Nail bars and car washes targeted in modern day slavery checks
- Credit: Cambs Police
More than 50 nail bars and car washes across Cambridgeshire got visited by police as part of a campaign to combat modern slavery.
No arrests were made during the day of action but police confirmed five arrests were made for offences not related to modern slavery.
Police carried out their spot checks with immigration officers and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).
Superintendent James Sutherland said: “Whilst the majority of hand car washes and nail bars are legitimate businesses, some exploit workers to maximise profits.”
He said: “Although no arrests were made for modern slavery offences, the day was still very valuable as key intelligence has been obtained.
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“This new intelligence will lead to continued development work around a number of the sites.”
Supt Sutherland said that nationally, there have been multiple modern slavery cases linked to nail bars and hand car washes.
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These make them of particular interest to police, Immigration and the GLAA.
He said that earlier this year Cambridgeshire Police were made aware of a “shocking case” where a man reported he had been forced to work at a hand car wash for a prolonged period of time.
He was locked inside poor accommodation overnight and provided with a small amount of food each day, but did not receive any wages.
Supt Sutherland said the man managed to escape, is being supported by a charity and an investigation into what happened is ongoing.
“Tackling modern slavery is a priority for the constabulary and it’s vital we’re doing all we can to combat the issue and protect vulnerable people,” he said.
“Slavery is not a thing of the past – it is happening today right here in Cambridgeshire.
“We need the public’s help to tackle it. If you have any concerns, please contact us.”
Signs of modern slavery can include workers:
seeming overly tired, withdrawn or avoiding eye contact
not having suitable equipment or clothing for the job they are doing
looking unkempt or showing signs of physical abuse
not being able to come and go as they wish
being unpaid or paid very little
working excessively long or unusual hours
not being allowed breaks or suffers restrictions at work
owing a large debt and is unable to pay it off
being recruited through false promises
having high security measures at their place of work and/or living locations e.g., opaque windows.
being under 18 and providing commercial sex acts
working in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager