Car wash raids spark modern slavery fears in Cambridgeshire

Hand car wash raids

Photos released by Cambridgeshire Police show conditions at one car wash where the law may have been broken over modern day slavery. The GLAA worked with them local visits. - Credit: Cambs Police

Migrant workers at a Cambridgeshire car wash are being helped by welfare services having been found to be working illegally and living in poor conditions.  

Police say they intervened after a member of the public phone the modern slavery hotline. 

Working with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Cambridgeshire police said they investigated working conditions at some of the hand car wash sites in Fenland and Huntingdonshire.  

A police spokesman said: “One of the sites was highlighted as a matter of concern by a member of the public who had been in contact with a modern slavery hotline. 

“Our first visit found people we suspected to be working illegally, which could result in fines of up to £20,000 being issued.” 


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The spokesman added: “The working conditions and pay were not up to the expected standards; therefore, we are now working with immigration services towards a resolve.” 

A second site, say police, was “also a cause for concern, with pay and working conditions failing to meet necessary standards”. 

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All “seemed to be order” at a third site, and police say no concerns were raised. 

The spokesman said: “Thank you to the member of the public who shared their concerns.  

“As a result, we were able to attend the site they had concerns about, carry out thorough checks and start looking to solutions for individuals subjected to poor working conditions and possible exploitation.” 

Police said information from the public is valuable and necessary.  

car wash raids in Cambs

Photos released by Cambridgeshire Police show conditions at one car wash where the law may have been broken over modern day slavery. The GLAA worked with them local visits. - Credit: Cambs Police

“Even if it’s just a hunch, your information can be of huge importance to us and could prevent a crime from happening or rescue someone from modern slavery,” said the spokesman. 

Information on how to spot the signs of modern slavery and how to pass information to us can be found on the Cambs Police website. 

They also urged a call to 999 “if you believe a crime is in action”. 

Modern slavery probe at Cambs car wash

Photos released by Cambridgeshire Police show conditions at one car wash where the law may have been broken over modern day slavery. The GLAA worked with them local visits. - Credit: Cambs Police

Signs of modern slavery including seeming overly tired, withdrawn or avoiding eye contact. 

Anyone suspected of not working long or excessive hours, not being allowed breaks or suffer restrictions at work is also a noticeable sign.  

Having high security measures at their place of work and/or living locations e.g., opaque windows, is also another tell-tale signal. 

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