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Precarious LivesForced labour, exploitation and asylum$
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Hannah Lewis, Peter Dwyer, Stuart Hodkinson, and Louise Waite

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447306900

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447306900.001.0001

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Forced labour among asylum seekers and refugees in the UK

Forced labour among asylum seekers and refugees in the UK

(p.43) 3 Forced labour among asylum seekers and refugees in the UK
Precarious Lives

Hannah Lewis

Peter Dwyer

Stuart Hodkinson

Louise Waite

Policy Press

Chapter 3 focuses on the forced labour experiences of the 30 asylum seekers and refugees we interviewed. The first part introduces the conceptual framework of forced labour as defined by the ILO. It then sets out the empirical context for our research into forced labour and explains how we designed our methodology to address the various practical and ethical challenges we encountered. We then review the types of work, workplaces and sectors our interviewees were engaged in before using the ILO forced labour framework to demonstrate the prevalence and types of forced labour practices across our interviewees. These included formal and informal waged ‘jobs’ in the labour market, transactional-based work exchanged between both friends and total strangers, and unwaged reproductive labour and forced prostitution in private households. Most of these labour experiences involved one or more of the ILO’s 11 indicators of forced labour with the most common being the abuse of vulnerability of compromised socio-legal status and the withholding of wages. We found that those trafficked to the UK were in the most exploitative forms of forced labour including domestic servitude, sexual exploitation and care work.

Keywords:   forced labour, exploitation, methodology, wages

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