Uber is joining the fight against sex trafficking with a new national campaign. The company plans to roll out the initiative in the United States before spreading it internationally. The company known for disrupting the taxi industry is now changing their policies to educate drivers on how to spot potential human trafficking.
Taxi drivers around the country have been taught how to spot human trafficking, with drivers in New York being required to learn about trafficking.
Uber has been actively enlisting drivers regionally and locally to help minors and adults that may be involved in trafficking. The new initiative, launching Monday, will target all U.S. drivers, some 750,000 in total.
The company states that their drivers are “uniquely positioned to make an impact.”
The company’s program will take time to implement in other countries, as the company will need to refine the program to the country’s support organizations and hotlines to help assist those being trafficked.
Uber has partnered with several organizations, including Thorn, The McCain Institute for Exploited Children and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The campaign will begin as Uber drivers open their app on Monday. The app will present drivers with information on how to spot human trafficking cases. Drivers will also get helpful tips that will help them make a report and how to report incidents to anti-trafficking support groups.
The company claims that they have a lot of eyes on the road, and that even if only one child is helped by the company, the campaign will be a success.
Florida is a hotspot for human trafficking, with 329 cases reported in 2017. Statistics show that 14,500 to 17,500 people are victims of trafficking in the United States every year. The crime is the third-largest internationally and generates $32 billion annually. Victims of human trafficking are forced into sexual exploitation or forced labor.
Polaris claims that 20.9 million people are victims of human trafficking. The majority, 55%, are women or girls. Approximately 26% of the 20.9 million are children. Some 68% of victims are put into forced labor, where they are forced to work long days and night with little or no pay.
Worldwide, trafficking is estimated to bring in $150 billion a year. Polaris claims that just 31,600 cases have been reported to their Hotline in eight years, meaning just a small portion of those stuck in the trade are rescued.
Uber’s 750,000 will be trained to call police and organizations to report cases and hopefully save lives in the process. The campaign is another opportunity for drivers to help save a life.
Uber has been in the spotlight lately after reports that drivers have been trying to pick up younger women using their position as a driver. The company’s background checks have come under question and reports of the average Uber driver pay and an incident involving the company’s CEO also tarnished the company’s image.
The former CEO was seen getting into a heated argument with a driver that was trying to bring attention to the struggle drivers face with falling fares.