Under the leadership of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the next phase of “Operation Aidant” will operate between the 14th to 18th May to target modern slavery offenders and protect people from exploitation.

Over the past year, under the leadership of the National Crime Agency (NCA), law enforcement agencies have been working together to deliver regular weeks of action, badged as Operation Aidant. Law enforcement agencies include police forces, HMRC, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement.

The initiatives have been created to reduce the threat of modern slavery in the UK by:

  • Improving awareness of modern slavery
  • Understanding how offenders exploit vulnerable workers so they can stop the process
  • Developing effective partnerships with law enforcement and other influencers in society.

Enforcement agencies have been asked to highlight high risk industries, with a focus on food processing and production, large-scale construction and the textiles industry, as well as looking at sectors where less is known about the risk of exploitation. Some sectors have raised concerns that activities such as Operation Aidant will disrupt legitimate industries and lawfully employed migrant workers. The GLAA ensures that Operation Aidant will support legitimate businesses and will prevent infiltration by criminals.

Aspire Comment

It is important to remember that the GLAA’s remit has been extended to cover exploitation across the entire UK labour market, therefore its officers will be able to look into allegations of labour abuse and modern slavery in all aspects of UK business.

Therefore, even if you do not operate in a GLAA regulated sector, the GLAA and other enforcement agencies running initiatives such as Operation Aidant may land on your doorstep.

The briefing from the NCA warns us that they are focusing on food processing and production, large-scale construction and the textiles industry. If you are an employer or operate in any of these sectors, it is important to ensure that you are confident with your compliance in relation to all aspects of modern slavery.