Measuring Labour Exploitation

29 April 2021

Shiva Foundation has just published a new think piece on how to measure labour exploitation and why it’s important to do so.

We argue that:

  1. Understanding the scale of the problem shows that exploitation is not a deviation from the norm but a by-product of it.
  2. Consistent, accurate measurement allows for improved evaluation of policy interventions.
  3. The media and politicians respond to problems that can be measured.

We propose that business, government and civil society organisations look beyond modern slavery when trying to assess the prevalence of labour exploitation in the UK. We suggest a few metrics that might help us track labour exploitation in the UK, including non-compliance with National Minimum Wage, employment tribunal applications and holiday pay avoidance by firms.

And we argue that keeping tabs on macroeconomic trends that reflect vulnerability to exploitation (e.g. unemployment, household debt, rough sleeping) can help us predict upticks in labour exploitation and shape our response.




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