Graveyard Shift
544.4k readers

This Twisted Family Ran A Modern Day Slave Ring For 26 Years While They Vacationed Around The World

Updated June 14, 2019 544.4k views10 items

Though the concept of slaves sounds like a thing of the past, unfortunately many a modern day slave ring still exist throughout the world, often in the most unexpected places. Take for instance the Rooney family, a vacationing family who ran a slave ring right under the noses of a UK town. By taking advantage of vulnerable populations such as the homeless, the elderly, and the mentally ill, the Rooney family slave ring managed to run under the radar for over two decades, netting the family a huge profit while sending their victims through unspeakable injustices. In all, 11 Rooney family members went to prison for these crimes.

As sad as it sounds, stories of modern day slavery and human trafficking occur much more frequently than most people want to think about. Even worse is the fact that awful people like the Rooney family clearly remain unbothered by their crimes, often taking vacations while their slaves lived in filth and squalor. Though now free, many of their victims continue struggling with the traumas of the Rooney's slave ring.

  • The Family Kept At Least Eighteen Slaves

    In modern-day England, you might think that slavery only exists in documentaries and textbooks. But family, however, kept the practice going for over two decades. The Rooney family, a well-to-do family who all lived in nice houses, appeared to be fairly ordinary travelers. They participated in their community, played football (soccer), held memberships at the local gyms, and seemed to genuinely cared for Lincolnshire's homeless population. In reality, the Rooney clan lived the high life because they secretly operated a slavery ring. These victims, whom the family trafficked for various odd jobs and house work, ranged in age from teenagers to people in their sixties, and many suffered from poor health.

    When police at last raided the Rooney's slave ring, they found eighteen people in their "care." This left many questions in need of answers, none of them particularly pleasant. 

  • They Targeted Homeless People

    Photo: R. Duarte / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    The Rooney clan sought out specific populations they knew would be easy to take advantage of. They primarily went after homeless men, who they approached on the streets or in shelters offering money and a place to live, seemingly out of kindness. Once they made it to the Rooney's property, the homeless people could not contact family members and loved ones, if they had them in the first place. The Rooneys also set their sights on those with learning disabilities and other disorders, because such people would be less likely to question orders or report abuse.

    Their sense of cruelty knowing no bounds, the Rooneys also made victims out of elderly homeowners. The family would convince these homeowners to sign over their money and property, and then proceeded to isolate these people from their families. In one case, a homeowner passed away, and the family only found out about the death after the funeral occurred.

  • They Used Drugs And Empty Promises Of Shelter To Subjugate Victims

    Regardless of the type of victim the family sought out, the Rooney family proceeded to break them all via a similar process. They first discovered what their victim most wanted, be it safety, a place to live, alcohol, or even drugs. After securing the desired object or scenario, the family presented it to victims in a grooming process, even if they were providing illegal drugs. This made the victim dependent on the family. Using this as leverage, the Rooneys then gained control of their victim's finances, thereby trapping them into staying with the family. By this point, the victim basically lost access to their freedom, or to regularly see friends or family. 

  • The Family Hid In Plain Sight As Millionaires

    The process of operating an 18-member slave ring, day in and day out, sounds difficult to keep under wraps, much less manage. But Rooneys did so thanks to their status as millionaires, the family altogether being worth 1.5 million bucks. They lived in well-furnished houses, they drove BMWs, they wore Rolexes, and never wanted for anything. They even got themselves plastic surgery and boob jobs, partially paid for using the work their slaves did. This wealth enabled them to stay below the radar and keep their slaves quiet and financially dependent.