The Gangmasters Licensing Authority now focuses its resources on investigating larger negligent labour providers in sectors such as agriculture and horticulture, explains its chief executive officer, Paul Broadbent.

The vast majority of migrant workers in the UK head for our country with dreams of a better life. They arrive with hopes of earning a fair wage for an honest day’s work. The stark reality is, however, that a significant number end up exploited by unscrupulous employers – embroiled in a world of illegal gangmasters, debt, unsafe practices, forced labour, squalid accommodation, benefit fraud and, in some instances, physical threats and beatings.

The organisation tasked with safeguarding a good proportion of migrant workers is the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. As a regulatory public body, we work in partnership with a number of other agencies to protect the vulnerable and the exploited who work in agriculture, horticulture, food processing and packaging and shellfish gathering. That remit has changed little since our emergence in 2005 but there has been a recent shift in focus and tactics.

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