FLEX is the co-chair of the Modern Slavery Strategy Implementation Group: Task and Finish Sub-Group on Prevention ('MSSIG Prevent'). This is a stakeholder body which advises government on prevention policy and activity. In its September member meeting, the MSSIG Prevent discussed the issue of exploitation of migrant domestic workers who enter the UK on the 'Overseas Domestic Workers' visa. Several members raised concerns about the perceived contradiction between this visa and the government's stated aims regarding the eradication of modern slavery and have now published a statement to that effect.
It’s vital that all workers can seek support if they experience harm at work. That’s why yesterday FLEX welcomed experts from Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany for a discussion on secure reporting for undocumented workers experiencing abuse and exploitation.
Does how we talk about modern slavery matter? We reflect on a mapping project of media messages on this topic to ask how the narratives being used are constructing problematic stories.
By Avril Sharp of Kalayaan
Imagine. You make the heart wrenching decision to leave your loved ones and migrate abroad for work. You leave behind everything and everyone you know in the hope you can earn a decent wage and provide for your family, your children, your spouse, your elderly parents. You hope you can pay for their education, their health needs, rent, and food for them to eat. You arrive in a foreign land. The conditions are not what you were told you would be working in.
The Government is currently consulting on whether to introduce a 'single enforcement body' instead of having multiple labour inspectorates. As the consultation deadline looms, we ask whether a single body is what we need to help end labour abuse and exploitation in the UK.
In a guest blog for FLEX, Hannah Wilson and Aintzane Marquez from Women’s Link Worldwide write about the human rights violations experienced by Moroccan women migrant workers picking strawberries in Spain. Circular migration, also known as temporary migration, is meant to be a tripple win for workers, their country of origin and their host country. Yet, economic profit is often put before the human rights of workers by both states and businesses. Understanding what is happening to migrant workers in Spain is crucial for the UK, where the Government has proposed temporary migration schemes similar to the Morocco-Spain arrangement as part of its post-Brexit immigration plans.
Today sees the launch of new collaborative work to expose and address the immigration detention of victims of human trafficking. First, the launch of a new report by the Labour Exploitation Advisory Group exploring how victims of trafficking are being detained and why this is happening, with strong recommendations for government to change policies; and second, the launch of a new Taskforce on Victims of Trafficking in Immigration Detention, comprised of 11 expert organisations.
Yesterday, the Government published its response to the recommendations made by the Modern Slavery Act Review. The Review, commissioned by Government and undertaken by Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss, made 80 recommendations on ways in which the Government might strengthen this legislation and its application. FLEX responds to the Government's response here.
A new FLEX project, 'Turning up the volume: Putting workers’ voice at the heart of efforts to tackle labour abuse and exploitation in supply chains', funded by the Freedom Fund, is exploring how workers can gain more power in supply chains and participate in the creation of labour standards that benefit their daily lives.