Cabbies asked to listen for trafficking clues

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Taxi drivers can be the 'eyes and ears' of the community. Pic © Duncan Harris/ Wikimedia Commons

Taxi drivers can be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community. Pic © Duncan Harris/ Wikimedia Commons

An anti-trafficking charity in Liverpool has launched a new campaign in an attempt to make taxi drivers more aware of modern-day slavery, as they can be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community.

Over 20 million people across the world are facing slavery and forced labour, with thousands suffering in the UK. Liverpool Stop the Traffik is part of a global movement of individuals, communities and organisations working together to put an end to human trafficking.

Akilah Jardine, deputy lead of Stop the Traffik Liverpool and Doctoral Researcher of human trafficking, believes modern-day slavery is a growing problem in this country.

She told JMU Journalism: “There are many people that are still unaware that slavery exists. Slavery is all around us and so it’s our aim to educate individuals and communities, and train first responders to recognise possible human trafficking victims.”

Last year, an activist in Liverpool got chatting to a taxi driver about human trafficking on her way home from a Stop the Traffik event.

The taxi driver revealed that he had been concerned about a previous passenger, but hadn’t known what to do about it.  The campaigner realised that taxi drivers could be one of the few people that come into contact with victims of trafficking.

Following this, Stop the Traffik planned to start a campaign, ‘Taxis against Trafficking’, to raise awareness among cabbies about what to look for regarding human trafficking and who they should contact.

The Liverpool branch has started putting this plan into action with Annette Maudsley, lead of Stop the Traffik Liverpool, also contacting the Salvation Army church for support as they have worked with taxi drivers in Sydney, Australia.

Miss Jardine explained that it is important to make taxi drivers aware as victims often don’t want to come forward and seek help for a number of reasons.

She said: “Many are threatened by their traffickers and also fear of being deported and are unaware of their rights. Therefore it is up to law enforcement officials to carry out investigations.”

About Kamara Samuels, JMU Journalism