Belgian police cracks down on hand car washes
The last hand car wash in the Belgian town of Genk has closed. In recent years, regular inspections have been carried out by the authorities because of problems with human trafficking, labor law and environmental legislation. Two hand car washes have even been convicted of human trafficking.
From a news item by Belgian broadcaster VRT NWS we learn, Genk initially had five hand car washes. four of which have already closed. The last hand car wash in Genk on the Maaseikerbaan now also has to shut down.
Several Belgian municipalities have taken up the fight against the hand car washes. Mainly because of the degrading situations for staff.
For this reason, control actions are held regularly by ARIEC. This is a department of the federal police that supports the municipalities in such control actions. ARIEC speaks of “distressing conditions,” with people sleeping in the basement of the hand car wash and barely getting paid for their work.
Human trafficking is the main reason that lead to the Genk city council’s decision to crack down harder on hand car washes. “We have no problems with the hand car washes, but they have to follow the rules,” the mayor of Genk stressed to VRT NWS. Currently, about 30 hand car washes remain in Belgian Limburg, some of which are being monitored by the ARIEC.
Moreover, the hand car washes pose unfair competition for rollovers and tunnel washes, says the Belgian professional association of car washes. This mainly concerns the rules that all car washes have to follow. “We must have liquid-proof floors and wastewater must be recycled. This all costs money and I don’t know if these hand car washes comply with these rules”, a spokesperson said.