Modern slavery is hidden in plain sight on our high streets.

Today marks the World Day Against Trafficking. It is estimated that 40.3 million men, women and children are trapped in modern slavery. It is something that impacts every country in the world.

Many think that slavery ended in the 19th Century. Instead, it has taken a new form and continues to be a serious issue for millions of people around the world, by reporting modern slavery it can save thousands of people across the UK.

Someone is in slavery if they are:

  • Forced to work – through coercion, or mental or physical threat;
  • Owned or controlled by an ’employer’, through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
  • Dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’;
  • Physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.

In order to try and prevent trafficking and to help as many victims as possible, authorities often rely on intelligence from the public, which is why it’s  important that you know how to report any suspicious activity. The Clewer Initiative has recently launched an app to help you to spot and report modern slavery.

The Safe Car Wash App allows the public to report on any suspicious activities, specifically in car washes.

The app has been developed to help gather more information on this hidden crime. By using it to log suspicious activity, you can now give law enforcement agencies a larger wealth of information on which to carry out further investigation which will hopefully lead to more prosecutions and helping more victims.

The Safe Car Wash app guides you through key questions and highlights indicators of modern slavery if you are unsure. If your answers indicate that modern slavery may taking place then it will take you to the Modern Slavery Helpline, where you can tell them about the experience concerning you. If you believe that anyone is in danger, you should always call 999 first.

The data collected will be anonymous and will be shared with the National Crime agency and the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority. These are the two agencies spearheading the fight against modern slavery in the UK.

Modern slavery is a widespread issue but hidden issue. The government and the police are aware it is going on but the lack of information makes it difficult to prosecute. Having no reliable data means it is difficult for the police to focus on areas that are the most affected and often leads to victims remaining in terrible conditions.

You can find out more about the Safe Car Wash app and a link to download it online or visit The Clewer Initiative website.

Useful numbers:

  • Report non-emergency concerns to your local police on 101
  • For advice, call the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 121 700
  • In an emergency, contact 999