GLA uncovering 'modern slavery'
The body which regulates the supply of workers to the agricultural, horticultural and shellfish industries is uncovering an increasing number of cases of "modern slavery", according to a new report.
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) unveiled a new strategy aimed at preventing workers from being exploited through forced labour or human trafficking.
The GLA, set up following the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, where 21 Chinese cockle pickers drowned, said it was consistently involved in more than 80 criminal investigations, with an increasing number involving evidence of collusion between organised crime groups.
Some examples involve trafficking people into the UK on the promise of work, decent pay and a better life, said the authority.
The new approach includes tackling unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on businesses while continuing to regulate sectors employing up to 700,000 workers.
GLA chief executive Paul Broadbent said: "Forced labour in its most extreme form is modern slavery. It is one of the most abhorrent forms of exploitation we encounter and sadly we are uncovering and tackling more and more cases in the areas we regulate."