Signs of exploitation and forced labour

Employers, workers and co-workers all need to understand the signs of exploitation or forced labour.

Signs in co-workers

  • they appear neglected, malnourished, fearful and anxious
  • they appear to wash/bath/shave at work
  • they appear to be influenced or controlled by someone else
  • they have no money or food for lunches and breaks
  • they appear withdrawn and unable or reluctant to communicate with co-workers
  • they are not free to organise their own transport to/from work
  • they appear to have no life outside work/never go out
  • they have few or no personal possessions
  • they are not in control of their own money, bank account or identification documents
  • they are reluctant to explain where they are living
  • there are inconsistencies in their story.

Employers should always check:

That any labour provider has a valid GLAA licence number.

Employers should be concerned if:

  • A labour provider holds their workers personal documentation and identification e.g passports/ID cards/bank documents - this breaches standard 3.2 and is a critical failure.
  • A labour provider insists on using their own interpreters.
  • Workers have no choice in transportation OR have to travel with the labour provider and pay for transport in order to work
  • Workers are reliant on their labour provider, or another, for accommodation and food and appear to have no choice in this.
  • Workers are unable to produce a contract of their terms and conditions.
  • Workers are not able or willing to communicate freely and independently, e.g if a particular individual(s) always insist on interpreting for fellow workers.

Signs that you may be being exploited

  • you are not allowed contact with friends and family
  • you have been forced to open a bank account or were told what to say when opening one
  • you are provided unsanitary, crowded accommodation to live in
  • you do not have a contract or written terms and conditions for work
    you do not have control of your identity documents
  • you do not have control of your bank card or banking documentation
  • you do not receive a pay slip and your employer takes money from your wages before giving them to you
  • you do not have free choice over where you live, what you eat and/or how you travel to work
  • you have been made to register as self-employed even though you believe you work for another person
  • you had to pay someone money for finding you work
  • you were made false promises of work that did not exist when you arrived in the UK
  • you owe your employer money which keeps increasing because you have to pay them for accommodation, food or transport
  • you or your loved ones are subjected to violence, threats, intimidation
    you are prevented from accessing medical facilities
  • you are not provided with appropriate training or protective equipment for the work you are doing.

If you suspect modern slavery, report it.

If you have any suspicions or think you have identified signs of modern slavery, it is important that you make a report.

Do not attempt to intervene yourself as you may put yourself and others, including the potential victim, in danger

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