Warning to holiday makers of modern slavery risks

A Border Force operation designed to protect young holiday makers traveling to Majorca from the risks of labour exploitation launched this week.

The activity, which is supported by modern slavery charity Unseen, was prompted by Foreign Office commissioned research which found that more than 80 per cent of British prisoners on the Spanish island are former “public relations” (PR) workers – those employed to attract people into the bars and clubs they work for.

The week long awareness raising operation, which is running at airports across the UK and specifically targeting Majorca flights, warns of the dangers of undertaking unofficial PR work in the Spanish tourist destination.

Other findings from the Foreign Office research included that unofficial PR workers were often forced to work long hours, for low wages, with no contract. Accommodation was often poor and some employers confiscated passports.

During the operation Border Force officers will be speaking to young holiday makers and distributing information about the steps they should take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of labour exploitation as well as who to turn to if they needed help.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said:

By highlighting the issue we want to ensure that those contemplating PR work in Magaluf, many of whom are tourists tempted by the idea of an extended stay in the sunshine, do not find their summer turning into a nightmare.

Advice to people before accepting a PR role is to:

  • insist on a contract setting out terms and conditions. Under Spanish law if you are working without a contract, you are working illegally
  • keep your passport. Don’t accept offers from others to keep it safe
  • ask to see accommodation before accepting it as part of a job package

Lloyd Milen, British Consul General in Barcelona, said:

With this operation we want to ensure young holiday makers are aware of the risks and know what to do if they have problems. Majorca is an amazing place for a holiday and will continue to be a favourite destination with young people, for its fabulous beaches and well-known nightlife, so I hope with this operation we will see fewer PR workers become consular cases this summer.

Anyone who is overseas and has their passport taken should first report it to the police. British nationals should then contact the local British Consulate for help and advice to get a replacement. In Spain the contact details are 0034 933 666 200 or info.consulate@fco.gov.uk.

Anyone feeling vulnerable about their work or finances can contact Unseen, in confidence, on 08000 121 700.

The operation supports the ongoing work of Border Force to address the issue of modern slavery and trafficking.