A new report by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Stronger Together’s Development Partner, reviews its first year with the expanded remit to tackle exploitation across the whole UK labour market. ‘The Nature and Scale of Labour Exploitation Across All Sectors Within the United Kingdom’ reports that in the last 12 months the GLAA launched 181 investigations, inspected 245 businesses, identified 1,335 abused workers, arrested 107 people and identified £150k of withheld wages.

The report’s sector analysis identifies common cross-sector themes and exploitative practices such as foreign nationals being recruited overseas and having to pay a recruitment fee, which is common in the agricultural sector, cleaning, food packaging and processing, warehouse and distribution among others. A potential sign of exploitation that has been frequently identified over the previous year is multiple workers being listed with the same details such as next of kin, address, bank account etc. The indicator of numerous workers in a shared address was featured in a recent conviction in the UK of a gangmaster who exploited workers and forced seven men to live in a one-bedroom flat, reported by the Evening Standard.

The GLAA report also provides a sector-based assessment – for example, issues in the cleaning sector are detailed as being excessive working hours and inadequate rest days. Demonstrating this, the BBC recently reported the case of Sara, a survivor of modern slavery who was forced to work as a cleaner in a college for up to 20 hours a day and didn’t receive any money. Sara worked in full sight of the college staff and students but her situation went unnoticed until she managed to escape and find help. Cleaning and contracted services come under the term ‘Goods Not For Resale’ or service providers for most retailers and brands; for practical advice on tackling forced labour in these areas download our Tackling Modern Slavery in UK Businesses Toolkit and look out for our interactive workshop aimed at these businesses coming later this year. Click here for details and online booking for all our current tackling modern slavery workshops.

The GLAA also identifies car washes as one of the largest industries where exploitation is likely to occur. New initiatives encouraging the public to report suspicions of labour exploitation include an app released by the Church of England highlighting indicators of potential victims of exploitation seen at car washes.

Article source – Stronger to Together