Fusion Resources Ltd have become a Business partner of ‘Stronger Together’. This is where organisations have uploaded evidence to publicly demonstrate their commitment to tackling hidden labour exploitation and as such may use the Stronger Together Business Partner logo in their business materials.
By becoming a business partner, we are as a company helping the GLAA Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority to tackle Modern Day Slavery.
Last week we sent two of our colleagues to a training day in Manchester at ‘Stronger Together’ (Stronger Together - tackling modern slavery in Supply chains). This proved very useful and we wanted to share some of the information which we were given with all of you.
What is Stronger Together?
Stronger together is a business led, multi-stakeholder collaborative initiative whose purpose is to support organisations to tackle modern slavery within their businesses and supply chains.
What is Modern Slavery?
Modern Slavery is a broad term used to encompass the offences of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking. The term extends to slavery-like practices such as debt bondage, sale or exploitation of children and forced or servile marriage. While varied in nature, all involve one person depriving another person in their liberty, in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.
The term is effective in media and public use for raising attention to the level that public opinion then provides pressure for policy change, as well as effective attention to individual cases. Without using effective language, we risk inaction.
What is Forced Labour?
This is when one person or gang deprives another person or group of their liberty, in order to exploit them for commercial gain.
What is Trafficking in Persons?
This is the ACT of “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by MEANS of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the PURPOSE of exploitation.
Simply put, people are tricked and deceived into travelling to a job that either never existed or if it did the terms and conditions were not stated. Notably:
- The victim may consent to the travel – as in cases where they are deceived by the promise of a better life, or job, or where a child is influenced to travel by an adult.
- Travel need not be across border but may be within country.
- The exploitation of the potential victim does not need to have taken place – simply that the movement of the individual was with a view to exploiting them.
What is Bonded Labour?
This is the most widespread form of slavery in the world. A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan – often the loan provided to cover the recruitment fee and travel to take up the role. The person is then tricked or trapped into working for very little or no pay, forced to work to repay debts their employer says they owe, and are not allowed to work for anyone else. Debts may be passed onto the next generation.
UK Modern Slavery Legislation
The Modern Slavery Act 2015; Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 and Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland)Bill contains the relevant legislation.
Section 1(1) of the Acts define that a person commits an offence if –
- The person holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is held in slavery or servitude, or
- The person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is being required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
The punishment is a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Who is at Risk of being a victim in the UK?
Everyone is always at risk of being vulnerable irrespective of nationality or gender.
However, whilst there are cases of vulnerable UK nationals being exploited, evidence shows that it is mainly migrant workers who are the victims of forced labour, labour trafficking and the more extreme forms of labour exploitation (A Migrant worker is a person who is to be engaged, is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a state of which he/she is not a national).
Not having the appropriate immigration (or right to work) status to work legally in the UK also puts an individual who seek paid work at risk for exploitation; however, statistics show that victims rescued from forced labour situations within the UK predominantly have the legal right to work.
Why are they most likely at risk?
- Their lift situation may be such that they must accept any work just to eat and survive
- Their work options are more limited, particularly where they have limited English language skills
- They may expect to pay for work in the UK if it is common practice in their own country
- They are lured by “package deals” – transport to the UK, accommodation, and work
- They trust fellow countrymen who make convincing but false promises of being able to arrange regular work and good pay in the UK
- They are targeted by exploiters and criminal gangs who know how to spot “easy victims” who are easier to control.
How the exploiters control and exploit their victims?
Exploiters are well versed in the “tricks of the trade” to find, subdue, hold, break, control n maximise the economic return from the “workers” they hold in modern slavery and make it extremely difficult for victims to escape. They generally;
- Quickly put them in financial indebtedness so that they must work to pay off monies owed for transport, rent and food.
- Isolate the victims from contact with others and the local community by transporting them and restricting them to their accommodation.
- By using physical and threatened psychological violence, harassment, and intimidation
- Holding victims bank cards to take wages and controlling their accounts to go into overdraft, take out loans etc in their name.
- Withholding the victim’s passport and other identification documents and using their identity to commit benefit and financial fraud.
- Threatening to expose the worker to the authorities
- Threatening to hurt their families in the UK or abroad.
How to Spot the Signs of Exploitation Victims?
- Physical Appearance – Malnourished, dirty, frightened, withdrawn, confused, injuries that may seem to be the result of an assault.
- Limited or no money
- No personal items e.g. Purse, Wallet, Jewellery
- Wearing the same clothes on all the time
- Other people present their documents and speak for them
- Are taken to and from work
- Don’t speak to anyone as they don’t know who they can trust
What should you do if you think you or someone else are being exploited?
Call the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700
Visit the website www.modernslavery.co.uk
We would like to thank the team at Stronger Together for the hard work that they do, bringing these details to light to the people in the UK and together, trying to prevent modern slavery.
For more information on what they do, please visit their website at www.stronger2gether.org