‘Slaves’ being used to operate Solihull car wash, police warn

Police investigating human trafficking in Solihull targeted a suspected brothel in Shirley and a car wash in Chelmsley Wood suspected of using slaves.

Officers said no victims came forward at either location but warned that “labour exploitation” was happening across the borough with some workers earning as little as £4-an-hour.

The Solihull Partnership Team Twitter account said: “Further visits today to locations on the borough where intelligence suggests human trafficking could be happening.

“One location in #Shirley suspected of providing sex services, another in #ChemWood suspected of using slaves to wash cars.

“We visited with Immigration.

“No victims came forward however it’s worth noting that labour exploitation is present across #Solihull with individuals at various locations being paid as little as £4 an hour to undertake a variety of work.

“We will continue our work.”

In February, Solihull Police investigated three car washes in Solihull after concerns were flagged up about labour exploitation.

Officers swooped on one site off the Stratford Road in Shirley, as well as another two in the suburb.

No arrests were made.

Last month, one of the car washes was found to have re-opened.

Sgt Tim Evans, from the Solihull Partnerships Team, said: “We are committed to making sure our communities can live and work in safe conditions and as part of our on-going work to identify and combat slave labour we are continually checking the businesses that run within our area.”

How to identify potential victims of modern slavery:

* They have few personal possessions

* They’re illegal tenants/ trespassers or are living in large groups in crowded or unsanitary conditions

* They show signs of physical neglect

* They travel in a large group and are closely monitored or controlled by a dominant individual

* Are mistrustful of authorities and are afraid of revealing their immigration status

* Work excessively long hours for low pay yet have very little of their own cash or earnings

* Modern slavery can be found in a wide range of industries including restaurant work, car washes, nail bars, farms and factories, brothels, building sites, traveller sites, private homes, cleaning companies, care homes and managing cannabis farms.

Find out more about modern slavery at www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/1044.