Forced Labour’s business models and supply chains

How do employers make money from forced labour?

Our research into how UK industries profit from forced labour found that:

  • The way the UK economy functions creates a pool of people vulnerable to forced labour. People who are excluded from formal work and those in jobs at or near minimum wage are most susceptible.
  • Forced labour is used when it makes business sense, and is strongly associated with informality in the labour market (which takes different forms in different sectors).
  • Sector-specific conditions that allow for the possibility of forced labour include illegality of the product (cannabis); volatility and self-regulation of labour providers (construction industry); and seasonality (food sector).

Current approaches are limited in their effectiveness to prevent, detect or prosecute offences. Inadequate enforcement of labour standards appears to create a sense of impunity among employers. We recommend putting in place a UK-wide Advisory Panel to better tackle the problem.


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