Modern slavery is hidden in plain sight on our high streets. People are being forced to work long hours, for little or no pay, and under threat of violence in hand car washes.
Many hand car washes are legitimate businesses, but some of them are not. Police raids in hand car washes in towns and cities up and down the country have unearthed victims living in horrendous conditions.
Find out more: What is Modern Slavery?
Although law enforcement and the government are clear that this problem exists, there is no reliable data on just how widespread it is. This lack of information means that victims could be falling through the net.
We have spoken to the police, the National Crime Agency and the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority about how we can work together to help them solve this and bring these hidden victims into the light.
The SAFE CAR WASH APP
The Safe Car Wash app is a new tool that will enable the largest community intelligence gathering exercise ever attempted in the United Kingdom.
Download the free app onto your smartphone. When you are using a hand car wash, simply open the app and complete a short survey about the working conditions of the car wash.
The app will ask a series of questions related to the indicators of modern slavery and if there is a high likelihood that modern slavery is occurring in the hand car wash, you will be asked to report your concerns to the Modern Slavery Helpline.
The data the app collects will be anonymised and shared with the National Crime Agency and the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority, two law enforcement agencies who are leading on efforts to stamp out modern slavery across the UK.
How effective is the Safe Car Wash app?
Since launching the Safe Car Wash app in June 2018 we have received over 2000 reports and the app has been downloaded over 8000 times. Read more about what a difference the Safe Car Wash app is making on our blog.