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European trafficking experts back FLEX’s calls for stronger UK labour inspection to end modern slavery

October 7, 2016

The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) published its latest report today, examining the UK’s response to human trafficking. The report commends the increased political attention dedicated to fighting human trafficking in the UK in recent years, but supports FLEX’s calls for stronger labour inspection and effective access to justice for victims of trafficking.

FLEX particularly welcomes the CoE’s call for further action to strengthen the capacity and remit of the UK’s labour inspectorates to identify victims of trafficking and ensure labour standards are effectively enforced. The report echoes FLEX’s calls for more proactive labour inspection and adequate resources that enable inspectorates to prevent exploitation.

Commenting on the report, FLEX Policy Director, Caroline Robinson, said:

“This report highlights the key role of labour inspection in fighting human trafficking for labour exploitation. However, in recent years funding has been significantly reduced. If the UK government is serious about tackling modern slavery it must ensure sufficient resources for the newly extended Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.”

GRETA further urged the government to act immediately to protect the rights of victims of human trafficking, including providing adequate and sustainable support and ensuring victims’ access to compensation for the abuses committed against them.

FLEX Legal Director, Claire Falconer, said:

“While access to justice is a central right of victims of human trafficking, our research shows that one year on from the passage of the Modern Slavery Act, victims are still facing significant barriers to accessing compensation. The government must protect the legal right of victims and ensure they are fully compensated for the exploitation they have suffered.”

Notes to Editors

1. Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) works to end trafficking for labour exploitation. To achieve this FLEX promotes responses to trafficking for labour exploitation that are rights-based, victim-centred and founded on prevention rather than cure. See

2. For more detailed information on legal and practical barriers to accessing compensation for victims of trafficking in the UK, see FLEX’s working paper Access to Compensation for Victims of Human Trafficking