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Published on Friday, 20th July 2018 in Council news news

Residents are being urged to spot the signs of modern slavery and report it through the use of a smart phone app that can be used while at a carwash.

The app, called SafeCarWash, asks motorists and residents about a series of indicators of forced labour including the use of children, fearful behaviour, a lack of protective clothing and prices lower than £6.70.

The app is part of an awareness raising initiative highlighting the fact many people are being exploited nationwide, including here in Rotherham. In particular they are asking people to be vigilant when attending hand car wash facilities, which have nationally been picked out as being notorious for employing slave labour.

The Safer Rotherham Partnership is pushing the use of the national app to raise awareness as the app sends the anonymised data and a GPS position to the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and directs users to the Modern Slavery Helpline.

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and chair of the Safer Rotherham Partnership said: “Slavery was abolished in this country nearly 200 years ago but shockingly research shows there are more slaves today than ever before in human history.

“This is not acceptable. That is why we want to raise people’s awareness of modern slavery locally and the fact it is still happening all over the UK. Using the smart phone app is a very easy way for everyone to help combat it.”

The issue was highlighted by Cllr Peter Short who raised it as a question in the Council chamber.

He added: “Of course we want to be able to get something as cheap as we can but we need to be mindful sometimes those low payments can be an indicator of something much more sinister.

“I have been using the app on my phone to report anytime I think I see something suspicious. We have all seen these hand car washes and maybe many of us have used them. And that’s not to say all are employing slave labour, but if something doesn’t seem right then I would urge you to use the app to report it. If you are wrong it won’t matter, but if you’re right you could be helping to save someone from a terrible life in slavery.”

More about the smart phone app, including how to download it, can be found here: https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/safe-car-wash-app/

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