Modern slavery is hidden in plain sight on our high streets. The National Crime Agency
thinks there are tens of thousands of people being exploited in the UK, forced to work
long hours, for little or no pay, and under threat of violence.
Some of those people are being exploited in hand car washes, which in recent years have
sprung up across the country in their thousands. Many of those 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.
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, becoming more
enmeshed in the cycle of exploitation.
The Clewer Initiative has spoken to the police, the
National Crime Agency and the Gangmasters & Labour
Abuse Authority about how the Church can help them
solve this and bring these hidden victims into the light. As a result they have developed
the Safe Car Wash app. 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 and then 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.
Find out more at: www.theclewerinitiative.org/safecarwash
Please pray for all those working at hand car washes, that they are treated fairly. Grant
hope to those who are being controlled by others and cannot see a way out. Keep them
safe from abuse, and give them the courage to seek help.
Bromsgrove Deanery – Rural Dean: Paul Lawlor; Lay Chair: David Hargreaves
The Episcopal Church of Sudan: Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo
Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry (Ireland): Bishop Patrick Rooke
Diocese of Bath & Wells: Bishop Peter Hancock with Bishop Ruth Worsley (Taunton)