You may have noticed that many company web sites now include a link to an important document, their Modern Slavery statement. Slavery is often thought about as an historical issue however it is sadly not the case.

On 16 April 2018 the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) reported that a Romanian had been convicted, and jailed for seven years, for enslaving up to 15 men who worked on a demolition site. He offered the workers demolition work and then used violence to trap them.

David Lupu, 29, promised the men £50 per day as well as accommodation, but instead paid them just a fraction of their entitled wages, housed them in awful conditions and stole their ID documentation.

A police investigation was started after two Romanian men reported to police that they had been treated like slaves after coming to work in the UK. In March 2018 at Inner London Crown Court, David Lupu was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment after being convicted of multiple offences of holding a person in slavery or servitude. During the trial, seven Romanian men said they had been offered jobs in July last year, but after travelling to the UK, were expected to live in a small one bedroom flat in Leyton, east London. Up to 15 men slept wherever they could in the kitchen, bedroom, hallway and storage cupboard, on mattresses found in the street. The men said they were only permitted out of the house two at a time, and threatened they would be arrested if discovered. They were told that they owed Lupu hundreds of pounds and were forced to work long hours in in order to repay the costs. Meanwhile, Lupu was paid a significant wage by the building site’s employers for the men’s labour. When the men discovered their wages from the building site had not been passed on by Lupu, they confronted him, only to be beaten and threatened to be killed if they insisted on being paid before they had paid their ‘debts’.

The CITB Fraud Investigator stated “Modern slavery is a horrific injustice that unfortunately is becoming more commonplace in the UK’s construction industry. Forcing people to work illegally not only deprives people of their human rights, it also harms the reputation of the industry, puts employers at risk, drives down wages and denies employment opportunities to many others”.

If you have suspicions about Modern Slavery you should report it straight away. If you aren’t sure and don’t know where to turn, have questions on this or any aspects of your employment, get advice from our HR experts today.

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