POLICE are urging people to be aware of signs of modern slavery when visiting car washes, nail bars and house-cleaning providers.

People in these jobs are known to be at greater risk of exploitation. Though the signs are not always obvious, Wiltshire Police suggested a few to look out for.

Staff looking scruffy, malnourished or injured, acting anxiously and are afraid or unable to make eye contact could be a giveaway. Or if they are doing long hours, wearing unsuitable clothing or have the wrong equipment for the job

Perhaps where they are living is overcrowded, poorly maintained or the curtains are always closed.

Maybe they behave like they’re being instructed by someone else, picked up and dropped off at the same time and place every day, or don’t have access to money or identification.

Detective Inspector Phil Walker said: “While people try to save money and find a bargain they could be unwittingly funding organised crime groups and the exploitation of vulnerable people.

“We need the public to think about whether the cost of the service they’re paying for is realistic, and whether it’s significantly lower than what others charge for the same service.

“Does that tenner you’re paying at a hand car wash cover the materials used, at least minimum wage (£8.20) for the worker and still leave room for profit? It is unlikely and this should raise concerns.

“Often in Modern Slavery cases, vulnerable adults are trafficked into the UK under false pretences and made to work for little or no money whilst living in horrendous conditions.

“Victims face being held to ransom by the criminals they’re forced to work for using threats to their families as leverage and confiscating their identity documents.”

Wiltshire Police continues to work with a number of partners to tackle modern slavery including the National Crime Agency and Immigration officials carrying out frequent welfare checks on those businesses at greater risk.

Report concerns about modern slavery by calling 101 or using the Wiltshire Police website. The 24-hour modern slavery helpline is on 08000 121700. Call 999 in an emergency or if there is an immediate threat to life.

DI Walker added: “We need the public to work with us to tackle this, these are often sophisticated operations and that piece of information that you could hold, no matter how small could be the last piece of the puzzle we need to take action and protect vulnerable people from exploitation.”