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The vulnerability of paid migrant live-in care workers in London to modern slavery

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This latest topical report from IPC presents research evidence from interviews and focus groups conducted with migrant live-in care workers designed to identify the potential risks and drivers of labour exploitation.

The research was funded by Trust for London and the report was jointly authored by researchers from the Institute of Public Care (Agnes Turnpenny), The University of Nottingham, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and FLEX.

Labour exploitation is defined as work situations that deviate significantly from standard working conditions as set out by legislation or other binding legal regulations concerning remuneration, working hours, leave, entitlements, health and safety standards and decent treatment. Severe labour exploitation includes coercive practices such as slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and trafficking.

In the UK, there have been longstanding concerns about labour market non-compliance and exploitation in adult social care. The Director of Labour Market Enforcement identified the sector as high risk, with live-in and agency care workers believed to be particularly vulnerable. The risks centre around remuneration, recruitment and selection, and operational practices including debt bondage. Such risks may have been further exacerbated by individual and societal responses to the Covid-19 pandemic and changes introduced to the UK immigration system after Brexit.

The forthcoming modern slavery legislation makes the publication of this report especially timely as it helps to identify the risks and drivers of severe forms of exploitation in the context of increasingly fragmented labour supply chains in social care, particularly live-in care.

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