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Alexander Russell: consultant, Car Wash Association (CWA)
Published:  17 September, 2018

The Car Wash Association has been lobbying the government directly and through media campaigns during the summer months on the subject of non-compliant hand car washes (HCWs). The aim is to motivate the government and its various stakeholder agencies to inform, encourage and where necessary, oblige illegal HCWs to comply with human trafficking and modern slavery laws as well as to adhere to employment, fiscal and environmental regulations.

The CWA has also made detailed written submissions to the Treasury Select Committee and to the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee where Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association/CWA was called as a witness in this inquiry into the widespread flouting by HCWs of trade effluent regulations. Further high-level meetings have also been held with HMRC, DEFRA/Environment Agency and the Cabinet Office.

In addition the Church of England, together with the Catholic Church, has launched The Clewer Initiative, a joint anti-slavery campaign chaired by the Bishop of Derby, who also sat on the drafting committee of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The campaign was launched in the House of Commons. Speakers included Kevin Hyland OBE, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, the Bishop of Derby and Frank Field MP, one of the first MPs to raise the issue of human trafficking and slavery in the Commons.

The Clewer Initiative works to equip communities to help detect tell-tale signs of slavery and provide support to survivors. The new Safe Car Wash campaign has developed an app that allows the user to complete a short survey about working conditions at any car wash being visited. This new tool aims to mobilise the Church's 17,500 parishes and the public in an unprecedented community intelligence gathering exercise to document the levels of forced labour across Britain's HCWs with the results being included in a report by the University of Nottingham.

All this will provide encouragement for those in the car wash industry seeking to make automatic car washes a destination for customers once again.