Since Brexit, the care sector in England has witnessed the prevalence of modern slavery.

According to the Care Quality Commission, the end of free movement of workers from the EU has led to a significant increase in the potential for exploitation in the care sector in England. The commission informed members of the Commons health and social care select committee that modern slavery has become “a feature” of the sector. Exploitative practices have included care workers going unpaid for months and being forced to live in overcrowded accommodations. Cases of modern slavery are estimated to have risen tenfold in the past three years. The commission has made referrals for modern slavery cases, including four in 2021-22 and 37 the previous year, and is on track to make 50 referrals this year. Unions have stated that some foreign workers have been paid as little as £5 per hour and charged unexpected fees amounting to thousands of pounds. A recent undercover investigation by BBC Panorama reported allegations of foreign workers at Addison Court care home in Gateshead being trapped by visa rules and being exploited. In addition to these issues, there have been complaints of care workers having their pay withheld for months and living in overcrowded shared housing.

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