The majority of people who are trafficked do not have cars. Their controllers can use rideshare services to transport victims to sex buyers or to a forced work situation. That’s why rideshare drivers are in a unique position to be able to spot the warning signs of human trafficking. They can offer a victim help, or if the trafficker is in the car with the victim, drivers can report a human trafficking situation to law enforcement. But rideshare drivers do not always know what to look for. That’s why BEST recently partnered with Lyft and the Dressember Foundation to provide educational sessions to boost human trafficking awareness for Lyft drivers in Miami and Las Vegas.
Lyft wants its drivers to know what to do if they encounter a situation where they suspect a rider may be the victim of human trafficking. The driver education events in Miami and Las Vegas are part of Lyft’s commitment to safety, and are in alignment with Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
The Dressember Foundation is dedicated to restoring the lives of human trafficking victims and survivors worldwide. They are sponsoring the driver education events with the goal of helping human trafficking victims escape a life of abuse and exploitation.
BEST led driver education sessions at Lyft’s Miami Driver Hub in advance of Super Bowl LIV on January 9, 10, 13 and 14. Three sessions were led in English and one session was in Spanish. BEST will also be expanding education sessions to drivers in Las Vegas. Sessions will start on February 5, and they will take place throughout 2020 at Lyft’s Las Vegas Driver Hub.
Rideshare drivers can learn to recognize signs that can help them spot a potential human trafficking victim. Some indicators include; riders who are secretive or request a discrete drop-off location, riders who are confused about what city they are in, riders who have signs of physical abuse, riders who are unusually anxious or fearful and do not make eye contact, or riders who allow someone else to speak for them or they respond to questions as if they have been coached. Drivers attending BEST’s sessions are encouraged to report suspicions to 911, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888, or text HELP to BEFREE.