With an increase in human trafficking hotline and reports in the media, Uber says that it will send drivers and delivery people across South Africa specific tips and a podcast to help spot signs of human trafficking.

In light of Human Trafficking Awareness week in South Africa, Uber says that the project comes at an essential time to raise awareness when human trafficking cases are on the rise.

Partnering with A21, one of Uber's valued anti-trafficking advocacy partners in South Africa and leading experts in human trafficking awareness, the brand has developed resources and tips for identifying human trafficking, including a podcast, where drivers and delivery people can learn more about the hotline and what to expect if they reach out.

It is estimated that nearly 40 million people around the world are trapped in some form of human trafficking. As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, the resulting economic instability and social disruption have consequently caused many individuals to be more vulnerable to violence, abuse and human trafficking, according to the partnership.

A21 says that, during April 2020 when most communities were in lockdown, the South African National Human Trafficking Hotline saw a 47.8% increase in crisis trafficking situations reported compared to April 2019.

Additionally, in September 2020, 30% of the calls coming into the hotline were related to vetting job opportunities, which saw a 1 000% increase.

The partnership says that this is why truly understanding this issue, and how trafficking works in diverse communities, is now more important than ever. Even with less travel and transportation, it's important for people, including drivers and delivery people, to have access to resources to understand how and why trafficking presents itself. as well as who to reach out to for help, they add.

"We want to reinforce our commitment to helping raise awareness of this heinous crime and be a part of the solution by using our technology and expansive network," says Nduduzo Nyanda, country manager for Uber South Africa. "By providing them with resources and education with the help of A21, we want to encourage them to be vigilant while on the road and we hope to disrupt the human trafficking industry and take a step towards building safer communities for everyone."

Katie Modrau, country manager for A21 in South Africa, says, "The shocking reality is that only about 1% of victims caught in slavery will ever be rescued. That's why it is important that more people understand what human trafficking is and how to identify it, as there is more chance a victim has of being rescued." 

"We are grateful for Uber's commitment to helping drivers and delivery people continue to serve their communities in so many important ways. With these new resources, Uber drivers and delivery people will serve as crucial partners in helping prevent and eliminate human trafficking and exploitation," concludes Modrau.

Individuals who believe that they have witnessed something that might be human trafficking, or if they, or someone they know, might need help for an at-risk situation, they are encouraged to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 0800 222 777 or visit A21's website.

For more information, visit www.a21.org. You can also follow A21 on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.