Jesse, remember my interviewing job? well here are some of the results of the research ...
The third way's dirtiest secret
Ministers have tried to cover up their dependence on forced labour, Felicity Lawrence, Thursday February 3, 2005, The Guardian
A year ago this Saturday, 23 Chinese cocklepickers died at Morecambe Bay. A major new report that uncovers the scale of forced labour in Britain and makes recommendations on curbing this new form of slavery might be thought a fitting memorial to those who died. Instead, the government has tried to block its publication until after the election, as our front-page story reveals.
Interviews with migrants record the violence, threats, debt-bondage, dangerous conditions and enforced long hours to which they are exposed. They also lead to the inescapable conclusion that the deregulated economy has created the conditions for this exploitation to flourish under Labour.
The report was commissioned at the beginning of last year by the International Labour Organisation - the UN body that works with government, unions and industry - and the TUC, and was completed last summer by academics at Oxford and Sussex universities. Yet it is only now seeing the light of day. It will finally be published this week by the TUC, but minus its ILO and Department for Work and Pensions backers. What is a Labour government that champions social justice so frightened of? And why has it taken the unions so long to defy its efforts at censorship?
The original title of the report was Free Market and Forced Labour. For it looks not just at the extent to which coercive employment takes place - and the answer is far more than anyone has acknowledged - but also at the nature of economic demand that drives migration and forced labour. And herein lies the real horror.
It is not just the sex industry that traffics and exploits migrants, but our key sectors - food and agriculture, contract cleaning, hotels and catering, construction and care homes. Moreover, the state uses migrants' forced labour in many cases - when it outsources local authority care to the private sector, when it uses agencies to recruit NHS nurses who end up living on £5 a week, when it uses contract cleaners provided by the cheapest bidder for its offices, or when subcontracted migrant labour is used on private finance initiative construction.
The UK has Europe's most flexible labour force; it lives in fear and squalor, is paid a pittance and is bussed round the country to work in the shadows of the night shift.
Article for the TUC written by the authours of the research
Guardian article cited above
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