To coincide with Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) has announced the launch of a two-year project targeting the growing problem of trafficking for labour exploitation across Europe.
The Proactive identification and support of victims of trafficking for labour exploitation in the EU (Pro-Act) project will be carried out in the UK, Netherlands and Romania, and will focus on developing strategies for identification and support of victims in industries including agriculture, construction, domestic work and cleaning. FLEX will be joined in the implementation of the project by its UK partners, Migrant Help and the Latin American Women’s Rights Service.
FLEX Legal Director, Claire Falconer said:
The number of potential trafficking victims in the UK is increasing every year, and the most rapid increase is in victims of labour exploitation. This project aims to reach those victims on farms, construction sites, and domestic households who too often remain undetected and unassisted.
The project launch follows a report from the Salvation Army earlier this week that it now supports more victims of trafficking for forced labour than for sexual exploitation.
Ms Falconer added:
We are seeing more cases of trafficking for labour exploitation than ever before, but there is still little knowledge about how to best identify and support these victims. People exploited in UK industries have a range of needs and vulnerabilities – tailored approaches for different victims are required.
The project also coincides with the passage of the UK Modern Slavery Bill, which has beencriticised for lacking proactive identification and victim protection measures. The identification and support strategies developed in the project will attempt to fill some of these gaps and help to strengthen the ability of frontline organisations to address trafficking for labour exploitation.