A British man believed to have been enslaved in 1978 and held captive for 40 years in a tiny six-foot shed has finally been freed.
Metro reports that the man looked like a “rabbit in the headlights” when he was was was finally freed.
The man was discovered following a dawn raid at a residential site on the outskirts of Carlisle, Cumbria.
The authorities suspect the man in question was taken prisoner in 1978 at the age of 18 and forced into the tiny room and a life of misery.
Pictures from the scene capture the full degradation the man, now 58, was forced to endure. His home for 40 years houses a raggedy old stained carpet, a broken down electric heater, a filthy blanket, and a rusty old garden chair. The shed also contained a flat-screen TV.
Officials from the Gangmasters and Labor Abuse Authority (GLAA) are now looking after the man.
Specialist trauma officers are assessing his mental health and carrying out medical examinations.
The GLAA’s Martin Plimmer explained the man was believed to have carried out unpaid labor since he was a teenager.
“The information that was given to us was that he had been kept in the shed for a period of 40 years. When we found him he was like a rabbit in headlights and very confused. He was just in the clothes he stood up in and where he was sleeping in the shed there was just a soiled duvet on the floor. There was no heating and it was very cold. It was conditions that no human being should live in.”
It is not clear at the present time if the man ever made any attempt to leave.
Mr. Plimmer explained that is is hard to obtain any concrete information from the man because he has been traumatized so much for so long that it will be a long and hard road to win back his trust.
“In my long career I’ve never come across anyone who has been held as a slave potentially for 40 years. ‘This, I think, could be the longest period of captivity that we have dealt with. It’s an extremely sad and serious case.”
The GLAA conducted the raid after they were given a tip-off on their confidential helpline.
A 79-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offenses.
The GLAA issued a statement which read, “The operation has been supported by specialist officers from the National Crime Agency, the Cumbria Housing Department who are investigating possible health and safety breaches, and officers from Cumbria Police.
“Modern slavery exists in a whole range of forms. If you suspect someone is being exploited or abused, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the relevant authorities. ‘our call could be the difference between exploitation continuing and worsening or a victim being rescued and given the support that they desperately need.”