Humans for Sale BBC Scotland Investigates

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Humans for Sale

Investigative journalist Sam Poling goes undercover to expose the ruthless tactics used in the human trafficking supply chain and discovers shocking links to Scotland.

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Tonight, a journey through the ruthless world of human trafficking.


You think your daughter may have been trafficked back to Glasgow


Green smack if I ask the question directly want to ask, the men will


get angry. I filmed those at the heart of the


supply chain. I am not a trafficker. Who is the trafficker, then?


I discover a multi-million pound criminal network.


I'm shocked by that, to hear it. I have no words for it.


And investigate the trade right on our doorstep.


You don't know any of the names of the people?


Tonight, Humans for Sale. It's early morning, I've just


arrived at a service station on the outskirts of London. I've been told


that three times a week a bus from Romania pulls into this car park.


It's just before 2am in the morning. The information I have is, the bus


set off from Romania two days ago, it has been travelling nonstop for


two days. When it comes here, the people get off and are separated


into minibuses. I am waiting on these minibuses to arrive.


Minutes later and four empty minibuses with Romanian numberplates


turn up. All I need now is for the


long-distance coach to arrive. 2:50 and no sign of the bus, but the


minibuses are still there, so... There is a bus.


The bus is filled with Romanian 's, they've just travel nonstop for more


than 60 hours, crossing seven countries to get here, their final


destination, the UK. They will all have come willingly, it's just some


may have been trafficked. I guess if I want to find out more,


about where these people have come from, and what their stories are, or


stories of people like them, then I'm going to have to get that bus.


Human trafficking is big business. People are now the second most


lucrative criminal commodity next to drugs, with lives being traded and


sold on a scale never seen before. I have spent the past six months


investigating this trade, and have witnessed some of the shocking and


ruthless ways in which humans are now being exploited.


My investigation begins here in the highlands of Scotland.


This man was working in his family's restaurant when he saw a job for a


tan dory chef in the UK. It was advertised by this man, who, after


giving him a job, was ordered to pay ?20,000, a Visa and paperwork.


He ran this hotel in a remote village near Fort William. As seen


in this online advert, the Hotel and grounds were catering. The job as a


tandoori chef was a lie. This was now his life, 22 hours a


day, seven days a week. A fellow Bangladeshi also became a slave,


both men realised they were trapped, victims of Labour trafficking, and


they had to stay under control if they had any hope of recovering


their money. During the time that you worked for


him, how much did you get paid? One of the Hotel's regular customers


was Alison Smith. After several months of befriending the men, they


opened up to what was being done to them. A friend had been beaten, a


opened up to what was being done to friend had been hurt by him. They


were frightened for their lives. The only thing dissing was the whip on


their back. -- missing. It was trafficking, and I couldn't believe


it. This had been going on under my nose and I didn't know anything


about it, and the community didn't know anything about it.


They were promised a wonderful life, and they got the exact opposite.


He was prosecuted for Labour trafficking, he was jailed for just


three years. With the legal case closed, both men


were ordered to leave the country by the Home Office, their Visa


applications reviews. A move, they said, has put their lives in danger,


still owing thousands to money lenders in Bangladesh.


If you don't pay them, what is the threat?


More than a third of all human traffickers victims are exploited


for Labour. I'm on my way to meet a man who spent years helping rescue


and support victims of the trafficking trade in Scotland.


People have got historic views of what human trafficking is. It is not


people snatched off the street and forced abroad. It is people being


sold an idea, a better life still, better housing and better income, an


opportunity to better their lives when they arrive here. Their travel


documents are taken from them and they put in atrocious accommodation,


usually overcrowded. They are not given the kind of job they expected


to get, if they get any job at all. How big is the problem here? The


victims run into millions. In Scotland alone, you are talking


thousands rather than hundreds or more than that.


Jim says he has watched entire communities become affected by human


traffickers, like Glasgow's Govanhill. There were a high number


of victims because there is a clear link between Eastern European crime


gangs. Human trafficking is one of the things they do. Butlins with


organised Asian gangs and Glasgow, the Asian gangs provide the


accommodation and there are a lot in Govanhill.


Roma communities from sabbatical, Czech Republic and Romania make up


more than a fifth of the local population. Those countries are the


most popular sources for trafficking. Most of the victims and


traffickers are Roma. It is little wonder, then, that areas like this


but repeatedly come to the attention of enforcement agencies


investigating human traffickers. Raids on properties here are a


familiar sight. This mother and daughter from a back year were


jailed after trafficking a young goal from eastern Europe to


Govanhill. As recently as February, goal from eastern Europe to


police arrested suspects in a sex goal from eastern Europe to


trafficking case. It is believed girls were being brought to


trafficking case. It is believed Govanhill from Slovakia and forced


into prostitution. Roma are one of the most vulnerable ethnic minority


into prostitution. Roma are one of groups in the world, and have been


marginalised and excluded for centuries. Trying to get any


information here is hard. The problem is that the Roma people


have faced years facing the worst kinds of discrimination, so they are


very private people. Trying to engage them in conversation is


difficult, let alone bringing up the subject of human traffickers.


If I want to try and investigate the supply chain, meet those at the


heart of the trade, then I need to go to where both the victims and the


traffickers are coming from. Slovakia, it only became independent


from Czechoslovakia in 1993. Since then, it has struggled to break the


cycle of poverty. Here, Romas are marginalised from the rest of the


population, living in squalid, shanty settlement is with little or


no money. Slovakia is one of the most popular sourced countries in


Europe for traffickers. The destination foremost of their


victims, the UK. I'm on my way to meet a man who


describes himself as a social worker. He works closely with


authorities in trafficking cases between Slovakia and Scotland.


He is one of the few people in this area prepared to work with the Roma


community, and here he is now. I am told that what he doesn't know about


trafficking in the area isn't worth knowing. People


nice to meet you, how are you? I am looking forward to today. Do you


have a plan for me? Yes, I have a plan for you. Shall we go and we


will talk and drive. Yeah. Let's just go.


He starts by taking me to a nearby house owned by a man who he says is


a trafficker. house owned by a man who he says is


Look at this place. This comfortable house. It's a nice house compared to


the rest of the houses. The guy is in Glasgow doing his business. He


says the man buys local Roma girls and sells them to men in Scotland.


One in six females trafficked to the UK today is sexually exploited.


Girls used to be one or two days. Trafficked from here to Glasgow by


car. Why are they kept there? To which the transport? Passports,


identity cards, passports, identity cards and then go.


Padlocked. He tells me the girls trafficked to Glasgow are sold to


Asian men, predominantly Pakistani or Indian, to take part in what is


referred to as a sham marriage. The men can then apply the UK


citizenship as they are now married to an EU citizen.


How many girls will have come here? Five? Ten? 100? More than a hundred.


Really? Really. Really. He has arranged for me to meet a


Roma girls sold to a Pakistani man in Glasgow two years ago for a sham


marriage. By the time she was rescued, she had already given birth


to a daughter. But when we get to the house, we are in for a surprise.


Maybe she is back to Glasgow. think your daughter may have been


trafficked back to Glasgow? OK. The parents don't seem concerned at all.


This is the third time your daughter has been trafficked? Yes.


The girl may have gone but she has left her young daughter behind.


This is her baby? She must miss her baby.


He says the girl was sold by a family friend. Most trafficking


victims are sold or bought by someone they know.


This is typical ghetto. Most of the people living here, that ideal life


is to get to Great Britain. He takes me round the area to meet people he


is to get to Great Britain. He takes says are either traffickers or


victims of the trade. We go from house to house, village to village.


I'm told I can't film those I meet because it's too dangerous. I'm


trying to investigate the trafficking of young people from


Slovakia to the UK. Do you believe your sister was trafficked? You have


never heard of trafficking before? Some people are saying that these


girls have been trafficked. It seems more girls have been sold to gangs


in Scotland. We know there are three girls currently missing who are back


in the UK in Glasgow. Yes. Fear of speaking out against the trafficker


is clear. TRANSLATION: I am a little bit afraid. I am afraid because I


don't want to have problems. It is estimated the money made by


traffickers runs into billions. It is little wonder they don't tolerate


people speaking out. What kind of repercussions has there been when


people have spoken out? When they have spoken out, the trafficker can


come directly or indirectly and will beat them. The threats of violence


are real? Yes. He tells me the Roma traffickers cannot operate without


the permission of the leaders each settlement. He takes me to meet one


such leader. Known locally as a man handy with his fists. Much of his


life has been spent behind bars for violence. He is reluctant to be


filmed but eventually allows my camera in. I am from the UK and in


the UK there are many Roma people there.


What is this? He shows me the conditions he and his family live


in. This is the only bathroom? I ask him whether he knows anything about


the trafficking of goals to the UK for marriage. -- girls.


His evasiveness makes me suspicious. He is lying. Yes. His own daughter,


his son. He sold his own daughter? Yes. The daughter is married to a


Pakistani guy. He stood there and said nothing. He is a prize fighter


and he spent his life in prison. I think we have to let this one go.


Maybe he's not the man to... Yes, shall we go? I wonder how he can be


so sure of Victor's involvement in the trafficking trade. He then tells


me payments are being made between Victor and the man Victor sold his


daughter to in Glasgow. And you know this, how? Because you are the one


that passes the money across? Yes. You didn't tell me that before. What


happened? Tell me about the money. The Pakistani guy used to send money


to the family through my own address. I go to them every week. I


hadn't expected human trafficking to be embedded so much in communities


here. I wasn't prepared for quite how organised and lucrative a


criminal enterprise, the selling of humans had become. How old is this


one that we are going to see? 22. The woman was sold into waste Sham


marriage with a Pakistani man in the UK. He tells me to pay attention to


the birth certificate of the woman's young son. This birth certificate,


there is no farther's name. She is not obliged to say the father's


name. My questions about the father change the atmosphere. I am not


allowed to ask questions? If I start to ask the questions I really want


to ask, the men are going to get very angry? OK. The mother-in-law


makes a phone call. He tells me it is to the trafficker who demands to


speak to the young woman. I think we can't wait ask her much more. I


think we should go. The camera is turned off and I leave can sue --


confused actors -- as to the relevance of the blank birth


certificate. No name. That is the normal thing. The Pakistani guy can


claim at any time he is the father. I can understand... Right, sorry, I


just understand. It is a good thing there is no father's name because


just understand. It is a good thing anyone can buy that woman and the


Child and claim that child as theirs anyone can buy that woman and the


because they have deliberately left that blank. Even though she has been


trafficked once, she can be trafficked again and again. She will


be worth a lot of money. The man pretending to the father can explore


be worth a lot of money. The man human rights laws claiming he can be


deported from his country of choice and he's the baby's parent. My time


was a lesson for me in how the people at the heart of the


trafficking trade on nothing more than a lucrative commodity. When you


see the little they come from, it is clear the profit margins are huge.


Just a short drive away on the outskirts of the city of Kosice is


this place, Lunik IX. It houses the largest Roma community in Slovakia.


It is estimated around 7500 people live here. Few have electricity.


There's no heating, no running water. Hepatitis, scabies and


meningitis are common. Unemployment is almost 100%. Bus drivers who stop


here receive a special hazard pay. Its communities like these which the


traffickers deliberately target. As I look around, I'm approached by a


young girl in the gathering crowd. How tough is life here? Very hard.


You see. It shocks me. So many people don't understand. They don't


want to give me a job because I am a gypsy. She says she is here visiting


family and she understands why people are desperate to escape the


grinding poverty as she did. If people say they have a dream and the


dream is to go to the UK... Yes, that is the dream, definitely. You


see, come with me to the car, don't take anything, they will run. If


someone said they will give me a job, take to the UK, you would go?


Definitely. I don't think about this. What at the -- what if at the


other end it was all lies, that is not true? That is the problem. Some


people are lying. When you look not true? That is the problem. Some


the poverty, she is talking sense. How tempting Obika somebody to come


along and say, I'll give you a job, I'll give you money, I'll give you


accommodation. Just the basics. I can understand the temptation when


the traffickers come to town. Such vulnerability, such desperation


makes communities like this one rich pickings for the trafficker. Their


profits are an easy get. But some Roma communities in this


region do have money. Towns like this one where the houses are known


as smarty houses because of their bright colours. This resident says


he has watched the wealth of his bright colours. This resident says


town grow in recent years. Historically and a great number of


people from here would traffickers. They were responsible for the


movement of people trafficking to the UK. How did the people feel


about the fact that this is known everywhere else as the trafficking


town? There is something else at work


here. Many of these houses lie empty. The residents don't seem to


be at home. What's it is to the people living who own these houses?


Anglo Slovak links become apparent. This is a British registration


plate. Do you get many British registration plates here? Right now,


there is not too many. The ironic thing is these houses are the


holiday homes. They commute to the UK? A car breaks down beside me. The


driver, a resident of Govanhill. You can travel to deepest, darkest


Slovakia and meet someone who used to working Govanhill. Nice to meet


you. It is clear strong economic links have developed between


Scotland and Slovakia but how much of it is built on the success of the


trafficking trade between the two countries? Slovakian police have


unit dedicated to tackling the trafficking trade and its efforts


have been recognised worldwide as having had some considerable


success. They show me some recent cases. That is where they live?


They'll traffickers? -- they are traffickers?


Here they are on a night rate apprehend the traffickers behind a


forced begging gang. Here, rescuing some of the victims. And another


arrest. A man believed to be part of an organised crime gang.


Adrian leads the unit responsible for the trafficking across Slovakia.


They want to get their investment back, so it's a win, win?


During my time into a back year, I've seen the kind of poverty I


never expected to see within Europe. And how desperation to escape is


leading so many young women into the arms of traffickers. I'm beginning


to understand how deeply complex it arms of traffickers. I'm beginning


is, and why this exploitation is so difficult to fight.


Back in Scotland, and I wonder how I can see if sham marriages of


trafficked girls really are a part of life in Glasgow as I have been


told in Slovakia. I decide to check of life in Glasgow as I have been


Scotland's marriage records for some of the most common is a and Roma


maiden names. I then look for suspicious markers. An Asian married


name, a young bride, the same address registered repeatedly, and


tellingly, how many got divorced after the five-year Mark, the length


of time you have to have residency before being granted a UK passport.


I find dozens of marriages between young, Eastern European girls and


older Asian men. I find 70 marriages between the two community is


registered in Glasgow, a third in Govanhill. And 40% of those who


married there just over five years ago, the cut off for the passport,


are now divorced. And there is one more tell-tale sign, it will trace


of the couples living at their registered addresses. This cropped


up many times. This street has got more than a dozen links to marriages


between Pakistani men and Eastern European brides in recent years. In


a second-floor flat, it is linked to three marriages. Two brides were


teenagers, one was a 17-year-old Romanian marrying a Pakistani man a


decade older than her. I am going to try and see if I can speak to them.


It is that number... I will see if they are there.


Hello, I am looking for Mr... He was registered as being married and


living here, but he is not here? No? Right, so none of them are living


there. 17-year-old bride from Romania, and a groom from Pakistan


gave this as their address. The man that was registered as living here,


he's gone and his wife, she's gone. Believe it or not, a flat on the


other side, there is another groom and his bride. Right, so... Mr...


Isn't there. The next one, the bride and groom


gave this as their address. You don't know any of the names of


the people? Right, no luck getting anyone. More


than a dozen marriages linked to this street, brides, grooms,


witnesses to the weddings. And all of the doors that knocked, not one


couple lives there. Not one witness. Nobody.


It's not definitive proof of sham marriages, but all the signs appear


to be there. Where women are usually trafficked


for a sham marriage or sexual exploitation, for men it is Labour


the traffickers exploit them for. An EU citizen currently has the right


to work in the UK. Brexit may stop this free movement, but it's not


to work in the UK. Brexit may stop expected to prevent the vulnerable


from being trafficked when they apply to come, such is the lure of


the UK. We had a phone call into the BBC


Newsroom Live from a group of construction workers from Romania


who said they had been trafficked here, that they hadn't been paid,


the conditions were really bad, they weren't able to eat, and they gave


me the name and telephone number of the man they say trafficked them.


Now, I phoned this man, this alleged trafficker, and strangely enough, he


Now, I phoned this man, this alleged has agreed to meet me. So I'm going


to go and see him now, and see what he says.


Hi, Sam. Hi. Can I come in? Please. This is your new place? Yes. It is


quite empty. It is only you here? Yeah. Where are the other men? They


have gone back to Romania. They have gone? Yes. He tells me he has not


been paid for a large contract which brought over a large number of men


from Remainiac. How many? 30. You brought 30


from Remainiac. here? -- Romania.


You promised them the work that was promised to you? Yes. He denies


mistreating the men and says he is out of pocket.


Do you feel exploited? Of course I do. I spend my money, my profit, I


work, and they promised me one thing, and it happens something


else. I feel like a slave. Have you been trafficked? Yes. If you were


else. I feel like a slave. Have you traffic, then the menu brought


across were trafficked? Of course. Does that make you the trafficker? I


am not a trafficker. Who is the trafficker, then? The man 's work


for us. There is no money how he promised.


I don't know what to think about promised.


him. He is either someone who is doing this alt of the goodness of


his heart, and bringing these men across to provide them job


opportunities in a country they want to create a future in, or he's a


trafficker. The problem is trying to prove the


difference. When there's complicity by the victim, no matter how small,


how do you prove force? Especially when those doing the trafficking are


amongst some of the world's most organised and ruthless criminal


gangs, as I'm about to discover. The former Communist country of


Romania is still trying to shake off its reputation for corruption. Steep


and complex organised criminal networks spread their tentacles


across Europe. I'm travelling west to one of the worst problems of


child exploitation in the whole country.


This is one of our safe homes. We cannot give you the address, you


know? It looks from the outside like one of any houses in the village.


This woman runs a charity that rescues and houses girls that have


been trafficked. There are cameras, safety bars,


doors are locked, this is necessary to protect the girls.


Human traffickers is the second most to protect the girls.


profitable criminal industry in the world. To these criminals, they are


an investment. They want them back. Has anybody ever tried to snatch


their investment back? Yes, we had situations when people found where


the girls go to school. And we had girls that have been kidnapped from


school. By the traffickers? Yes, they want them back. They want them


back. Living at the safe house is Anna. At


just 14 years of, she was trafficked by a family friend for sexual


exploitation, and forced into prostitution.


For the next three months, and was prostituted, raped repeatedly by


client after client. I know this is so hard, was this


something that happened once a week, once a day? How often?


How do you survive that, in your head?


Could you escape? Why couldn't you leave?


The men who raped her were all aged between 50 and 70.


In terms of trying to get your life back, how are you managing to do


that? Are you scared you will be


trafficked again? Unlike Slovakia where the victims


are harvested from impoverished communities, in this part of


Romania, poverty isn't quite as endemic so the traffickers have to


be more sophisticated. They go near schools. Internet.


Social media, it's a source of recruiting. These girls will be


raped, will be beaten, will be humiliated. You have a girl that is,


has 5-9 clients a night. And the next day, she has two clean the


toilets, make the breakfast for the trafficker, be nice to him. At some


point, they give up. You cannot measure the damage. It's a broken


life. It's a broken life. She tells me that the links between


the UK and Romania have grown stronger in recent years and become


ever more apparent. She tells me to head to a nearby town known as the


Gypsy Palace Town. If you are looking for what they


call Gypsy wealth, this is it come the town of Gypsy palaces. This is


money on an unbelievable scale. I passed one of the biggest mansions


in the town, and suddenly realise why I was sent here. Oh, my


goodness, look at that. Look at that. British registration plate.


British registration plate. British registration plate. What's that one?


British registration plate. Every vehicle outside that particular


Gypsy Palace, as they are called, is a British registration plate. In


fact, the whole town is filled with them.


Locale many British registration plates. Caravans, cars. If you


needed any more evidence of the strong links between Eastern Europe


and the UK and the amount of money flowing between the two, then look


no further than here. Few prosecutions mean it is hard to


fully understand what happens to victims once they've been


trafficked. I'm on my way to meet a lawyer who helped the British police


build cases against some of the most serious and organised trafficking


gangs. Hi, nice to meet you. How wide you? She says once trafficked,


the victims will be traded between the gangs who bid against each other


during live auctions. The girl will be presented most of the time naked


so the evaluation can go according to the way that girl would produce


money. The women are forced to sleep with one of the traffickers and


perceived how well she does it. The prices would be settled according to


be a age, according to the appearance, whether that person is a


virgin person or not a virgin person. That would also rise the


price so she can start being exploited for prostitution, domestic


exploitation, agriculture and begging. In terms of prices, what


kind of prices? A few thousand euros. She says in pursuit of profit


of the trafficking gangs have begun to diversify. There are very poor


people who are willing to sell one of their organs or part of their


organs. She shows me how an Internet search for kidneys reveals a list of


people willing to sell their organs. That person is 18 years old. This is


the price. 30,000 euros. For the kidney or a part of the liver of


25,000 euros negotiable. The traffickers would take advantage of


these people by making the arrangements for the harvesting of


the organs? They would contact them and tell them, you are willing to


sell your organs, I am having somebody who wants to buy it. After


the operation took place, they would realise that they are not receiving


the money and they have been trafficked. Would you want to try to


call one of these numbers? Yes, we can call one now. I spot one of the


members has a British prefix. She calls the number.


I have asked, is the 50,000 euros the last price? I asked, do you know


the contexts in which we can do this? He said, "I think it will be


better in Romania but we can do it also here." In London? Yes. I am


shocked by that. I am. Traffickers, regardless of their speciality, sex,


labour, organs, have to move their victims quickly, easily and in large


numbers. I've been told that buses run three times a week to the UK


filled with people chasing work. It is the same bus which Sauron uses to


bring his men over. It is the same one I filmed at the service station.


How long does it take? It is a route I know the traffickers use, a route


I want to capture on camera. It is early morning in Romania's


capital, Bucharest. I'm on my way to a car park on the outskirts of the


city. I'm told a minibus will pick me up. The man with me is security


posing as my travelling companion. We ask for one-way tickets to


Glasgow. The driver once ?165 each in sterling. Over the next ten


hours, we had north begin up more and more Romania and passengers.


We're driving to meet a long-distance coach that will take


us to the UK. I just poured into a place and this is where we meet the


bus and then we start from here across Austria, Germany, France. The


bus seems to be preparing for a journey that is long haul in the UK.


How long will you go to the UK for? One-year, two years. Where do you to


work? Are you working there also? Construction? Wow! The bus is fall.


Nearly all are going to the UK for work. Many in response to online


adverts. Others going on the promise of a job. Head of this, three days,


seven countries, 2000 miles. The film being shown as Romania and


subtitles. That is a film about human trafficking. Why run it? This


19-year-old is going to Crawley. Is the money good? ?118 a week? I am


struggling with trying to work out the difference between those who are


effectively trafficked on this bus or those who are being exploited.


They pay for your accommodation and things? This man is heading to


Coventry to work in a warehouse but it is not his first time working in


the UK. Do you feel exploited their sometimes? You are working with ?4


an hour? That is exploitation. When you speak to these people, they


are full of hopes and dreams of something better waiting for them in


the UK. I wonder how many of them will go on to realise they've been


not only exploited, but conned and trafficked.


Three days after leaving, we arrive at the same London service station I


filmed at a few weeks earlier. As I watch everyone disappear into the


night in minibuses for their new lives around the UK, I get into the


one bound for Scotland. I wonder lives around the UK, I get into the


which one of my travel companions being exploited will find out they


have been trafficked. Back home, there is one thing to do. I call the


have been trafficked. Back home, man in London selling his kidney. Is


he one of the crawl aspects of the trafficking trade of organs or just


desperate for money? We meet. He says he is called Adrian. With him


as a woman he says is his wife. He is also selling her kidney. This is


all very new for me. I tell him the kidney is for my


cousin who is sick. Where will it take place?


He tells me we need to make a private pavement the doctor carrying


out the operation. The secret pavement of the doctor?


-- payment. It is the woman's kidney he keeps referring to. She remains


strangely quiet. Are you scared for your wife?


His ease with this criminal approaches surprising bearing in


mind his previous profession. He tells me he's aware traffickers


are now targeting those selling organs.


I tell him I'll be in touch and we say goodbye. Thank you so much,


goodbye. When asked for comment by the BBC, he denied having a kidney


for sale. Selling their own organs, buying into dreams, wanting the


escape. I realise now these choices often are made over sheer


desperation. Sometimes makes the victim is complicit in their own


trafficking. Such is the need to chase the promise of something


better and having seen what I have and heard from those who have lived


at the heart of it, who can blame them?


Human trafficking is big business, making billions for organised crime gangs around the world. Investigative journalist Sam Poling goes undercover to expose the ruthless tactics used in the supply chain and discovers shocking links to Scotland. She travels to eastern Europe to track down victims sold to Glasgow gangs for sex and witnesses the grinding poverty which is putting people at the mercy of those cashing in on human misery.