A new criminal offence is to be created by the home secretary, David Blunkett, in an attempt to deal with the problem of Britain's secret slaves who are brought into the country by wealthy families and virtually imprisoned in their homes.

Mr Blunkett announced his decision to introduce the new criminal offence to curb domestic slavery during a speech to a Trades Union Congress conference on migrant workers. He revealed that the need for the new offence had been highlighted for him this summer when the Home Office suddenly received asylum applications from 220 Eritreans in one month who were trying to escape from their wealthy employers in Britain.

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