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    The Real Cost of Britain's Construction Industry Exposed - Report

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    The construction industry is valued at US$133 million (£99 million) to the UK and considered crucial to the country's economy, however modern slavery hides behind Britain's sprawling building sites where ethical practices are being priced out.

    A new report Construction and the Modern Slavery Act exposes the business models making it easier for modern slavery to flourish, driven by constant pressure to drive down prices.

    "While the construction sector has many risk indicators of exploitation, the potential scale of the problem in the UK is only just emerging," the report states, adding varying levels of exploitation have been found in power plants, hospitals, prisons and big building projects across Britain.

    "In the European Union, construction ranks second only to the sex industry as the sector most prone to exploitation," the report says.

    READ MORE: Modern Day Slavery in Britain 'Laid Bare' By New Report

    Scammers are using social media platforms including LinkedIn to target job sites and recruit potential victims. Traffickers groom potential victims who have underlying problems such as debt, addiction or learning difficulties, the report also sites a strong link between homelessness and forced labor.

    "Homeless people are particularly vulnerable as they are already cut off from society, friends and family," the report says, with homeless shelters and soup kitchens targeted by criminals.

    "People in white vans will turn up and offer people jobs and accommodation. They disappear and are never seen again," says The Salvation Army's Emilie Martin.

    Ethical Practice "Priced Out" of Britain's Building Trade

    Chris Blythe, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) says the construction industry is "normalizing hardship, both for individuals and companies."

    "And, whilst these models do not always lead directly to modern slavery, they are creating an environment in which it is easier for exploitation to thrive and criminality to infiltrate supply chains undetected", Chris Blythe says in his contribution to the report.

    READ MORE: British Businesses Must Do More to Stamp Out Modern Slavery in Supply Chains

    Slavery stories from around the UK include Indian sailors paid as little as US$3.28 (£2.43) a hour on North Sea oil fields; Hungarians forced to work on less than US$14 (£10) a week for Kozee Sleep bed factory; Eastern European truck drivers working for Ikea on less that US$4 (£3) an hour.

    In January 2017, two brothers were jailed for trafficking 18 Polish men into the UK to work for Sports Direct. They targeted vulnerable men, stole their passports and controlled their bank accounts, stealing US$37 (£35,000) in wages.

    According to UN Agency International Labor Organization, modern slavery generates US$150 billion globally each year, US$ 34 billion comes from construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities industries.

    READ MORE: Report Calls Out British Companies for Not Complying with Modern Slavery Law

    Related:

    Family 'Devastated' After Man Lived and Died as Modern Slave in London
    Nail Bar Gang Jailed for Exploiting Teenagers in UK
    Tags:
    construction companies, exploitation, construction, modern slavery, human trafficking, Great Britain, India, Poland, Romania
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