Swindon car washes under suspicion of modern slavery
British police visited five hand car washes around Swindon this week as part of an investigation into modern slavery and immigration issues.
The visit was part of Operation Aidant, a nationally-coordinated campaign that focuses on vulnerability and exploitation. Police officers ended up arresting five persons, local newspaper Swindon Advertiser reports.
“Our checks at premises across Swindon were aimed at ensuring that employees were working legally and being treated appropriately”, said police inspector Chris French, who helped lead the visits.
The rise of hand car washes is the result of what is known as economic restructuring. In recent times, many gas stations have closed as drivers now fill up their cars at supermarkets.
Entrepreneurs and opportunists found available land – and a demand among drivers for cheap, effective car washing – changes in the labour market, partly as a result of EU migration, have supplied the workers. For many immigrants, car washes are a first job.