Slavery checks not fit for purpose at UK firms, report says
UK businesses are running the risk of employing forced labour because they do not know enough about their staff, researchers have warned.
Firms are realising that often they do not fully trace the backgrounds of workers, a study by the University of Sheffield and University of Bath found.
It means their checks are not “fit for purpose” to uncover modern slavery, according to the researchers.
The government said further changes for businesses might be needed.
Home Office Minister Sarah Newton said the government was “considering what further steps may be necessary” to ensure all large businesses report properly and take effective action on forced labour.
It comes after a warning last month that modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK was “far more prevalent than previously thought”.
The National Crime Agency said previous estimates of 10,000-13,000 victims in the UK were the “tip of the iceberg”.
The university study, one of the first to examine forced labour in UK companies, focused on the construction and food industries.
Prof Andrew Crane of the University of Bath, the report’s lead author, said: “Companies have little hope of detecting modern slavery practices unless they adopt a new approach that focuses specifically on their labour supply chains.
“They need to be able to trace the origin of their employees in the same way as most now can for their products.”