Lithuanian migrants trafficked to UK egg farms sue 'worst gangmaster ever'
A group of Lithuanian migrants who were trafficked to work in farms producing eggs for high street brands are suing a Kent-based gangmaster operation and its directors, in the first case of a UK company being taken to court for claims relating to modern slavery. The six Lithuanians suing for damages are among a group of more than 30 men who worked as chicken catchers for DJ Houghton…[T]he workers bringing the legal action have described inhuman and degrading conditions…They said they were the victims of violence, described the process of being debt-bonded on arrival, and spoke of their accommodation riddled with bedbugs and of becoming so hungry that they ate raw eggs. They have reported being denied sleep and toilet breaks…They also allege that their pay was repeatedly withheld…It is notoriously hard for victims of trafficking to get justice. There have been 75 convictions for gangmaster offences since the Gangmaster Licensing Act regulating them came in to force, but only one compensation order for workers…The Houghtons…told local media that they are blameless…Leigh Day believe the claim is the first high court case to be made against a corporate defendant for trafficking-related claims…[Also refers to Asda (part of Walmart), Freedom Foods, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Noble Foods, Sainsbury, Tesco]