Seasonal workers and modern slavery

Seasonal working, modern day slavery and labour exploitation is becoming a growing concern in the agricultural industry. The number of modern slavery cases is growing within the food and agricultural industry with an estimated 10,000-13,000 people being exploited.

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) have written a report, concluding the agricultural industry to be a high risk sector for exploitation and abuse of seasonal workers, including poor wages and working conditions. Click here to view report or download below.

  • Farmers Weekly have published an article on modern slavery in agriculture, click here to view. This reveals some of the challenges unique to seasonal workers.
  • Farming UK article on modern-day slavery in the UK agricultural industry, click here to view.

Report issues of a labour provider who is exploiting the welfare and rights of workers, click here to view report forms.

The Clewer Initiative

  • Tragically modern-day slavery is very much part of the present and farmers who employ seasonal workers are at risk of unwittingly employing modern day slaves. 
  • So how can this happen and go unnoticed? The reality is that many farmers rely on third party recruitment agencies, or labour providers, to find seasonal workers and not all these third parties are legitimate and fair businesses. Across the UK, exploiters pose as legal labour providers, offering employers and farmers a ready supply of labour, while in fact they are forcing workers into jobs for little or no money. However, it is not just ‘labour providers’ who pose a risk to workers and employers. More and more we are seeing exploiters controlling workers via their home life, transportation or accommodation. For example, acting as a landlord, translator or ‘friend’ who can help the worker find work or accommodation.
  • These highly organised, ruthless criminal gangs exploit the high demand for short term labour, often targeting migrant workers who may not be fluent in English or familiar with UK workers’ rights, making them more vulnerable to being coerced and controlled.
  • It is for this reason that the Farm Work Welfare App (FWWA) has been developed. It provides farmers and pickers with the information they need to avoid criminal organisations and navigate the challenges of seasonal employment. It contains lots of practical information and signposting on existing protections and the rights of workers such as freedom of movement and right to work. 
  • The App can be downloaded from Google Play and iOS App Store

5 reasons farmers, growers and seasonal workers should download the app

What does ‘exploitation in the community’ look like? – click here to read the full article on exploiters operating outside of the employment chain.

The Clewer Initiative enables Church of England dioceses and wider church networks to raise awareness of modern slavery, identify victims and to help provide victim support and care, click here to find out more.


  • If you think you’ve identified a trafficker or illegal gangmaster call the police on 101
  • For advice on how you can avoid employing victims of trafficking and how you can help ensure your supply chain is slave free visit
  • If you think you work with or employ someone who may be a victim of Modern Slavery or forced labour you can call a helpline on 0800 0121 700 and talk through your concerns or visit


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