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Businesses are being urged to watch out for signs of modern slavery following the launch of Police Scotland’s End Labour Exploitation campaign.

Although labour exploitation can occur in criminal enterprises, it can also happen in legitimate industry sectors, with agriculture including fruit picking, food processing and fishing, and also construction, packaging, and in beauty salons.

In 2019, Police Scotland saw a 135% increase in labour exploitation case referrals.

Any business can be affected, although those with high ongoing or seasonal labour needs will always be at higher risk. It’s the responsibility of owners, managers and employees to make sure their business does not become involved in the exploitation of people, either intentionally or through poor practice.

Both the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) and Scotland Against Modern Slavery (SAMS) are proud to join together to give further support to the campaign, as well as proactively spreading awareness.

Shan Saba, founder of the movement, Scotland Against Modern Slavery, and Director at Brightwork Recruitment, said:

“The SBRC does such valuable work in Scotland to support businesses and by joining with SAMS, it shows a clear message of intent to the criminality behind labour exploitation that the business community will do everything they can to work towards eradicating this human misery from society. 

“Police Scotland’s valuable campaign will play a huge part in this and all the businesses that form SAMS give their full support to #endlabourexlpoitation.”

SBRC’s Head of Business Resilience and Seconded Police Inspector, Ian Stephen, said:

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Business Resilience Centre and SAMS have joined forces to support Police Scotland’s Anti-Slavery Campaign. This is an abhorrent crime where criminal gangs exploit innocent and vulnerable people for financial gain, often with the threat or use of violence.

“The SBRC will work with the police and SAMS to highlight the impact of this type of crime at every opportunity and will support Scottish businesses to help them avoid becoming victims or vehicles for this type of offending.”

Key signs to look out for include:

• Individuals who work but have little or no money to buy their basic necessities

• Workers who are made to live in poor and dirty conditions

• Workers who have their time both on and off duty dictated to them

• People who are nervous and scared of authority

For more information visit End Labour Exploitation.