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Safe Car Wash app records 900 cases of potential modern slavery in hand car washes

Date: 08 April 2019
Car Washing

The Safe Car Wash App, launched in June 2018 by the Church of England’s Clewer Initiative, has surfaced over 900 suspected cases of modern slavery in hand car washes. Drivers have been using the pioneering app to gather information about the signs of labour exploitation in hand car washes across the country.

The Safe Car Wash app, which allows drivers to respond to a check list of key factors that may suggest labour exploitation in hand car washes, has been downloaded 8,225 times since its launch last year.

Between June and December 2018 there were 2,271 completed entries using the app, with 41%, or 930 cases, where after responding to a number of questions, users were told there was a likelihood of modern slavery at the hand car wash. They were then asked to call the Modern Slavery Helpline and their findings were shared in real time with police and the Gangmasters’ and Labour Abuse Authority.

In the Diocese of Guildford, there were 73 reports through the Safe Car Wash app which have been shared with local police, to add to their intelligence picture as they tackle modern slavery in the region.

What does the data say?

Analysis by the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab of the reports from the Safe Car Wash app gives an insight into the conditions found at many hand car washes across the country.

  • 48% of reports concluded that workers did not have access to suitable protective clothing such as gloves or boots
  • 80% said that the car wash had a cash only policy
  • 8% of reports logged that minors were working on site
  • 17% of users identified fearful workers
  • 14% of reports suggested that workers were living on the car wash site
What happens next?

The Safe Car Wash app was a pioneering piece of technology when it was released last year. The data it has collected so far has been really helpful, but even more is needed to help law enforcement respond to modern slavery in hand car washes.

If you haven’t downloaded the Safe Car Wash app yet, go to your smartphone’s app store and search ‘Safe Car Wash’ to download it now.

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