In this comment piece, Louise Woodruff from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation explains the results of research into the mistreatment of migrant workers in the UK food industry.

Poor safety at work often goes hand in hand with economic exploitation of workers. This is not surprising – employers or agencies that are happy to exploit workers’ vulnerability to make money are unlikely to respect their safety at work. Our research on forced labour in the UK has looked into some of the dark corners of the labour market and has uncovered abusive treatment of migrant workers.

Many people are surprised forced labour is found at all in the UK today, viewing it as something from the past or a phenomenon found only in poorer countries. However, research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and others has shown there is evidence of abuse in UK workplaces that meets the internationally accepted definitions of forced labour.

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