Modern slavery suspected at Thames Valley car washes

16 potential victims of child-trafficking and modern slavery have been identified during a three-week enforcement project focusing on hand carwashes throughout Thames Valley.

Project Aidant was set up in partnership with the National Crime Agency and Europol between June 6 and June 24.

The projects aim was to enhance and develop the police and the publics knowledge of modern slavery linked to hand car washes, focusing on adults or children under 18.

The victims were identified and safeguarded during this time.

A number of offences involving immigration and trafficking were also established alongside health and safety concerns at certain sites.

Chief Superintendent Jim Weems, Head of Force Intelligence and Specialist Operations, said: “Working in partnership with Immigration, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Trading Standards and local council teams, the Project Aidant created significant intelligence and identified a number of vulnerable individuals, for whom safeguarding has been put in place.

“Our actions have helped to ensure a number of individuals are no longer at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking, while the intelligence gather identified a number of possible offences for which investigations are continuing.

He added: “Modern slavery and human trafficking is absolutely abhorrent, and Thames Valley Police remain committed to ensuring that any such offences are investigated thoroughly and offenders brought to justice.

“We remain committed to ensuring the safety of vulnerable people,and would always urge the public to contact us if they have any information that could help us to safeguard anybody at risk of such offences.”

Thames Valley Police and partners have developed ‘The Clever Initiative Safe Car Wash’ app where members of the public can report concerns inked to working conditions in hand car washes.

You can also report to us online or by calling 101, or for 100% anonymity, by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Slough Observer | News