The number of modern slavery cases rose by 35% from 2016-2017 according to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority - with agriculture and food industry amongst the worst sectors.
A new report by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority describes the UK as being one of the main destinations of trafficked workers in Europe.
In agriculture, some workers - mainly from Romania and Bulgaria - are putting in 15 hour days at less than minimum wage and living in “horrific” conditions.
There are reports of illegal and under-age workers in the food industry. The sector has much unstructured shift work and there are reports of supervisors promising jobs and overtime in return for bribes and sexual favours.
Vicki Hird, Sustain’s Farming Campaign Coordinator said:
“This report makes for grim reading and some parts of the food system are clearly broken when it comes to protecting workers. The deep cracks in both employment relationships, changes in how food is supplied, and the lack of enforcement of regulations are clearly leading to huge exploitation. Agriculture workers are getting sporadic pay and at different rates, and there is too much evidence of criminality and slavery in food processing. The report shows that the growth of complex supply chains - where drive for costs savings lead to abuse – are often to blame. That takes deep rooted changes to how we manage and value the whole food chain alongside changes in enforcement and monitoring of existing rules.”
Despite there being approximately 400 active modern slavery investigations being conducted across England and Wales as at October 2017, there have been few prosecutions specifically for these offences.
You can read the full report and a wider summary on non-compliance with labour regulations and strategies to tackle them from the enforcement agencies.
Sustain campaigns for food and farming policy which benefits the environment, health, animals and farm workers.
Food and Farming Policy
Food and Farming Policy: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.
An open event at Westminster will discuss the effect of agriculture on climate change.
An event at the Centre for Food Policy - who are a member of Sustain - uses 20 years of experience...
Three politically charged words sum up the problem of trying to assess whether the draft...
The government announces a nationwide pilot to bring seasonal workers from outside the EU to work...
The assurance scheme says that it will introduce unannounced inspections for members that...
A new study from Cancer Research and the University of Liverpool with 2,500 7-11 year olds reveals...
Over 30% of Healthy Start vouchers are not being claimed in London, which would help low income...
Six finalists took part in a live cook-off to find the best plant-centred dish made with vegetables...
The Real Bread Campaign is reviewing its official ambassador role and is inviting Campaign...
Join Blackburn with Darwen Food Alliance on Friday 19 October as young people from the school,...
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
Projects & campaigns
Better Food Britain
Better Hospital Food
Children's Food Campaign
Food and Farming Policy
Food co-ops toolkit
Good Food For London
London Food Link
Planning Food Cities
Real Bread Campaign
Roots to work
Save Our Antibiotics
Sugar Smart UK
Sustainable Fish Cities
Sustainable Food Cities
The Big Dig
Urban Food Fortnight