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Forced labour in the UK : JRF policy and research programme Louise Woodruff, Programme Manager.

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Presentation on theme: "Forced labour in the UK : JRF policy and research programme Louise Woodruff, Programme Manager."— Presentation transcript:

1 Forced labour in the UK : JRF policy and research programme Louise Woodruff, Programme Manager

2 Forced labour programme Improve the evidence base on forced labour Developing practical and policy recommendations/solutions/implications which can lead to a reduction in forced labour in the UK. We are using a theory of change approach to conceptualise and plan how we can have impact from our research programmes. Aims

3 Forced labour programme 3 primary research projects, 4 programme papers and a development project (Staff Wanted Initiative). More research to be published in 2013 : scope of forced labour in the UK, responses to forced labour in the EU, business models for forced labour, coverage of FL in the media Importance of findings from individual research projects but also need to pull together overarching messages – summary/policy paper.

4 Forced labour: emerging key messages JRF’s research has focussed on legal areas of the private economy but where behaviour of employers towards workers is illegal. This focus on legitimate sectors is important – brings FL into the mainstream – not a ‘niche’ problem and means we are concerned with the welfare of a greater numbers of workers (if not always dealing with the extremes). There is growing evidence of forced labour in the UK: especially in the low wage, highly flexible parts of the labour market. We mustn’t underestimate the power of restating this evidence and bringing it together. However, there is no systematic collection of data on forced labour in the UK making monitoring difficult.

5 Forced labour : emerging key messages Forced labour is part of a continuum from decent work to forced labour. It is hard to say when severe exploitation ends and forced labour begins. Forced labour is part of the labour market and the UK economy. Forced labour is entwined with the discourse and also law/practice on addressing human trafficking. Interpreted in different ways by different actors. In practical terms, can be a useful but focus on border control detracts from focussing on the workplace. There are existing gaps in enforcement and regulation of labour rights which will be exacerbated by recent changes to the law and reductions in funding. Research shows support for the GLA strong and also for expansion of its remit. Modern business practices can facilitate forced labour and legitimate businesses have a responsibility to address forced labour in their supply chains.

6 Forced labour programme : emerging messages The use of rogue employment agencies and informal gangmasters seems pivotal. In many cases, workers have the right to work and live in the UK. Improving ‘border control’ will not address their exploitation. However, vulnerability and status are linked. Understanding the perspective of the worker: the need to work paramount, lack of knowledge and access to rights, lack of recognition of FL or HT, feeling they’ve been scammed, acceptance. Forced labour businesses – commonalities and differences – examining the business models.

7 Opportunities and challenges What are we asking who to do? And can we cost it? Working with business Human trafficking law, policy and networks First convictions under the FL offence Support for ‘fairness’ e.g. living wage and addressing tax evasion Anti-red tape and reduction in business regulation approach by the government Changes in patterns of migration or not ?

8 Forced labour : examples of influencing work Continuum of forced labour paper Devolved nations and Westminster Food industry research : social media Forced labour and human trafficking Stakeholders and networking Business community International work : inputting into GRETA report and UN UPR of the UK


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