Five modern slavery arrests in south-east London
7th March 2019
Five people have been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery and human trafficking offences following dawn raids in south-east London.
The suspects were arrested by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) as part of an operation with the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday 6 March tackling alleged organised criminal behaviour.
Two Albanian men aged 29 and 34, along with two Romanian men and one woman aged 28, 30, and 23, were all questioned by GLAA officers and released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Addresses in Woolwich, Plumstead, Bromley and Eltham were searched during the morning of the operation.
GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Tony Byrne said: "The operation was organised after allegations were received indicating several Romanian men had been trafficked to the UK and exploited for their labour within the hand car wash industry.
"As hand car washes are in plain sight, the public has an important role to play in identifying and reporting any potential exploitation. For example, are they offering to wash your car for £5 or less? Do the workers have protective equipment and suitable clothing? Does it look like they live on site? Is there a manager who they appear to be fearful of?
"These are just some examples of exploitation which we would encourage the public to not only be aware of but let us know about if they spot the signs."
Anyone who suspects someone is being exploited should contact the GLAA's dedicated intelligence team on 0800 4320804 or email email@example.com
Alternatively, download the Safe Car Wash app and report your concerns. More information on the app is available here: https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/safecarwash/