Safe Car Wash App aids investigation

7th May 2024 | Hand Car Wash

The Clewer Initiative

Thousands of consumers have downloaded the Safe Car Wash App. Here is a story of how a report from the app helped the GLAA with its investigations.

Keith* visited a hand car wash near his home and was worried about what he saw.

He knew about the work of The Clewer Initiative and the Safe Car Wash App and so reported his concerns through the app. Once the report was received, the Modern Slavery Helpline followed up and was able to establish additional details about the situation.

Safe car wash graphic

Another report about the same business had recently been lodged via the Unseen app. Both consumers reported that the cost for an interior and exterior wash was extremely cheap, at less than £15, and payments were taken by the owner in cash. The five Romanian workers indicated in the situation wore casual clothes and did not have any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They looked frightened of the business’ owner, who was aggressive and shouted at them whilst they worked. The workers appeared to live on site at the car wash and looked malnourished.

Recognising the situation as concerning, the Helpline referred the information to the police, who conducted a joint investigation with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

One of the workers was supported to leave the car wash immediately and received help to return to his home country. Multi-agency visits continued to take place and encouragingly the standards at the car wash have since improved.

*Name has been changed to protect identity

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