Modern slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery. Recent statistics show that 47% of all potential victims who cite the UK as the location of exploitation, were trafficked into forced labour. Traffickers and illegal/ unlicensed gangmasters target a range of industries including those involved in food manufacturing and processing.
How Your Industry Is Affected
With the food sector employing almost 4 million people and contributing £110bn to the UK economy, traffickers and organised criminals are looking for opportunities to exploit the industry. In 2016, 13% of all potential forced labour victims referred to services claiming the UK as the location of exploitation, came from the food industry or agricultural sector (2% to agriculture, 6% to food processing and 5% to non residential catering). While the numbers coming to light are small (109 potential victims in 2016), slavery’s hidden nature means actual numbers are likely to be much higher. The vast majority of employers will be recruiting people legitimately, but some firms could find themselves targeted by unscrupulous gangmasters who may be offering a ready supply of labour at knocked down rates.