Labour exploitation – do you know what to look out for?

South Yorkshire Police have launched a campaign to highlight modern slavery and human trafficking and are asking the public to look out for signs of possible labour exploitation.

In particular, they are looking at businesses such as hand car washes and nail bars, where we know people can sometimes be exploited and forced to work long hours. Detective Sergeant Nikki Leach, from the Force’s Anti-Slavery Unit, said, “The signs of modern slavery and labour exploitation are often hidden, which can mean victims can be difficult to identify.
“However with your help, as we build up the intelligence picture about modern slavery across South Yorkshire, we are continuing to work towards identifying and protecting vulnerable victims.
“Victims of trafficking have previously been found working in both hand car washes and nail bars and experience tells us that they are forced to work in these locations for little or no pay for long hours.”
Below is a list of signs you can look out for to help police identify potential victims and put a stop labour exploitation:
Nail bars
  • Does someone speak on their behalf?
  • Does someone else always take payment for them?
  • Do they speak English? Or only a little English?
  • Can you see any professional qualifications on display or do they have little experience?
  • Do they look particularly untidy for a beautician or could they be living at the salon?
  • They may be very young or appear overly anxious or cautious of their surroundings and interactions
Car washes
  • Is there one person directing the workers but not doing any work?
  • Does someone else take payment for them?
  • Is there a space on the car wash site where workers could be living?
  • Are there a lot of people on site?
  • Are they wearing the right protective clothes for the job?
DS Leach added, “It’s important to note that this isn’t happening at every car wash and nail bar and a lot of establishments are legitimate businesses who treat their employees fairly and correctly.
“Similarly, modern slavery is not just refined to these businesses. Unfortunately it is widespread across South Yorkshire and it is our duty to protect these vulnerable people and ensure they are given the help and support they need.
“With your help, we hope to continue building up the intelligence picture surrounding modern slavery and human trafficking and I’d urge anyone who has any concerns to please call us on 101.”
You can also speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or the National Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121700.

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