Bishop Patrick Lynch has expressed his concern that traffickers could use new immigration policies to exploit seasonal agricultural workers.
Bishop Lynch is Chair of The Santa Marta Group UK – an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with religious communities, NGOs and civil society to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery.
“Through the work of the Santa Marta Group we know that one of the most serious challenges concerning modern slavery in England and Wales is the exploitation experienced by seasonal agricultural workers.
“The government’s planned immigration changes leave many unanswered questions about how these workers will be protected under the new system and what steps will be taken to prevent traffickers exploiting any labour shortages that arise.
“We urgently need to see more details, particularly around processes for inspecting recruiters, working practices and living conditions.
“Traffickers will seek every opportunity to abuse new immigration policies, so the government has a responsibility to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place.
“I also urge the Catholic community to continue helping identify modern slavery in the agricultural sector, support the Church’s initiatives to tackle this grievous crime, and report any concerns to the police.”
Official website for the Santa Marta Group – a Catholic Church-led alliance to combat human trafficking and modern slavery.