Main content

Street Slaves

With the government planning to introduce a modern slavery bill this year, Jane Deith reveals how the homeless and other vulnerable people are being exploited for cheap labour.

The Government has introduced a draft Modern Slavery Bill which is aimed at making it simpler to prosecute human traffickers and which will bring in life sentences for such offences.

But who are the victims of modern day slavery in the UK and how organised are the gangs who prey upon them?

While much concern has focused on people trafficked into the country, Jane Deith reveals how the most vulnerable in society such as the homeless and people with learning difficulties are being targeted by gangs who pick them off the streets with the offer of money and accommodation. But many say they end up working long hours for little or no pay and are too frightened to leave. Some - including people from the UK - are taken abroad to countries such as Sweden and Norway to pave driveways and other labouring jobs. Others are working in the construction industry here but being paid much less than the minimum wage.

Police say the traffickers and those who exploit the homeless and vulnerable are highly organised and often use their victims' identities to open bank accounts and commit further crimes such as benefit fraud, netting thousands of pounds and leaving their victims with huge debts.

So who's monitoring the marginalised? Will the new Bill do enough to deal with the dark side of Britain's labour market?

Reporter: Jane Deith

Producer: Paul Grant.

Available now

38 minutes

Last on

Sun 18 May 2014 17:00

READ THE PROGRAMME TRANSCRIPT

With the government planning to introduce a modern slavery bill this year, Jane Deith reveals how the homeless and other vulnerable people are being exploited for cheap labour.

Read the Transcript

Broadcasts

Download this programme

Download this programme

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.

Podcast