GLAA Intelligence Picture Q2 (April-June 2023)
This is a Quarterly report providing an update on the GLAA intelligence picture of forced and compulsory labour in the UK, defined as “All work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered themselves voluntarily” ILO definition.
The report concerns Modern Slavery Human Trafficking (MSHT) for labour exploitation only. It does not cover MSHT for other purposes such as sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation (drug cultivation, drug dealing / county lines) or forced begging.
The report is intended to describe the intelligence picture of forced and compulsory labour as reported to and investigated by the GLAA, rather than an all-encompassing national picture of MSHT. Some of the GLAA findings therefore may differ to those of other government departments tackling modern slavery.
Neither is the report an analysis of labour market non-compliances where MSHT indicators are absent.
This report covers the period 1st April to 30th June 2023.
The victim profile for this Quarter reports a potential victim is most likely to be male, aged between 25 and 34, and be of Indian nationality.
Gender of potential victims was reported in 44% of the cases analysed.
As expected, most reports suggested exclusively male (or groups of male) victims. Where gender is reported, the number of cases reporting exclusively male victims was 48% in this Quarter. Exclusively female victims were present in just 12% of cases.
Age of potential victims was reported in 19% of reports during this Quarter.
The most reported age range in this reporting period was 25-34 and the average age was 38. The youngest age described was 12 and the oldest was 56.
Nationality (or at least a vague geographical area) of potential victims was reported in 33% of the reports.
For this reporting period most potential victims were of Indian nationality. Indian nationality was present in 6 reports, with 4 of those reports relating to the care sector. The second most common victim nationality group was Zimbabwean, which was recorded in 2 reports. Both these reports were related to the care sector.
This quarter saw the following nationalities as new additions;
Table: MSHT reports by victim nationality Q1 and Q2 (Top 5)
Indian Q1 10 / Q2 6
Romanian Q1 6 / Q2 1
Asian Q1 5 / Q2 1
Zimbabwean Q1 4 / Q2 2
Bulgarian Q1 4 / Q2 1
During Quarter 1 there were 0 NRM referrals and 3 MS1 referrals.
56% of the reports in the reporting period indicated that potential victims displayed some kind of vulnerability to exploitation.
The most common vulnerability was the potential victim being tied into a certificate of sponsorship or visa, which led to workers being forced to work for the employer even if the conditions were unacceptable and the employer using the threat of cancelling the sponsorship if the worker complained.
The second most common vulnerability was the potential victim speaking limited or no English, therefore leaving them extremely vulnerable in terms of not being able understand their rights as workers or being able to report any abuse or seek help.
During this Quarter, 2 cases recorded the involvement of minors, a vulnerability that hadn’t been recorded in Q1.
Table: MSHT report by victim vulnerability Q1 and Q2 (Top 5)
Immigration status Q1 18 / Q2 4
Tied into sponsorship/visa Q1 11 / Q2 10
Limited / No English Q1 12 / Q2 8
Student Q1 3 / Q2 1
Debt bonded Q1 1 / Q2 3
The GLAA intelligence picture for this Quarter suggests that potential exploiters are more likely to be male and aged 25-34.
Gender of potential exploiters was reported in 50% of reports during this reporting period.
As with previous GLAA intelligence pictures, most reports suggested exclusively male exploiters. In this Quarter the number of cases reporting exclusively male exploiters was 77%.
Reports of exclusively female exploiters totalled just 15% in this Quarter.
Age of potential exploiters was reported in 13% of reports in this Quarter.
The most reported age range was 25-34 and the average age was 44. The youngest age recorded was 29 and the oldest was 63.
Nationality (or at least a vague geographical area) of potential exploiters was reported or implied in only 7% of reports during this reporting period.
For this reporting period there were no common nationalities reported. The nationalities recorded were:
Latvian, Moldovan and Nigerian were new nationalities seen this Quarter.
Table: MSHT reports by exploiter nationality Q1 and Q2 (Top 5)
British Q1 7 Q2 0
Romanian Q1 3 / Q2 1
Zimbabwean Q1 2 / Q2 1
Indian Q1 2 / Q2 1
Kenyan Q1 1 / Q2 1
Exploiter Operating Model
This section is based on the offender operating models as defined by the Joint Slavery and Trafficking Analysis Centre (JSTAC) in their 2018 intelligence assessment “UK Labour Exploitation: A Baseline Assessment of the Offending Models in Labour Exploitation in the United Kingdom”.
This paper defines the four operating models as follows:
Employer (End User) Model – Victims carry out work for the exploiter or their business as the end user of their labour.
Employer (Intermediary) Model – Victims work on behalf of the exploiter or their business, completing work for a third party.
Non-Employer Models – Exploiters have no formal link to the victim’s employment but control the victim’s home and economic matters.
Exploitation in Secluded Environments – Exploiters force victims to carry out multiple forms of work for their own personal gain, often in isolated locations and communities.
An offender operating model, as described above, was evident or implied in 79% of reports in this Quarter.
Where recorded, the most common model during this reporting period was the Employer (End User) Model, which was indicated in 93% of reports.
The Non-Employer Model was present in 5% of cases and the Employer (Intermediary) Model was present in 3% of cases.
Organised Crime Groups
According to the latest National OCGM Database (May 2023), there are currently no active OCGs that have been submitted by the GLAA. There have been no reports during this Quarter that mentions OCG involvement. The level of involvement of OCG’s in forced labour is an intelligence gap for the GLAA.
In this Quarter, it was clear in 8% of reports that a recruitment agency was involved in the supply of the potential victim.
75% of these cases, were linked to the care sector and it was suggested that the agency was involved in facilitating the exploitation, via means such as inadequate pay, inflated fees and debt bondage.
50% of the cases related to recruitment agencies based in India.
The GLAA intelligence picture identified possible labour exploitation in 16 different industry sectors during Quarter 2.
The top three reported sectors for this Quarter were care home/social care, car wash and agriculture. These sectors are profiled in more detail in the following pages.
This has changed slightly since the last Quarter with the loss of the construction sector and the addition of the agriculture sector. The increase in reporting in the agriculture sector may have been due to it being the start and the height of the soft fruit picking season. Although car wash is still in the top 3 the number of reports have decreased from 20 to 7 since the last Quarter. This decrease may be as a result of the GLAA holding talks with the key referrer of car wash intelligence to improve data quality.
This Quarter saw the addition of the following sectors:
- Food packaging
- Domestic work
Intelligence with MSHT indicators in the GLAA-regulated sectors amounted to 18% of reporting in Quarter 2.
Table: MSHT reports by sector Q1 and Q2 (top 5)
Care Q1 23 / Q2 15
Car wash Q1 20 / Q2 7
Agriculture Q1 5 / Q2 6
Construction Q1 6 / Q2 3
Food processing Q1 6 / Q2 3
Overview of top sectors with MSHT indicators (Q2 2023)
1. Care Homes/Social Care
Background: There has been a slight decrease of reports from the care home/social care sector since Q1, decreasing from 23 reports to 15. The GLAA are still the leading Labour Market Enforcement bodies in a cross government multi-agency enforcement project called Op Topaz to investigate a range of allegations about the adult care sector. The care sector is now a control strategy priority for the GLAA.
Share: Care homes/social care was the most reported sector for this Quarter, accounting for 29% of all MSHT reports.
Victims: Where the gender of victims was reported, there was an equal split of both male and female victims. The top nationality recorded was Indian.
Exploiters: Where the gender of exploiters has been recorded, again there was an equal split of both male and female exploiters. There was not enough data regarding nationality to draw any meaningful conclusions.
Offending model: In 93% of the cases, it was reported or implied that the Employer End User Model was in use, where the exploiter was the owner of the care company.
Exploitation type: The most common means of exploiting the victims was working long hours. This was followed by inadequate pay and debt bondage.
Location: There were no conclusive patterns in terms of location. However, counties that had 2 reports linked to them were London, South Yorkshire, Surrey and Wales.
Accommodation: Accommodation type was recorded in 13% of reports and in all cases it was a house. In 40% of cases the accommodation was provided by the exploiter and in 33% of these cases the accommodation was substandard.
Recruitment: The method of recruitment, as in most sectors, remains a large intelligence gap.
2. Car Wash
Background: Cases from the car wash sector have decreased from 20 reports in Q1 to 7 reports in Q2. This could be due to an attempt to improve data quality mentioned previously. The car wash sector is now a control strategy priority for the GLAA
Share: Car wash was the second most common sector in this Quarter, accounting for 13% of cases reported.
Victims: Where the gender of victims was reported, the victim was predominantly male. Nationality wasn’t recorded in any cases. 71% of cases implied victims showed signs of vulnerability such as speaking limited or no English.
Exploiters: Where gender is recorded, most cases showed that exploiters were male. There was not enough data to make a conclusion about age and nationality.
Offending model: Where recorded, in all cases the exploitation was carried out using the Employer End User model, where the exploiter was the owner/manager of the business.
Exploitation type: The most common exploitation types were living at the work premises and inadequate pay.
Location: There was no pattern in terms of location, with potential MSHT in car washes occurring in different counties across the country.
Accommodation: In 57%% of the reports the accommodation had been organised by the exploiter and in most of these cases it was on the site of the car wash and was substandard.
Recruitment: The method of recruitment, as in most sectors, remains a large intelligence gap.
Background: Since the last MSHT intelligence picture report, there has been a slight increase of reports from the agriculture sector. This sector incorporates a wide variety of work including animal production, poultry, flowers and fruit and vegetables.
Share: This was the third most common reported sector for MSHT in this Quarter, accounting for 12% of reports.
Victims: Gender of the victim was recorded in 50% of cases, all being female victims. Nationality was reported in 33% of the cases, the nationalities recorded were Indian and Uzbekistani.
Exploiter: Gender was recorded in 50% of cases and exploiters were predominately male. There was not enough data to make a conclusion about age and nationality.
Offending model: In all but one cases the Employer – End User model was used. The one other case was a case of non-employer model where a farm employee was being controlled by an exploiter outside of work.
Exploitation type: The most common exploitation types were working long hours and feeling controlled. This was closely followed by inadequate pay.
Location: The most common counties were Herefordshire and Hampshire.
Accommodation: In 67% of the reports the accommodation had been organised by the exploiter. The condition of the accommodation was only clear in one case, which was substandard.
Recruitment: The most common forms of recruitment methods used in this sector are word of mouth between friends and family and social media.
Caveat: It should be noted that the GLAA intelligence picture is compiled from reports received from a variety of different sources including UK Police forces. Since some forces are more proactive in sharing intelligence than others, the location figures in the GLAA intelligence picture may be skewed towards the areas these forces cover.
The GLAA forced and compulsory labour intelligence picture for this Quarter shows a varied spread of locations across the UK.
London was the most reported county in Quarter 2 with 18% of the reports coming from this area. The most common sectors in London were care, construction, and food service. Only 1 report related to GLAA regulated sectors, although the care sector is a GLAA control strategy priority.
Table: MSHT reports by county Q1 and Q2 (Top 5)
London Q1 11 / Q2 9
South Yorkshire Q1 5 / Q2 4
Norfolk Q1 5 / Q2 3
West Yorkshire Q1 4 / Q2 2
Kent Q1 4 / Q2 2
In terms of regional crime units, London was the most reported region this Quarter, with 18% of the reports. The second most reported region was the East (14%), with 38% of these reports being from Norfolk. A varied range of sectors were recorded in the East.
Table: MSHT reports by regional crime unit Q1 and Q2 (Top 5)
Yorkshire & Humber Q1 14 / Q2 7
South East Q1 12 / Q2 7
East Q1 11 / Q2 8
London Q1 4 / Q2 9
West Midlands Q1 6 / Q2 5
The recruitment method of victims remains an extremely large intelligence gap for the GLAA. In this Quarter, the recruitment method was known in only 1 case. The type of method recorded was trafficked into the country. Recruitment location was recorded in 19% of reports and all but one of the locations were overseas. The following countries were recorded:
- South Africa
Transport to the UK
This is another large intelligence gap for the GLAA. However, it is also not always relevant as not all potential victims are trafficked into the UK by an exploiter.
In this Quarter the method of transport was only clearly recorded in 8% of cases. In all these cases it was aeroplane.
Accommodation type was recorded in 37% of the reports this Quarter, with the most common being described as on site.
The data shows that accommodation continues to be a factor in the exploitation of victims of forced and compulsory labour, with accommodation provided or controlled by potential exploiters in 50% of reports in this Quarter. In 38% of those cases, it was suggested that the accommodation was substandard. Other types of accommodation recorded this Quarter were store room, shack and apartment.
Table: MSHT reports by accommodation type Q1 and Q2 (Top 5)
On site Q1 9 / Q2 7
Caravan Q1 4 / Q2 4
HMO Q1 3 / Q2 1
Flat Q1 1 / Q2 3
House Q1 0 / Q2 4
There was a wide range of exploitation types reported this Quarter. The most common was working long hours, which featured in 37% of reports.
The next most common exploitation type was pay issues (31%). Victims who were reported pay issues gave examples such as not receiving enough pay, pay issues related to piece rate and receiving no pay at all.
Table: MSHT reports by exploitation type Q1 and Q2 (Top 5)
Inadequate pay Q1 37 / Q2 16
Work long hours Q1 18 / Q2 19
Controlled Q1 14 / Q2 8
Living on site Q1 9 / Q2 8
Inflated fees Q1 11/ Q2 4
Cost of living crisis
The cost-of-living crisis is likely to increase the harm on victims of modern slavery as exploiters look to cut costs and workers may be willing to accept less favourable work and working conditions.
War in Ukraine
Evidence provided by the NCA showed that the Ukraine conflict has disrupted the supply of seasonal workers, with Ukrainians representing the largest proportion of workers since 2019. A shortage of workers may lead to increased employment of irregular migrants and the MSHT risks that it brings.
Points-Based Immigration System
Employers are more likely to hire illegal workers to gain cheap labour as exploiters look to cut costs, and if they were to hire skilled workers the costs would add up.
However, this system allows for the employer to sponsor workers, such as seasonal agricultural workers, to come to the UK. This means that workers are likely to come to the UK legally and therefore, without being exploited or trafficked. Yet, it is still a possibility of modern slavery and/or labour exploitation due to the time-consuming nature of the system.
Stop the Boats Bill March 2023 and The Legal Immigration Bill 2023
Victims of modern slavery arriving on small boats may still be recognised as victims, however they will not be able to access the NRM system, associated support or prevent deportation unless assisting police or prosecutors with criminal proceeding related to their exploitation. These victims will be detained and either sent back home or to a safe country (e.g., Rwanda) where they are able to claim asylum. Once removed, they will not be able to re-enter the UK. This could deter irregular migrants from reporting incidences of forced labour/ exploitation and increase their vulnerability.
Seasonal Worker Scheme
An immigration visa route means that workers must meet eligibility requirements or be sponsored. They must apply to work in horticulture for up to 6 months, and poultry from the 2nd of October to the 31st of December (within the same year). This means that workers have to go through a more legalised route to enter the UK for a seasonal worker opportunity, thus minimising the risk for MSHT and labour exploitation. Nevertheless, this may lead to a shortage of workers in the UK.