U.N. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery Tomoya Obokata, recently warned the U.K. government that by failing to investigate “clear indicators of forced labor” in its seasonal worker scheme, they may be in breach of international law. As reported by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, (TBIJ) reports of intimidation, threats, sexual harassment and poor living conditions by people working on U.K. farms left Obokata “very concerned.”
Seasonal worker scheme “plagued by allegations of worker mistreatment”
NGOs, government inspectors as well as a recent parliamentary inquiry and an investigation by TBIJ found systemic bullying and abuse on multiple farms in the U.K. On top of these findings, in a separate investigation from October of 2023, TBJI uncovered hundreds of allegations from seasonal workers of threats, wage theft and racism that the U.K. Home Office had failed to investigate.
“If the U.K. government is not properly conducting labor inspections, identifying abuse and holding perpetrators to account that is a clear breach of an international human rights obligation.”