Human trafficking is a violation of human rights that affects 24.9 million people around the world, with one in 4 victims being children*. It’s made worse by traffickers who capitalize on the lack of awareness around the crime. As a technology company that’s engaged in part in the transportation space, our company is in a powerful position to raise awareness around human trafficking and, with your help, make an impact.
We partner with leading organizations such as ECPAT-USA, the McCain Institute, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Polaris, Thorn, and Truckers Against Trafficking to mobilize communities, raise awareness, and advocate for policy and legislation.
Our commitment to combating human trafficking led us in 2016 to sign ECPAT’s The Code, an industry-driven set of guidelines focused on helping travel and tourism companies prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.
With the guidance of ECPAT-USA, Uber users around the world have been learning how to spot the signs of human trafficking and what to do when they suspect someone is in a potentially dangerous situation.
Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit someone for forced labor or commercial sex acts for profit. Children under the age of 18 engaged in commercial sex acts are victims of human trafficking -- regardless if force, fraud, or coercion exists. There’s no one face of human trafficking—victims and traffickers come from all backgrounds. Here are indicators suggested by our partner ECPAT-USA to spot human trafficking.
It’s important to note that indicators often overlap and that encountering any one of them isn’t necessarily proof of human trafficking.
It might be a sign of human trafficking if a person seems disoriented, lost, and/or fearful of their situation. Or if a person acts controlling over another person, who is often unable to move and/or speak freely. Potential victims, especially younger riders, may share that they don’t know what town or city they’re in.
Bruises, cuts, burns, or other injuries at various stages of healing could be a sign of human trafficking. The person may appear to have been denied food, water, sleep, adequate clothing, or medical care or given food or water based on conditions they must meet. You may also witness a violent act.
Look for signs of a controlling interaction. It could be a gesture or look from the potential trafficker that provokes fear. It could also be the use of force, or a person being guided by the arm, shoved into a car, or delivered to another person who then escorts the potential victim to a different location or vehicle.
An individual at a residence or a business who appears to be concealing the presence of other people could be a potential trafficker.
Human trafficking commonly occurs at hotels and major transportation hubs, such as airports, train and bus stations, and truck stops. Potential victims may seem anxious about arriving at or departing from a destination and/or have minimal luggage if traveling.
Pickups and dropoffs occurring at places that seem generally unsafe for children or vulnerable individuals, including children who are homeless or who have run away, LGBTQ+ youth, and minors in the foster care system, could be at increased risk for human trafficking.
If you suspect human trafficking, here’s what you can do.
If there’s an emergency and someone is in immediate danger, call 911 and report the incident right away.
Note the following:
As soon as you leave the scene, contact one of the following organizations.
National Human Trafficking Hotline
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
If you see or hear something suspicious, don’t confront the victim or trafficker directly. This response could put you and others at risk, including the potential victim, and may result in violence.
Inspired by Senator John McCain’s leadership and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute implements concrete programs like Combatting Human Trafficking, which educates, raises awareness, and implements action-based solutions to end modern slavery.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is the nation's reporting center for all issues related to the prevention of and recovery from child victimization. NCMEC helps lead the fight against abduction, abuse, and exploitation.
Polaris disrupts human trafficking networks. Its comprehensive model focuses on victims–helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.
Thorn is a global organization that brings the best minds and leading technology together to build the tools that defend children from sexual abuse.
Truckers Against Trafficking recognizes that members of the trucking and busing industries are invaluable in the fight against human trafficking. Their mission is to educate, equip, and mobilize members to combat this heinous crime.