The planned temporary twelve month migrant worker schemes set out in the immigration white paper released today may lead to increased modern slavery in the UK if government fails to address these risks properly. FLEX provides commentary on the new proposals.
The Brexit migration policy debate is misdiagnosing the problem in relation to our labour market and the so-called ‘undercutting’ of British workers. Border control and more restrictive immigration policies are presented as the solution to poor conditions or limited jobs for British workers, but instead we should be turning to labour market enforcement and worker organising to solve these problems.
FLEX has succeeded in working with Alex Norris MP to ensure the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, will evaluate the incoming Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme pilot for risks of modern slavery and human trafficking.
As companies, civil society organisations and government representatives gather together for the UN Business and Human Rights Forum, we warn that transparency measures alone aren't enough to solve labour exploitation. Our animation takes you through the 10 steps needed for a meaningful corporate accountability framework.
EU citizens currently living in the UK, or who arrive before 31 December 2020, will have the right to stay here after Brexit under the EU Settlement Scheme. The Scheme plans are not currently fit for purpose for trafficked persons. FLEX calls on the government to ensure victims of slavery and trafficking have fair access to post-Brexit registration.
The government recently announced a new temporary worker programme for British agriculture and horticulture, the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Pilot (SAWP). Such programmes, if designed badly, can lead to exploitation and modern slavery. FLEX calls on the government to ensure workers are protected under the scheme.
Our recent report, Seeing Through Transparency, found that whilst transparency legislation is a useful step forward in improving corporate responsibility for global impacts, much more is needed to close the accountability gap in supply chains. We ask if extraterritorial liability might soon mean transnational companies have to take legal responsibility for their actions overseas.
In 2015 the UK adopted the Modern Slavery Act, which included a requirement for companies to report on measures taken to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains. Notably absent from this requirement however were public authorities.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has today raised major concerns about how the proposed new migrant agricultural worker programme poses a real risk of abuse. Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) sets out how the proposed programme could leave many thousands at risk of modern slavery unless key safeguards are adopted.
In recent years, there have been a growing number of campaigns calling on the general public to participate in identifying victims of human trafficking and forced labour by ‘spotting the signs’ of modern slavery. Despite increasing popularity, the effectiveness of such campaigns is questionable. Often, they rely on a racialized narrative of victims and perpetrators, and shift responsibility from government to consumer, ignoring the structural causes of trafficking and forced labour.
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