Uber is teaming up with a number of anti-human trafficking organizations to help drivers spot sexual slavery victims, or those who are being held captive or forced into labor against their will.
To mark Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the ride-hailing giant is partnering with the Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization that works to combat modern-day slavery, highlighting resources and a hotline for reporting suspicious activity. Indeed, all U.S. drivers will receive in-app messages with the hotline number, in addition to information about how to spot possible human trafficking.
Additionally, Uber said it has partnered with Thorn, an organization that focuses on the use of technology to prevent child pornography and the spread of sexual slavery through the internet. The organization was founded by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher and has worked with the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter to help thwart sexual abuse online.
While Uber’s name isn’t synonymous with good deeds, the company has been proactive in helping find missing children by opening its driver app to AMBER alerts, and it has also partnered with other anti-trafficking organizations, such as ECPAT-USA. Indeed, in 2016, Uber signed the ECPAT Code, which is a set of guidelines focused on helping tourism-related companies prevent child sex tourism and trafficking.
With hundreds of thousands of drivers across the U.S., Uber is in a strong position to disseminate information to people on the ground — those who may have direct access to human trafficking outfits. Back in 2016, an Uber driver actually helped save a 16-year-old sex slave after eavesdropping on a conversation in his car, so it’s clear that Uber drivers may be uniquely positioned to help.
“Both research and experience operating the National Human Trafficking Hotline has shown us that ride-sharing services like Uber have a significant role to play in disrupting human trafficking and helping survivors to find freedom,” noted Polaris CEO Bradley Miles. “Ensuring that drivers who recognize the signs of human trafficking know that the hotline is available and can help is an important step toward turning awareness into action and making a real difference in people’s lives.”
Uber’s latest push is only aimed at U.S. drivers, but the company said it plans to introduce similar initiatives in other countries.