A new app is helping to tackle modern slavery in farming, horticulture and food production.
The Farm Work Welfare App has been designed to support employers and workers and the content has been translated into eight languages to support migrant workers (Albanian, Bulgarian, English, Lithuanian, Romanian, Polish, Chinese (Mandarin) and Vietnamese).
Labour exploitation is the second most common form of modern slavery in the UK after coerced criminality (e.g. county lines drug trafficking, cannabis cultivation, shoplifting etc). It is most prevalent in the construction, agriculture and car wash sectors.
Every year, vulnerable and migrant seasonal workers are targeted and exploited by highly organised criminal gangs and like other types of exploitation and modern slavery, it can go unnoticed.
Farm businesses, workers or local people can use the new app to flag up concerns, suspicions or seek help. The information gathered will be processed by the Modern Slavery Helpline and help identify hot spots, enable criminal investigations and most importantly, support victims.
Frank Hanson, head of prevention and partnerships at the GLAA, said: “It is more important than ever that we educate workers, employers and consumers about what labour exploitation looks like, and the part we all have to play in tackling it. This app will help do that alongside making it easier to report any concerns or suspicions people have.”
The App, which is available from Google Play and Apple stores, will:
- provide farmers and growers with information, signposting and tools to help avoid criminal organisations and promote worker welfare. It will contain essential support on licensed labour providers, document verification and the rights of workers such as freedom of movement and right to work
- support workers and help them understand their rights and what to do if they are being exploited
- raise awareness amongst members of the public who live or work in rural areas about modern slavery and how to spot potential cases of exploitation.
The App was commissioned and funded by The Clewer Initiative and developed in partnership with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Fresca Group, the Church Commissioners for England, the Modern Slavery Helpline (MSH) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
For more information, visit the Clewer Initiative.