AUSTIN, Texas — A month of training Uber drivers across Texas on how to spot the signs of human trafficking kicked off on Thursday in Austin.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office will train Uber driver partners throughout the month to combat a problem that affects hundreds of thousands of Texans at any given time.
“We're using this as an opportunity to get more information out about what human trafficking is, what are the red flags and how to identify it, and Uber is a great partner in this fight as rideshare and other employees can be crucial in this recognition of human trafficking,” said Tiffany Lee, a program specialist in the attorney general’s Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime Section.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
According to the AG’s office, 234,000 people are victims of labor trafficking and 79,000 people are victims of youth or minor sex trafficking in Texas at any time. In 2018, Texas ranked second in the United States for the number of confirmed cases of human trafficking reported to the national human trafficking hotline.
“Here in Texas, we do see human trafficking occurring across all types of communities and cities both large and small,” Lee said. “The rideshare industry plays a very important role in helping identify victims of human trafficking. This could be riders in their car, identifying potential victims or identifying suspicious behavior.”
Uber will hold more information sessions across the state later this month.
- Jan. 13: San Antonio
- Jan. 23: Houston
- Jan. 27: Fort Worth
- Jan. 28: Dallas
- Jan. 29: Plano
“Our drivers are on the front lines every day. They're driving the streets; they're in neighborhoods; they're on downtown areas and they are the ears and eyes on the streets,” said Trevor Theunissen, director of public policy and communications for Uber’s southern region. “We've definitely had instances where drivers have reported in to us or into law enforcement that they have seen something.”
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: