Heartbreaking Revelation: Zimbabweans trapped in gruesome exploitation in UK care work


A recent survey has uncovered cases of Zimbabweans, among other foreigners, being exploited in the care work sector in the United Kingdom. The UK’s national helpline for victims of modern slavery report highlighted that these individuals are subjected to long working hours and various forms of abuse.

According to the report, women are disproportionately affected, with 235 out of 378 potential victims of exploitation in the care sector being female between January 2022 and June 2023. The survey identified Indians as the most prevalent nationality among potential victims, accounting for 48% of cases. Zimbabweans and Nigerians were also significantly represented.

The report further disclosed that a quarter of the 1.5 million people working in the sector do not have contracts, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. Many overseas care workers find themselves trapped due to the average debt of £11,800 incurred from recruitment, visa, and travel costs, which they struggle to repay.

Financial control is a pervasive issue, with wage withholding, non-compliance with minimum wage regulations, and debt bondage being common practices. Additionally, poor living conditions, confinement, surveillance, and various forms of emotional, physical, and racial abuse are frequently reported.

Zimbabwe has experienced a significant loss of healthcare professionals, particularly nurses and doctors, as they seek better opportunities abroad. The UK, grappling with the aftermath of COVID-19 and the loss of frontline healthcare workers, is in need of filling vacant positions.

In response to the socio-economic crisis in Zimbabwe, many desperate individuals are enrolling in different institutions to train as nurse aides, hoping to escape the country’s challenges. The Health Services Board reported that over 4,000 nurses had left the country since 2021.

The exploitation of Zimbabweans in the UK care work sector sheds light on the vulnerabilities faced by foreign workers and the urgent need for safeguards to protect their rights and well-being.

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