The authority was set up in 2006 after 23 Chinese cockle pickers lost their lives in Morecambe Bay. It regulates and licenses employment agencies and businesses (gangmasters) that supply labour to the UK predominantly in the shellfish gathering, agriculture and food processing/packaging industries.
Its role was widened in 2016 to include the detection and investigation of modern slavery and human trafficking offences across the labour market.
The authority says that businesses using agency workers need to be particularly vigilant that staff supplied to them are not being exploited.
As a start, they can check the agency’s public register to ensure that the agencies they deal with have been licensed. Those who supply labour to the regulated sector without a licence are committing a criminal offence. Likewise it is a criminal offence to engage the services of an unlicensed gangmaster.