Dame Sara quoted in i paper coverage of modern slavery carwash case, as two perpetrators are sentenced


Defrim Paci, 42 and Sitar Ali, 33, were sentenced on 30 July 2021 for running a modern slavery ring at a carwash in Carlisle, after an investigation was launched in 2017 into the criminal enterprise by Cumbria Police. The investigation involved four victims, who were all Romanian nationals. Paci was jailed for 45 months and Ali for 39 months.

The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, was interviewed by Aasma Day, Northern Reporter at i paper for an article covering the case. Interviewees also included Darryl Dixon from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and Detective Inspector James Yallop, who led the investigation.  

Day wrote, 'The exploited workers were given little or no protective equipment and suffered chemical burns and one man told how water had “eaten away at his feet” after he was made to work nine days in a row without proper equipment.

A police investigation found wage slips overstated pay and understated the working hours of the exploited staff who suffered sore feet, cracked hands and exhaustion.

The workers were also forced to live in cramped conditions with several other people with no heating or electricity, sleeping on mattresses on the floor.'

Read the full article here.


Dame Sara Thornton, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, said:

“We know hand car washes are high risk locations for exploitation and slavery.

“People think they are getting a quality car washing service. But if it is cheap, it is probable other people are paying the price.

"It is usually migrant workers who can’t speak English very well and have not got much choice in the jobs market who are exploited by unscrupulous employers.”


Detective Chief Investigator James Yallop, said of the victims:

Their bravery enabled us to support them and other victims in the case. We were able to work with partners to support them and provide them with alternative accommodation and in building a better future.”


Darryl Dixon from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, said:

Exploiting workers for a profit is something that should not be happening in a civilised society.”