Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers on the End Game by Matt Johnson blog tour. END GAME is the riveting conclusion to Matt Johnson’s Finlay trilogy. The author has kindly written an exclusive guest post which explores modern day slavery, but first here’s the book description to whet your appetite.
Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout.
Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.
End Games is available to purchase via Amazon UK 🇬🇧
Modern slavery, closer than you think – Matt Johnson
To many, the word ‘slavery’ conjures up a picture of people in chains, abducted and forcibly transported against their will to work on plantations across the world. Today, in a town, a street or a home near you, modern slavery is taking place under our very noses.
Just recently in the news, we heard about the Oxford and Rochdale cases which involved British girls trafficked within the UK for sexual exploitation.But although sex trafficking makes the headlines, modern slavery is just as prominent in forced labour and domestic servitude.
During my research for both Deadly Game and End Game, I travelled to Romania to learn about the routes used to move young women from their villages to work in places where they think they are heading for a better life. This is one thing I learned that all victims share. They think they are heading to a better job, for a more interesting life or for an education. Whatever the reason, they all share one thing – they are travelling to something they believe is better than they are leaving behind.
In the UK, the slave trade was outlawed and abolished in the 19th Century. After that, a person holding slaves could be prosecuted for offences such as false imprisonment, assault and – in more modern times – under Health and Safety legislation.
It was only in 2004 that an offence was created of trafficking people into the UK for the purpose of forced labour, and it wasn’t until 2009, when the Coroners and Justice Act came into being, that an offence of holding a person in slavery or servitude was created. A similar offence also covers requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and, for each offence, our prosecuting authorities have to prove that the accused knew, or ought to have known, that the victim was being held or forced to work against their will.
Deadly Game started in Romania, and is based on a gang who move young women from their homes to work in the sex-trade. Although fiction, the story has a sound basis in fact.
Sex slavery isn’t a new concept to Europe. In World War II, the Nazis set up ‘Joy Divisions’ in concentration camps that were filled with young Jewish women. These brothels were frequented by both the soldiers and the co-operative non-Jewish inmates. Across Europe, the German Army also set up many ‘Soldattenbordell’ where local women were forced into providing unpaid sexual services in return for avoiding the camps. Mass kidnapping raids were carried out in countries such as Poland, where young women were rounded up and then transported to become entertainment for the troops.
As the war ended, many Romanian soldiers who had been serving in the German Army returned to their homeland with an understanding of the money to be made by forcing women into the sex trade. As the forces of law got to grips with the criminal gangs, the method of providing girls simply changed from one of coercion to one of deception. In times of economic depression, hungry and desperate for paid work, it became easy to trick girls into applying for waitress, cleaning and other menial jobs in the cities. Once on the journey, the girls were doomed. It is no coincidence that most of the victims of trafficking are from economically deprived areas.
Deadly Game follows the journey of once such girl. End Game concludes the story. I’m aware that book are fiction, and will be read for entertainment, but I also hope that, by telling the story, I may be able to raise awareness in people’s minds that slavery hasn’t gone away, and the chains on the victims, although less easily seen, are still very much in use.
About the author
Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for twenty-five years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1992, one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital.
One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. He has used his detailed knowledge and memory to create what has been described by many readers as a fast paced, exciting and authentic tale of modern day policing.
More information, including book tour dates and festival appearances at www.mattjohnsonauthor.com
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