Care workers in the U.K. have been calling the national helpline for victims of modern slavery at an unprecedented rate since 2022, reports the BBC. Risks of exploitation and abuse are higher in the care sector than in other sectors because of the use of temporary labor visas and unlawful recruitment practices. People from overseas were lured under false pretenses to fill the employment gap, many having paid large sums to the people who brought them over putting them into debt bondage and vulnerable to exploitation.
The staggering facts
In a published report on October 23, Unseen U.K. provides statistics on the gross exploitation and abuse of care workers:
- 606% increase in the number of modern slavery care sector cases from 2021 to 2022
- In 2022, over 700 care staff used the helpline, figures which continue to rise in 2023.
- Nearly one in five potential modern slavery victims identified by the charity in 2022 worked in the care sector.
- Workers are being charged thousands of pounds to travel to the U.K. and sponsorship certificates.
- Unscrupulous employers and agents are charging workers 25,000 GBP adding interest and deducting the debt from their wages.
Justine Carter, director at Unseen U.K. states,
“The issue with care workers experiencing exploitation is that very vulnerable people are being employed to care for very vulnerable people.”