Construction was modern slavery hotspot during lockdown

Reports of suspected modern slavery cases in construction were higher than in any other industry during the lockdown period, the charity that runs a national helpline has said.

A total of 57 cases with 209 potential victims were recorded between 23 March and 23 September by the modern slavery helpline, a 24/7 service provided by charity Unseen.

Courtenay Forbes, a business account manager at Unseen, explained the shutdown of other industries put a spotlight on construction work that was potentially exploitative during the pandemic. “I think the reason it was maybe proportionally reported more to us in that period is because it stood out more. So as people were out on their daily walks or their trips to buy essential items, [they might take more notice] if they see construction going on at a property that they might have previously looked past. [Especially if] it was happening at the height of lockdown when no one was meant to be doing any non-essential work.”

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