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May 29, 2018

Warning holidaymakers on modern slavery risks

The government released a statement warning young British holidaymakers of modern slavery risks, launching a Border Force operation to help “raise awareness of labour exploitation amongst young sun seekers.”

But this statement – and the attention on working-holidaying Brits in tourist locations and their labour rights – reveals an attitude completely divergent from the government’s attitude towards the labour rights of migrants in the country. 

The UK government has often tried to divert attention away from its own hostile environment and toward labour exploitation, in particular modern day slavery and human trafficking. Yet as campaigners and official inspections have regularly pointed out, the Home Office’s own approach to human trafficking has often been problematic, going so far as to treat victims as immigration offenders.

There is also an interesting subtext to this discussion: sun-soaking Brits living in Spain are portrayed as tourists (not economic migrants) and “PR professionals” (not unskilled migrants) temporarily taking advantage of the EU freedom of movement to work abroad, and therefore seem to be entitled to more protection. 

Click here for the government press release.