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What Labour Exploitation Looks Like in the Seasonal Sector

Police Scotland have launched a brand-new website aimed at identifying labour exploitation and supporting business owners and communities to tackle this form of modern slavery which has increased dramatically in Scotland in recent years.

The ‘End Labour Exploitation’ website explains everything you need to know about labour exploitation including ways people can be exploited and how to recognise the signs to ensure your business is not part of the problem. It also covers ways to get help if you are a victim of labour exploitation.

Although any business can be affected by labour exploitation, those with high ongoing or seasonal labour work will always be at higher risk.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Business owners, managers, employees – and the wider public – all have a role to play in reducing, and ultimately ending, labour exploitation. The information here is designed to give you the tools to identify and act upon the signs of exploitation and abuse in the workplace.”

It is the responsibility of owners, managers and employees alike to make sure your business does not become involved in the exploitation of people, whether intentionally or through lack of procedures identifying the problem.

Anyone can become a victim of exploitation, although there are specific sectors where these crimes are most prevalent.

Their spokesperson added: “Labour exploitation occurs in many different industries, in every part of the country. But sectors regarded as being particularly at risk include farming, fishing, food processing, packaging and fulfilment. Police Scotland saw a 135% increase in labour exploitation case referrals in 2019.

“Victims of exploitation can be Scottish nationals or workers from elsewhere in the UK and other countries. Research suggests that labour exploitation is a significantly under-reported crime.”

In 2019, Police Scotland saw a 135% increase in case referrals in labour exploitation and are now looking for community support to ‘break the chain’ of labour exploitation by staying vigilant and reporting suspicions by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Police Scotlands ‘Break the Chain’ website can be found at https://endlabourexploitation.co.uk/ and covers a range of topics such as the risk to small and large businesses as well as best practice guides to safeguard your business against risks.

The site also covers the signs of labour exploitation in both the community and the workplace and how you can identify and stop labour exploitation. For information on signs, please visit https://endlabourexploitation.co.uk/signs/

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