Slavery report sounds alarm over Vietnamese nail bar workers

London (The Guardian, Sept 12,2017): Britain’s nail bars have such a high risk of modern slavery that a licensing scheme should be introduced to prevent trafficked Vietnamese migrants being employed in slavery-like conditions, Britain’s independent anti-trafficking commissioner is proposing.

A new report by the independent anti-slavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland, provides the most detailed picture yet of the exploitation of Vietnamese nationals en route to and within the UK. It highlights a rising number of exploited Vietnamese workers in nail bars, alongside the use of Vietnamese workers in cannabis farms.

While many of the workers have paid smugglers to bring them to the UK from impoverished parts of rural Vietnam, others, mostly children, have been tricked into exploitation. The report says there is evidence that some have been kidnapped and brought to the UK against their will.

Although there are no figures indicating the scale of the problem, Vietnamese nationals have consistently ranked first or second in numbers of referrals to the police’s anti-trafficking unit; almost half of referrals are for minors.

The report, entitled Combating Modern Slavery Experienced by Vietnamese Nationals Within the UK, calls on the Home Office to work with the Association of Nail Technicians “to implement measures to prevent modern slavery in this sector”. Detailed guidance should be published to educate the police on “the potential for modern slavery within the nail bar sector”, it adds.

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