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Construction workers still at risk of exploitation, says new report from the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

Chartered Institute of Building

2 min read Partner content

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has responded to the publication of the latest report from the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, “Operation Cardinas and Beyond: Addressing exploitation risk in the construction sector”.

The report is an examination of the reality of modern slavery and labour exploitation in construction in the UK. Construction has previously been identified as one of the most common sectors for labour exploitation in the UK and the new report flags up that even legitimate businesses can be caught up in criminality without oversight of and close co-operation throughout the supply chain. 

The report also provides a useful analysis of one of the UK’s largest investigations into modern slavery, which focussed on an organised crime gang which infiltrated the supply chains of major construction projects across London and the southeast for nearly a decade.

In responding to the new report, Caroline Gumble, CEO of CIOB, said:

“There is absolutely no room for complacency when it comes to measures to avoid modern slavery in construction. Modern slavery has been an issue in our industry for too long now and, while our report on modern slavery in 2018 helped raise awareness, we cannot become complacent in our duty to improve business practices and eliminate labour exploitation. I want to echo Dame Sara Thornton’s comments that collaborative working is critical and that clients must provide support as a key part of the construction process to its supply chain.

I urge all professionals in construction to read this report, understand the lessons there are to be learned in the "evolving best practice" section and take action. Given the skills shortage and the current trading environment and pressures on the industry, it is right that this remains a priority. Modern slavery should have no place in our industry or in our society.”

The new Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s report can be found here: https://www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk/media/1802/iasc-construction-report_april-2022.pdf 

CIOB’s resources, including the 2018 report, “Construction and the Modern Slavery Act: Tackling Exploitation in the UK”, can be found on CIOB’s website: https://www.ciob.org/industry/politics-government/campaigns/tackling-modern-slavery-construction 

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