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Exploitation warning about working abroad this summer

What lies beneath. Working abroad is not always as good as it seems. Photo: PA

Are you planning to work in Spain this summer? If you are, beware of the dangers.

Border Force Officers at Liverpool John Lennon Airport are urging young people to check they have proper contracts of work. Otherwise they could be forced into working long hours for low wages.

They could even fall into debt and be forced into criminal activity like selling drugs.

Warning of long working hours, low wages or being forced into crime. Credit: PA

The main concern is those employed to attract people into bars and clubs in the Spanish tourist hotspot.

Research commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office found that 80 percent of British people imprisoned in Majorca in 2018 were former PR reps.

If you are considering a PR role the advice is:

  • 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
  • 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.

Travelling abroad for a summer in the sun can seem like a dream come true, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare for young people subject to exploitation by unscrupulous employers.

It’s important to raise awareness of these risks and I hope it will ensure a safe and happy trip for young British holiday makers.

– Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes
Some reps fall into debt and are forced into selling drugs Credit: PA

Last year, the campaign helped to reduce the number of illegal PR workers becoming consular cases.

Majorca continues to be a hugely popular destination for young people, not least because of its fabulous beaches and well-known nightlife. But we also want them to be aware of the risks of working illegally and to know what to do if they have problems.

– Lloyd Milen, Consul General Barcelona and Balearic Islands, said:

The Border Force operation is supported by modern slavery charity Unseen, who operate the Modern Slavery Helpline. Anyone feeling vulnerable about their work or finances can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline, in confidence, on 08000 121 700.