Help stop human trafficking
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.
What Uber is doing
We partner with leading organizations such as ECPAT-USA and Polaris to mobilize communities, raise awareness, and advocate for policy and legislation.
Pledging our commitment
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.
Informing our network
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.
Tips for identifying human trafficking
Human trafficking is defined by US law as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit someone for their labor or for commercial sex. In most countries, including the United States and Canada, children under the age of 18 who are engaging in commercial sex acts are automatically considered victims of human trafficking. There’s no one face of human trafficking—victims and traffickers come from all backgrounds.
Here are some indicators suggested by our partner ECPAT-USA on how to spot human trafficking.
It’s important to note that encountering any one of the indicators individually isn’t necessarily proof of human trafficking and it should be considered along with other signs. Most notably, someone’s race, or how their race may or may not differ from their co-traveler’s are not indicators of human trafficking.
Emotional abuse and distress
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.
Physical abuse and signs of branding
- 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.
- Tattoos such as “Daddy”, Cash and/or money signs, “Property of…,” “For Sale,” etc. can also indicate signs of “ownership”.
Exerting power over the potential victim
Look for signs of a controlling interaction. It could be a gesture or look from the potential controller that provokes fear. It could also be a person forcefully 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.
Travel and Transit Considerations
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.
Kids at unsafe locations
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.
Multiple phones and excessive cash
If a person has multiple phones that they are using concurrently. They may also have an excessive amount of cash.
Unsafe work environments
If a restaurant employee appears to be heavily monitored, mistreated, or threatened by their managers, this could be a sign of an unsafe and exploitative environment that is high-risk for labor trafficking.
Assess the situation
If there’s an emergency and someone is in immediate danger, call 911 and report the incident right away.
Provide details of the incident
Note the following:
- Date, time, and location of the suspected incident
- Description of those involved, including physical identifiers such as hair color, approximate age, tattoos, etc.
- Any names or nicknames overheard
- Summary of the situation that prompted the report
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline
National Human Trafficking Hotline
- 1-888-373-7888 or text “Help” to 233733
We want you to be safe
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.
Learn more about our partners
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.
*Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage, Geneva, September 2017 (source).