Economy Kushay's Matter Bank

[AK] How Modern Day Slavery Works

This note will discuss how modern day slavery ring operates, its victims, and the steps currently taken to combat it. It will discuss the case study of UK.

In UK, a lot of industrial sectors such as construction, food industry, etc. benefited from legal migrations from less economically prosperous areas, such as Eastern Europe because generally UK nationals are reluctant to work in those kinds of job fields. It isn’t perfect, however, because oftentimes people are scammed into forced labor with the kinds of treatments as follows:

– The exploiters promise big pay and comfortable working condition to people desperate for work/starry-eyed idealist looking for better life.

– After arriving at UK, they take away people’s ID and passport so that they find it harder to escape (the exploiters also often recruits people that don’t have good English)

– The people are force unpaid work for some time to “payback the cost of travel”. Their payment are withheld, sometimes not paid it at all, and is given to the exploiters instead.

– The traffickers threaten violence to people who escape.

According to the National Crime Agency, about 5,000 potential abuse victims are referred to the UK government last on 2017, an increase of 35% from last year although some estimates the people involved are around 10,000-13,000 people.

Due to multiple layers of outsourcing (the act of a company to hire another company in doing their work) which often involves informal and last-minute contracts, big companies often don’t know where their labor is coming from. The cases of exploitation usually happens on tier four and five of the supply chain, which are usually small businesses or one-man shops.

Solution? UK labor enforcement proposes making company legally responsible for human rights abuses that happen on their supply chain; It’s not without criticisms, however, as some pointed out that this would incentivize companies to even cover-up the abuses so that they won’t face sanctions. A milder solution involves “joint responsibility”, where government cooperates with corporations in doing human rights abuses investigation and ending it.

There’s also further complications, as the victims of these abuses often don’t want to report to the authorities because they commit law violations themselves (overstaying their visas, being an illegal immigrant), etc.

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