BTB car wash This week as part of our ongoing #BeyondTheBeat campaign we are focusing on the issues surrounding modern slavery and human trafficking.

There are a lot of misconceptions in relation to modern slavery. It can be thought of as a 'big city problem' that doesn't happen in places like Wiltshire. That couldn't be further from the truth; we continue to uncover exploitation in our communities in what on the face of things look like normal, everyday and perfectly legitimate businesses.

Victims of modern slavery are hidden in plain sight within our communities. One of the ways everyone can make a difference is to think really carefully when buying services such as car washes. Of course there are many car washes running in Wiltshire legally, where workers are paid a fair wage and are treated well.

There are others though where this is not the case. Where workers are being forced to work there against their will, are being paid little or nothing for their labours, are not given adequate protective equipment and who are neglected, threatened and abused.

The true cost of these services isn't just in pounds and pence. There can be a very real human cost too. Being aware of the potential signs of modern slavery and human exploitation, using that knowledge when making purchase decisions and reporting any concerns, no matter how insignificant they may seem, are all really important steps in ending the suffering of vulnerable people in our communities and bringing offenders to justice.

Familiarise yourself with the different types on modern slavery and how to spot the signs someone may be being exploited.

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