Industry Profile - Care - 2020
Here we look at labour exploitation in the care sector and the headline trends for this sector including victim profiles, location, accommodation and what to consider when reporting intelligence.
The victim’s gender is not often reported but tends to be female where known. Reported age is often between 26 and 45 years, although unknown in several instances. Likewise, there are intelligence gaps around the victims' nationalities. Where known, exploitation of Bulgarian nationals is most reported.
Exploitation is reported in various locations, but there are slightly more reports in Eastern and South-East regions.
Methods used to recruit into the sector are generally unknown, some reports suggest internet adverts and recruitment agencies based in both the UK and overseas have been utilised.
Where recruitment occurs overseas the extent to which the exploiter organises travel to the UK is unknown. Limited reports suggest travel by aeroplane.
Accommodation is often provided by the exploiter usually in a residential property: or at the care home in which they work. It is often described as substandard and/or overcrowded.
Limited reports of workers sleeping in disused buildings.
Withheld wages and payment below National Minimum Wage are reported.
There are health and safety concerns including excessive hours, including back-to-back shifts. Also lack of training and PPE.
There are limited reports of debt bondage and workers receiving one meal a day instead of payment.
It is estimated that around half a million new care workers will be required over the next 10 years to meet demand.
The points-based immigration system is likely to further impact on the current labour shortage and the current pandemic may hamper recruitment drives. https://www.stylist.co.uk/life/immigration-bill-care-work-low-skill-priti-patel/391623
Key questions to prevent and identify labour exploitation
• Do recruitment processes include questions to identify whether a person may have been trafficked, paid work finding fees, or was otherwise exploited whilst seeking employment?
• Do you have any additional due diligence checks for workers at risk of being exploited? Including access to translation services?
• How do you make workers aware of their employment entitlements, and where they should direct complaints or queries?
• Are business policies, including whistleblowing, ethical rights and health and safety, all fit for purpose in identifying, reporting and handling reports of labour exploitation and modern slavery?
• Do members of your organisation and your supply chain receive training on spotting the signs of modern slavery and labour exploitation?
• Do you have an internal escalation process if you identify an issue of exploitation? Do you know who to contact?
What to consider when reporting intelligence
Example: A care home is exploiting workers by making them work long hours. They are underpaid.
What other information would help?
- Provide the address of the care home and more details about the workers involved – what is their known or suspected nationality?
- Do any appear to be minors?
- Male or female?
- What hours do they work?
- Are shift start/end times known?
- How are workers arriving, are there vehicle details?
- How much are workers paid?
- How does recruitment occur?
Whilst not all factors may be known, any additional details will assist the GLAA in identifying people and locations involved for operational purposes and to improve our intelligence picture.
Who to contact
Please report to the GLAA:
• Unlicensed trading in the regulated sector (agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and any associated processing and packaging) across the UK.
• Labour market offences (non-payment of the National Minimum Wage, breach of Employment Agency Standards) in the regulated sector in England and Wales
• Individuals, labour users or labour providers who are suspected of modern slavery and human trafficking in any labour industry (excluding sexual exploitation), or individuals who are potential victims of such activity in England and Wales.
Please report to partners:
• Issues of National Minimum Wage only, in sectors that are not GLAA regulated to the HMRC NMW team (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/national-minimum-wage-enquiries-and-complaints)
• Health and safety issues only (all sectors) to the Health and Safety Executive (http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm)
• Workplace relations and employment law issues (including contract issues, discrimination and grievances) to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) (https://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1410)
• When there is an immediate threat to life contact the police emergency number.
• To report labour exploitation, human trafficking or modern slavery outside of the regulated sectors in Northern Ireland or Scotland, contact the local police service.