Drive for freedom
published on 14 Oct 2016
On Monday 17 October 2016, The Salvation Army, in collaboration with Stop the Traffik, the Metropolitan Police and cab companies, is launching Drive for Freedom in London to raise awareness about modern slavery amongst taxi and mini cab drivers.
Drive for Freedom 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 in a position to spot the signs that something suspicious is taking place. Human traffickers are also 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 will focus on equipping drivers to report their suspicions or concerns anonymously to the Modern Slavery Helpline 0800 0121 700 or via the STOP APP.
Speaking ahead of the launch event at The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters in the City of London, 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. ”
To kick start Drive for Freedom, police officers are distributing air fresheners printed with information on what to look out for along with safe and appropriate ways to report through cab offices in Westminster. 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. Stop the Traffik, CEO Ruth Dearnley said:
“Lack of intelligence to build the real time picture of what is taking place is one of the greatest obstacles in disrupting this global crime. We hope that communities of drivers across the UK will take the lead from successful initiatives like this one in London.”
The launch of Drive for Freedom is at 10am on Monday 17 October at The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters at 101 Queen Victoria Street EC4V 4EH.