How the Safe Car Wash App is making a difference

On Monday 4th June we launched the Safe Car Wash App in partnership with law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church.

We wanted to help people learn the signs of labour exploitation in hand car washes, and report their concerns to the Modern Slavery Helpline. Almost eight weeks on we explore how we are getting on.

Safe Car Wash is leading to real results

We knew lots of people would like the idea of the Safe Car Wash App – we did too! And we knew that would probably mean that lots of people would download it. But would they actually use it? We all know the feeling of wanting to do the right thing but having it slip your mind at the crucial moment, like planning to take reusable bags to the supermarket only to arrive at the till and realise you’ve forgotten. Again.

Fortunately for us the users of the Safe Car Wash App are a lot less forgetful! We have had just shy of 7000 downloads, and 1300 reports, roughly 1 for every 5 users of the app. Thanks to the Modern Slavery Helpline, we also know that in the first month of the app’s release, 11 cases of potential labour exploitation were opened thanks to calls by users of the app. 69 potential victims were identified as a result!

News coverage has helped us get the word out

On the day of our launch we had incredible coverage, with features on BBC radio, TV, and online, and a print feature in the Sunday Times. This naturally led to a big spike in downloads. Since then local and national press have covered the Safe Car Wash App, and each time we have seen an increase. A recent piece in The Guardian about hand car washes, with a small mention of the app, led to 200 downloads on Android phones alone. 

We roped in a whole load of Bishops to help us spread the word, and Dame Caroline Spelman MP hosted an event for Parliamentarians where even more people could hear about the potential of Safe Car Wash.

We’ve covered everywhere… except the north west

We have had reports from users of Safe Car Wash all over the country, and although there are small hot spots in big cities like London and Birmingham, generally we have a good geographical spread. We have even had submissions from Cornwall! The only place we are not doing well is the north west of England. From Lancaster to Carlisle, with the exception of two reports from Barrow-in-Furness, we haven’t received any results. So if you live in the north west, you know what to do!

So what’s next?

We keep going! Over the summer we want to encourage as many people as possible to download the app and use it so we can raise awareness of modern slavery and help law enforcement to map the problem across the country. The positive results from our first month or so have made us even more excited about the possibility of the app to bring change. Have you downloaded it yet?