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Recorded cases of human trafficking and forced labour by hidden exploiters and criminal gangs are on the increase in the UK.  We call this modern slavery and there are now modern slavery laws in the UK.

Ways to detect

Ensure your workers didn’t have to pay to get work

Workers may have been forced to pay to secure a job at your site.  This is against the law. Agency and job finding fees are a business cost, and shouldn’t be inflicted onto workers.

Ensure workers are not abused and are treated well

Keep a close eye on behaviour – ensure workers are free from intimidation from supervisors, other workers or suspicious individuals who may deliver and take them home.  Ask the workers how they are being treated.

Make sure the wages you pay go to the workers

Avoid cash in hand and cheque arrangements.  Ask your agency why, if they won’t pay into bank accounts.  Be aware that workers may be forced into debt and have bank accounts controlled by exploiters.  Ask some of the workers whether they know of this happening on your site.

Ask if the workers are free to leave of their own free will

Is there any penalty for leaving?  Have they had passports/ID taken away from them?

Ask about their accommodation and travel

Is it safe and clean?  Are they threatened with immediate eviction or for unpaid rent?  Are they free to travel to work by their own means? Workers should have accommodation and rental agreements that meet legal standards.  They should be free to travel and eat how they wish.

If you are in food or agriculture, ensure that anyone supplying you with permanent or temporary labour even if just for a day is licensed by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority

If you have any suspicions about potential human trafficking, forced labour or any other hidden labour exploitation please notify the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority by calling the GLAA on:

 0345 602 5020 or at Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority website.

Ways to report

The Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre brings us closer to the eradication of modern slavery. It provides victims, the public, statutory agencies and businesses access to information and support on a 24/7 basis.

Phone: 0800 432 0804.

On line: https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/report

Through the Helpline:

  • Potential victims are able to speak to fully-trained Helpline Advisors who can help them access relevant services, including Government-funded support through the National Referral Mechanism

  • Statutory agencies can call to gain support in dealing with potential victims, and to receive guidance in accessing all the information and tools available through the associated Resource Centre

  • Businesses can call for information, advice and also to report any concerns they have about potential instances of modern slavery in their operations

  • Members of the public and those delivering services on the front-line can also report any modern slavery suspicions or concerns about individuals, premises or locations

For further information

For access to a range of free guidance including toolkits, a video for workers on avoiding forced labour, workplace posters, induction materials and details of workshops visit Stronger2gether