A new report revealed that there are at least 100,000 slaves in the UK working for extremely low wages in dire conditions.
An increase in COVID-19 cases in Leicester drew attention to alleged hidden practices in its estimated 1,500 textile factories, something the city mayor said was not a secret, but it is difficult to stop.
Laura, who is not her real name, worked for just over £ 4 an hour at a UK factory in 2007 – before reporting her concerns to the police. Here, she describes her experience.
I was hired as an assistant fashion designer in 2007.
The job was not exactly as they advertised it.
For the first three months, you were on probation and they said your wages were lower, so they could see if you were good at work, and after three months, wages would go up.
Image: Laura, not her real name, says that “I used to fear coming to work every day”
I started with £ 10,000 a year and, during all the hours I worked, I realized that they were paying me just over £ 4 an hour.
After you reach the end of that three-month period, they just get rid of you and take someone new.
The factory itself was not very pleasant. It was cold inside the office and there was a bathroom with which we share, I don’t know how many hundreds of people.
I was afraid of the bosses to be honest. They would make you feel guilty if you were not willing to do things like overtime over the weekend.
They would make you feel guilty, because if you didn’t, someone you worked with and loved would have to come and do it.
‘Modern slavery is all around us’
I used to fear coming to work every day. It was not just a pleasant place to be.
Another girl who worked there for a long time said that the person who owned the factory also owned houses across the street, where she said they put workers who shouldn’t be in the country.
She also told me never to go to the back of the factory, because that was where everyone worked and we couldn’t get in.
She said the working conditions down there were just horrendous and were not being paid to do the job.
I went to the police and told them everything I knew.
I feel really irritated after I reported at the time that it is still happening now and no one seems capable of doing anything about it.
I feel upset about the whole thing.
Leicestershire police said in a statement: “We would need more information regarding the allegation made 13 years ago to be able to comment further on this, but we encourage anyone with any concerns about a company’s operation to report it. further investigations can be carried out “.