Monday, 28 January 2008

Child slaves raid and the perception of Eastern Europeans

Last week the Met Police carried out pre-dawn raids in Slough where they rescued children from a Romanian trafficking gang.

These children were trained to steal and beg.

Recently, police conducted several raids on homes in East London.

According to the Times, they burst into a small terraced house in Ilford (Redbridge) and found 27 Romanian Gypsies, 16 of whom were children, some as young as 4 months, from several families, sleeping in the bedrooms, lounge and even the kitchen.

No doubt, many issues will emerge from this raid: how big is the actual scale of the trafficking? Is it happening next door to me? Will these children ever be re-united with their families – do they want to be? etc.

It’s also possible that people in East London, like other parts the country, may stereotype Romanians and other Eastern Europeans as smugglers, thieves and beggars.

The Romanian Cultural Institute says that they are perceived negatively – think orphaned-children, stray dogs and too-eager migrants – and less for their arts & heritage highlights.

There are many Romanians and Eastern Europeans living in East London.

Most of them work hard and live peacefully; they should not be painted with the same brush as their countrymen involved in the Slough raid.

What will it take to change society’s negative perception of Romanians?


chas ambler said...

Interestingly, the only theft that happened on the kibbutz I stayed on in the 60s was committed by a Rumanian. Any population that has been through anything as traumatic as Ceacescu's regime is bound to be corrupted

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