It recognises that professional drivers have a unique insight into what is happening in their districts. They are out in the community at all times of the day and night, and often are in a position to spot the signs that something suspicious is taking place. Human traffickers are known to target these vehicles when transporting victims from place to place.
Following other successful campaigns where taxi and mini cab drivers have played a pivotal role in alerting authorities to potentially criminal behaviour, Drive for Freedom focuses on equipping drivers to report their suspicions or concerns anonymously to the Modern Slavery Helpline 0800 0121 700 or via the STOP APP. It launched in London in October 2016 with a view to spreading across the country and is a collaboration between The Salvation Army and a range of other organisations including the Metropolitan Police, Stop the Traffik and cab companies.
Anne Read, Director of Anti trafficking and Modern Slavery at The Salvation Army, said: “We are calling on taxi and mini cab drivers across London to be the ears and eyes of the community. At The Salvation Army we work with victims of modern slavery at the start of their long journey to recovery and witness every day the devastation that human trafficking wreaks on people’s lives.”
DCI Philip Brewer, from the Metropolitan Police Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit, said:
“Any piece of information, however big or small it is, could be relevant and form a missing piece of the picture that could help us rescue someone at risk, bring perpetrators to justice, and protect others potentially at risk of exploitation.”
Anjum Chowdhery, Goldline cars, said: “We are delighted to support something as important as Drive for Freedom. We have seen the real difference it can make when our drivers are informed about what to look out for and where to report something suspicious they see.”
The STOP APP can be downloaded on smartphones and gives anyone the opportunity to report what they’ve seen which might relate to human trafficking and modern slavery.
The Salvation Army runs the government contract to provide care and support for adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales and has done since July 2011. The charity runs a network of safe houses and outreach support which includes safe accommodation, counselling, access to legal advice, and much more.
To find out more about Drive for Freedom please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org