'Modern slavery' in England 'clear and present' problem
London: The first evidence of widespread ''modern slavery'' in England for refugees and asylum seekers was revealed in a study published today.
The two-year study has called for an overhaul of government policy to restore asylum seekers'' right to work and ensure all workers can access basic employment rights, such as National Minimum Wage, irrespective of immigration status.
Dr Stuart Hodkinson from the University of Leeds, who co-authored the study, said: "We found that in the majority of cases, if the asylum seeker had been able to work legally then the employer or agent would not have been able to exploit and abuse them to such an appalling extent."
Researchers interviewed 30 refugees and asylum seekers who had been coerced – either by unscrupulous individuals or by the grim reality of facing destitution – into exploitative jobs in a wide range of fields, including catering, domestic work, retail and construction.