South Cambs Police investigate potential exploitation at A14 car wash

Police attended a car wash on the A14 at Swavesy last night (Monday), along with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Health and Safety Executive and South Cambs District Council, as part of a joint investigation into potential exploitation.

Officers have been developing intelligence into potential human trafficking and labour exploitation in South Cambridgeshire.

The operation last night was set up to check on the welfare of people believed to be working and living at the hand car wash site on the A14, westbound in Huntingdon Road.

Officers spoke with people there to establish what their current employment and living conditions were. Each worker was interviewed and given the opportunity to be taken into voluntary protective custody in the form of the National Referral Mechanism.

Three men, aged 73, 29 and 20, have all been arrested on suspicion of labour exploitation. They currently remain in police custody at Huntingdon Police Station for questioning.

Five men and one woman, all of Romanian origin, were spoken to by officers last night and have been taken into voluntary protective custody in the form of the National Referral Mechanism. If you want information on the NRM then your best place to find it is here http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/about-us/what-we-do/specialist-capabilities/uk-human-trafficking-centre/national-referral-mechanism

Chief Inspector James Sutherland, Area Commander for South Cambridgeshire, said:

“Across the country there is widespread evidence of unscrupulous car-wash owners exploiting vulnerable migrant workers through low pay, human trafficking and dangerous living and working conditions.”

“A member of public has no way of telling if one of these ‘pop up’ car washes is doing this, therefore I would strongly urge the public to only use well established, legitimate car washes and if in doubt then don’t give them your business – a clean car is not worth dirty hands.”

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