Many are trafficked into the UK on the promise of paid work before becoming trapped in debt bondage.
(Image: Phil Harris/Daily Mirror)
Thousands of workers in hand car washes are thought to be victims of modern slavery , paid little or nothing for an 11-hour shift and forced to live in squalid accommodation.
Many are trafficked into the UK on the promise of paid work before becoming trapped in debt bondage, owing money to their bosses which they stand no chance of ever repaying.
Mirror investigators working with the anti-slavery watchdog found evidence to suggest thousands of mainly Eastern European people could be trapped working on forecourts and car parks.
Unable to speak English, they can work for up to 11 hours a day for little or no pay, and when their shift is done go “home” to makeshift accommodation, made from shipping containers.
Those who try to quit are threatened with violence or even deportation.
The Government believes up to 13,000 people are victims of modern slavery, which PM Theresa May dubbed “the great human rights issue of our time”.
The Daily Mirror visited 10 hand car washes and found all displayed at least two of the five tell-tale signs of modern slavery.
Kevin Hyland, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, whose office drafted the five signs, said: “These findings are really powerful.
“People think this is something happening on distant shores, on different continents, but actually they need to realise slavery is happening in our cities, towns and villages.