Drive for freedom campaign
On Monday 17th October 2016, the Daily Mail reported “London cabbies to be ‘eyes and ears’ in fight against human trafficking and slavery”. They reported this story from a press conference organised by the Salvation Army.
This may be a bit of a heavy subject but it is something that saha has been involved in for a number of years through the provision of safe houses for trafficked victims. There are an estimated 13,000 victims of forced labour, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude in Britain.
Philip Brewer from the Metropolitan Police’s modern slavery unit says “Any piece of information, however big or small it is, could be relevant and form a missing piece of the picture that could help us rescue someone at risk and bring perpetrators to justice”. Gathering information to prosecute those who have exploited these people is often very hard.
Gathering information to prosecute those who have exploited these people is often very hard.
David Blower, saha Partnership Manager wanted to do something to help; Working together with Anne Read, Director of Anti-Trafficking and Slavery at the Salvation Army, they formed a working group which included the Metropolitan Police and the Stop the Traffik campaign charity. They decided that taxi drivers were in a unique position to spot possible victims or traffickers as they were out in the community day and night and aware of what was happening in their area.
A “Drive for Freedom” campaign was launched in Westminster, providing an App where drivers could report their suspicions anonymously. Free Air Fresheners and literature were also distributed by the Police to cab companies in Westminster.
Anjum Chowdhery, Operations Manager at Goldline cabs says “We have seen the real difference it can make when our drivers are informed about what to look out for and where to report something suspicious they see,”
The campaign intends to roll out the initiative to the remaining London Boroughs and other major cities in the UK. They are also in discussions with Addison Lee (Europe’s largest cab company) and Uber.
Have you seen something suspicious? If so, call the modern slavery helpline on 0800 0121 0700 or download THE STOP APP;
You can make a difference too.