Case study - Forced labour

Case study: Forced labour in the UK

A group of Eastern Europeans were brought to the UK by a gang to work illegally. They were originally informed that they would be working with permits, but en route were given false British passports.

When they realised that they would be in the UK illegally they attempted to leave the gang’s control, but were threatened so seriously that they were forced to continue.

On arrival they were informed of their conditions: that they must work seven days a week for one year with no pay because they needed to repay their 'debt' incurred for various expenses, including those related to migrating to the UK. Their salaries were transferred into the bank account of a gang member.

They were watched very carefully, moved from house to house, and kept isolated. If they broke any conditions - if they spoke to anyone for example - they were fined and this was all noted down in a book and added to their 'debt'. Control was maintained by beatings and physical assaults.

Source: ‘Forced Labour and Migration to the UK’ 2005 published by the TUC

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