Fenland MP Steve Barclay has spoken out following a programme broadcast on national television on Monday night concerning the exploitation of migrant workers.
BBC’s Look East featured a report based around Eastern European workers being trapped in a network of exploitation by fellow countrymen being forced to pay bribes, being brought into the area to work in non-existent jobs and living in overcrowded homes.
Mr Barclay said it endorses the concerns he has repeatedly raised in Parliament.
“I have raised these specific issues of migrants being abused. There is a real problem. You have vulnerable people a long way from home being targeted by criminals who steal their wages and use violence and intimidation,” he said, adding this in turn can lead to counterfeit goods and prostitution.
“It is also a problem for the local community because you get homes in multiple occupancy, drinking in the street and urinating in public.”
Mr Barclay said a lot has been done and is continuing to be done. He said the Home Secretary has announced the modern anti-slavery Bill, Fenland is looking for a bid for money to help deal with some of the problems with homes in multiple occupancy asking for money to help with licensing and enforcement.
Mr Barclay said he, the police and other agencies have been involved in Operation Pheasant which has seen 80 plus homes raided and talks have also been held at a high level with an official from HM Revenue and Customs about the issue of counterfeit goods such as cigarettes and a number of premises have been raided as a result.
In the long term, Mr Barclay believes if Wisbech can secure an agri-tech centre that would in turn result in investment in the way crops are picked to make the workforce and the job better skilled and therefore reduce the amount of migrant workers needed for the agricultural-based jobs due to advanced machinery .