santa marta group

Leaders from politics, policing, law enforcement and civic society, including two former Prime Ministers, grappled with issues around modern slavery at the joint Police Scotland and Santa Marta Group anti-trafficking summit in Glasgow earlier this month.

According to a report in Car Wash News, the Summit discussed combating human trafficking as a serious organised crime, with a focus on key sectors including hand car washing.

Car Wash Association (CWA) chairman Brian Madderson spoke at the event, which was co-hosted by Scotland’s chief constable Sir Iain Livingstone QPM and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and the anti-trafficking charity Santa Marta Group.

Delegates included two former Prime Ministers, Gordon Brown and Theresa May, Scottish Justice Secretary Angela Constance, and Commissioner Drew Harris, An Garda Síochána, Police Service of the Republic of Ireland.

Madderson appeared via video link at the Summit, in a lively Q&A Session on illegal hand car washes and anti-slavery issues, conducted by Kevin Hyland OBE, the UK’s first independent anti-slavery commissioner, now strategy director (global) at Santa Marta Group.

Madderson used the platform to call for the Westminster government to honour its manifesto commitment to a single enforcement body and to introduce a national licensing scheme for hand car washes to tackle the many issues presented by illegal and non-compliant operators.

He highlighted how migrant workers were forced to work with and handle dangerous chemicals in unsafe conditions at illegal car washing operations, as well as the £1.8bn tax black hole caused by the estimated 6,000 illegal hand car washes currently operating in the UK.

All delegates at the conference agreed to keep trafficking high on their organisations’ agendas and Commissioner Harris committed to hosting the next summit in the Republic of Ireland next year.

Cardinal Nichols said: “This summit has brought into clear relief the need for the evil of trafficking to be seen for what it is. We all need to recognise our own complicity in the choices we make every day but most importantly it is about taking action.”

Madderson commented: “The Santa Marta conference was a significant step forward in bringing together leading figures in tackling modern day slavery. The CWA is now working with investigative journalists at the BBC on developing a programme exposing modern slavery in the hand car wash sector following the Summit.”