A Glasgow-based recruitment firm is urging businesses across the UK to make a commitment to tackling modern slavery amid reports that the crime is far more prevalent than previously suspected.
EasyRecruit has warned that firms operating in the flexible labour market can unwittingly hire individuals that have been trafficked without the correct procedures and policies in place.
The technology-driven agency’s call follows the recent comments of the National Crime Agency’s Director of Vulnerabilities, Will Kerr, that the scale of modern slavery and human trafficking is ‘shocking’ after a recent crackdown. Official government figures identified around 3,800 victims of the crime last year, but the number of people affected by modern slavery in the UK alone is thought to be in the tens of thousands. Workers subjected to low pay and poor living conditions through modern slavery have been reported working across a variety of industries, including construction and beauty.
Derek Ferrol, managing director of EasyRecruit, said: “Businesses that rely on a casual, flexible workforce can unintentionally make illegal hires or recruit those that have been trafficked to the UK for profit. When you need to make a quick hire to get a task done, it’s easy for the usual policies to end up on the back burner. But every business in the UK has a responsibility to tackle modern day slavery and take the necessary steps to stop this awful crime from spreading. Modern slavery is often thought of as an issue that’s happening in third world countries and only affects firms with complex supply chains, but the latest results show that it can be far closer to home.”
Every business needs to thoroughly assess an individual’s right to work in the UK, including those that are making flexible hires. Legal issues could suggest that the person has been trafficked and is being forced to work against their will.
Ferrol added: “Modern slavery is a highly complex social issue to tackle but if every UK business, from independent construction firms to large multinationals, takes steps to halt the practice, it’s one that can be solved.”