were addicts and alcoholics pretending to be good Samaritans by giving them a place to work. Bear in mind, it was the victims choice to join and could have walked away at any time but were afraid too because of the perceived threat of being beat up or killed.
Travellers exploited slaves for 15 years
Thursday 19 April 2012 14:24
A traveller family were today (Wednesday) accused of making large amounts of money by controlling and exploiting vulnerable men who they kept in a state of servitude.
Over 15 years, the Connors family were said to have kept dozens of victims in camps under orders not to leave.
Their heads were shaved, they were paid little or nothing while working for the family block paving business, were verbally abused and on occasions beaten, it was alleged.
Frances Oldham QC, for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “A number of words may spring to mind to describe what was happening. They may not in the strict sense have been slaves but the prosecution say they were not free men.”
Luton Crown Court heard that on September 11 last year the police entered the Green Acres Caravan Park at Little Billington where they found 13 male workers who were not part of the extended Connors family.
Mrs Oldham said: “The Connors family recruited and then exploited individuals, who they forced to work in their block paving business.
“The case is about control and exploitation. The victims were exploited because they were among the most vulnerable in society.
“They were homeless, at day centres, alcoholics and addicts and were controlled in such a way that, in many cases, they could not see it. Controlled and exploited so that these defendants could make a lot of money.......
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in San Luis Obispo, California.....
Look for the Similarities, not the Differences....
A rehab center is praised -- and vilified
Sunny Acres, operated by Dan de Vaul on his ranch west of the famed Madonna Inn, is seen by some as a needed haven for homeless addicts and by others as an eyesore and threat to health and safety.
May 17, 2009|Catherine Saillant
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Dan de Vaul bumps along a dirt road in a beat-up Jeep on his 72-acre ranch just west of the city limits and pulls to a halt in front of two newly built garden sheds.
"This is our latest illegal adventure," the rancher says, gesturing at the 10-foot-by-12-foot windowless wooden sheds. They won't be filled with farming tools, he announces, but with clients of his sober-living program.
"Those trailers are very illegal too," De Vaul says, pointing to three ramshackle RVs planted in the ground nearby, electrical cords snaking out of them. Homeless addicts and drunks live in them.
This is Sunny Acres, a self-styled rehab compound the 65-year-old De Vaul operates on his ranch a couple of miles west of the famed Madonna Inn. Depending on who's talking, it's either a much-needed haven for homeless people battling addictions or De Vaul's way of thumbing his nose at society and its laws.
For eight years, De Vaul has battled neighbors and San Luis Obispo County code enforcement officers as he's converted his land from cattle range to a thriving hub of mostly illegal money-making ventures. He sells scrap metal from heaps, salvages parts from dozens of rusty vehicles and hawks produce and nursery stock from a stand near the ranch's entry on busy Los Osos Valley Road.
But Sunny Acres, his "Mad Max"-style encampment, which also houses clients in tents and the 1908 ranch house, is perhaps his biggest money-maker. It has also drawn the most attention from neighbors and authorities. They call it an eyesore and a threat to the health and safety of the 30 or so people it's supposed to help. It's also illegal, according to county officials, who say De Vaul has no authority to run a rehab center.
A frequent target
De Vaul has been the target of numerous orders to shut down the center and clean up his property. But as soon as the authorities go away, he lets the sober-living clients back in.
When the county shut down a barn that was illegally converted into a three-story dormitory, De Vaul continued to house clients in it until county workers nailed the doors shut.
"Government should find a way to take care of them, if they don't want to put up with what I'm providing," he said.
Code enforcement workers last year began removing more than 100 vehicles unlawfully stored on his land, including six big rigs, six freight trailers, two dump trucks, four boom trucks and a drilling rig. They plan to continue to do so at De Vaul's expense. He's also got illicit stockpiles of tires and concrete rubble.
Last year, the district attorney's office filed nine criminal misdemeanor counts against him. The case is set for trial this summer. De Vaul, who pleaded not guilty, could face more than four years in jail.
"They're trumped-up charges," he said.
On a recent day, looking like many a prosperous Central Coast rancher in weathered jeans, boots, suspenders and a big western hat, he appeared defiant and nearly taunted officials to come get him.
"Everyone has all these actions against me," he said calmly, relaxing in what one disgruntled neighbor calls his "barndominium," a rustic, open-beamed flat on the second story of a barn. "But no one wants to be the one that comes up and plunges the sword."
Bruce Gibson, the county supervisor whose district includes De Vaul's property, likens the 6-foot De Vaul to a character from the Old West.
"He doesn't want help from the outside, and he doesn't want to be told what to do," Gibson said. "Problem is, he's bumping up against the 21st century."
Gibson admits a grudging admiration for De Vaul's ability to connect with the down-and-out. He said some in San Luis Obispo admire his individualism and defiance, but others think he's a menace.........
The Battle of Sunny Acres Ranch, which also has deplorable conditions is still open and the owner has been sentenced to jail a few times, but always managed to stay out. See "The Rehab Ghetto - Dan De Vaul and Sunny Acres goes into receivership in San Luis Obispo, California" Wed, 02/08/2012 - 08:31 - http://orange-papers.org/forum/node/733