The Farm Work Welfare App (FWWA) was created to provide helpful information and guidance to employers and workers involved in the fresh produce supply chain. It is focused on the welfare and well-being of workers, recruitment best practice and recognising, reporting and preventing modern slavery and labour exploitation.
It provides employers with easy access to information on how to follow best practice, find licensed labour providers, guard against worker exploitation and report concerns. It helps workers, particularly those who are new to seasonal work or working in the UK, find out what to expect from the work, understand their rights, learn how to spot the signs of labour abuse and where to get help if they are concerned.
The FWWA was developed last year by The Clewer Initiative, in partnership with the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Fresca Group, the National Farmers Union (NFU), the Modern Slavery Helpline (MSH) and the Church Commissioners for England.
Seasonal, labour intensive sectors, such as agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food packaging and processing, are particularly vulnerable to labour exploitation by criminals. Businesses need to recruit huge numbers of workers and often rely on third party labour providers such as gang masters or recruitment agencies. This provides a window of opportunity for traffickers, illegal labour providers and criminals in the community to exploit. Exploited or abused workers are often hidden amongst a larger workforce where their circumstances can go unnoticed.
Many seasonal workers come from overseas, are not fluent in English and do not understand their worker rights within the UK. This can make them particularly susceptible to exploitation.
Pressure on these sectors has intensified due to restrictions on movement caused by the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit-related immigration changes. With fewer legal migrant workers available, criminal exploiters see a greater opportunity for profit.
All these factors have created a perfect storm and mean there is even more urgency for farmers, growers and processors to have the very best employment practices in place and know how to recognise signs of modern slavery.
To find out more about the Farm Work Welfare App, click here
You can also download posters about the Farm Work Welfare App to display in places where employers or workers may congregate. The posters are available in English, Albanian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian and Vietnamese. Please help us spread the word.