How can we tackle labour exploitation?
Following the launch of the Safe Car Wash App in 2018 to help identify victims of modern slavery in the car wash sector, we've now develop the Farm Work Welfare app. The app is aimed at modern slavery in the rural and fresh produce supply chain sectors where both businesses and workers can fall victim to traffickers, organised criminals within the community and illegal or unlicensed labour providers.
Every year, vulnerable and migrant seasonal workers are targeted and exploited. It is hard to get exact numbers on the scale of the problem in this sector. However, we believe it is growing in line with the overall increase in modern slavery and, like other types of exploitation and modern slavery, it can go unnoticed.
The Farm Work Welfare App is easy to download and use and is designed to support both employers and workers.
Like the Safe Car Wash App, the FWWA app contains a reporting tool. Fresh produce businesses, workers or local people can use it to flag up concerns, suspicions or seek help.
To help support migrant workers the content is available in eight languages (Albanian, Bulgarian, English, Lithuanian, Romanian, Polish, Chinese/Mandarin and Vietnamese).
- provide farmers and growers with information, signposting and tools to help avoid criminal organisations and promote worker welfare. It contains essential support on licensed labour providers, document verification and the rights of workers such as freedom of movement and right to work
- support workers and help them understand their rights and what to do if they are being exploited
- raise awareness amongst members of the public who live or work in rural areas about modern slavery and how to spot potential cases of exploitation.
Most of all, we hope it will become a key source of helpful information for both workers and seasonal employers and that it will help everyone understand what 'good' looks like.
Reports made through the app are processed by the Modern Slavery Helpline and help identify hot spots, enable criminal investigations and most importantly, support victims.
"As Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, a former farmer and an MP representing a rural constituency, I am acutely aware of the challenges in the agricultural labour market.
Farm businesses rely on a lot of seasonal labour, with up to 70,000 seasonal workers working on British fruit, vegetable and flower farms annually. Unfortunately criminal exploitation happens in this sector, with people being trafficked and forced into work for little or no money.
It’s very hard to spot and often workers don’t know their rights. There’s also an issue with a lack of public scrutiny in these locations. This new App will really help both rural employers and employees spot and prevent labour exploitation in this sector and catch criminals involved in this trade."
Neil Parish, MP
Signs of exploitation and forced labour
Employers, co-workers and workers all need to be aware of the signs of exploitation
The Farm Work Welfare App was developed and funded by The Clewer Initiative supported by a working group including Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Fresca Group, the Church Commissioners for England, the Modern Slavery Helpline (MSH) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
News and updates
Seasonal recruitment plan for horticultural businesses
As the picking season kicks in, many businesses are struggling to find enough seasonal workers.
An emerging trend - modern slavery outside the employment chain
Workers who are lawfully employed may still be victims of exploitation outside of the workplace.