Between July and September the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) identified 2,599 potential victims of labour exploitation.

The agriculture sector was one of the industries where the GLAA received the most information.

Issues highlighted to the GLAA were in relation to workers not receiving the National Minimum Wage, terms of employment, intimidation and coercion and health and safety concerns.

Only this month, two men from the Milton Keynes area have admitted supplying workers into a food processing company without a GLAA licence and will appear in court in March.

In October, the GLAA conducted unannounced compliance inspections in Lincolnshire to check on agency workers’ welfare and tackle any potential unlicensed activity. Lincolnshire and the east of England is a key region for the GLAA due to its high levels of agricultural, food processing and packaging work, all of which requires licensed labour providers.

HOPS Operations Director Sarah Boparan said: “HOPS works with its farms to ensure they are compliant and are following best practice. We also work with our overseas agents to raise awareness of modern slavery and ensure people are recruited ethically. It’s important that all growers are following the correct procedures and HOPS is always available to offer help and advice.”

HOPS encourages growers to train staff in identifying the signs of modern slavery and have plans in place for how to manage the situation properly while supporting and protecting all involved.