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Care homes implicated in labour slavery, says new report

There is an emerging picture of labour slavery in the care industry, a new report into UK slavery has revealed.

The  annual assessment of calls to UK anti-slavery charity Unseen’s helpline finds that care is now in the top three industries implicated in labour slavery, behind services and construction.

Among the indicators of labour slavery, the report includes non-payment of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and long or excessive hours.

Out of 1,596 cases of labour slavery reported to the helpline in 2022, 106 (6.6 per cent) came from care, up from 15 in 2021. Female gender and nationals from India, Zimbabwe and Nigeria are among those also subjected to labour exploitation, predominantly in the care sector.

In a case study, the charity reports of one care home employing workers on student visas through an agency. The charity reports that although the care home paid the agency, the agency did not pay the students, who had worked 14-hour shifts for five days without pay.  

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