Uber Human Trafficking Initiative: The Case For Ghana

Introduction


According to Tracey Breeden, Uber Safety Communications, Uber connects millions of people daily all around the globe, and drivers are uniquely positioned to help identify and ultimately prevent human trafficking. Working together with their national partners, Uber is utilizing their innovation and technology along with the scope and scale of their global community to commit to helping prevent and raise awareness and empower community heroes. It is the believe of Uber that, this can help disrupt and end human trafficking in the cities they operate.

Over the years, Uber has worked with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), ECPAT-USA, and the McCain institute to develop resources for drivers to help identify and report human trafficking. Uber is the first and only company in the on-demand space to sign the Code to protect children from trafficking. Now, working with Polaris, Uber will be proactively providing a way for driver-partners to be aware of and feel comfortable reaching out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.


Context


Given Ghana's strong commitment; existing inter-ministerial framework; active civil society fighting human trafficking; Ghana still serves as a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Ghanaian men who are lured by the promise of good construction jobs in the Middle East, only to arrive and find themselves exploited in domestic servitude and forced prostitution. Young Ghanaian women who move from the northern regions down to Accra in search of work, but end up victims of sex trafficking. It is clear that Ghana needs urgent innovative programs and collaborations to be urgently implemented. Consequently, Uber needs to take into account the potential negative impacts of human trafficking on women, children and the most vulnerable and consider working with local human trafficking organizations to offset these impacts.


Human Trafficking in Ghana


Poverty is a push factor in human trafficking in Ghana. The latest national household survey data (GLSS6), released by the government confirmed that Ghana has indeed met the MDG1 target of halving poverty since 1990. However, progress to reduce the national poverty headcount has slowed significantly since the last survey seven years ago and Ghana's relatively high level of income inequality is continuing to rise. This has negatively impacted the effort to combat human trafficking in Ghana.

As part of a broad move toward ending human trafficking, the Government of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America signed the Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership. The partnership contemplates developing jointly with Ghana a multi-year plan to implement new and more effective policies and programs to reduce child trafficking and improve child protection in Ghana. Also, Ghana has engaged in the following to end human trafficking.

1. Development and implementation of Ghana's National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Human Trafficking in Ghana (NPA) and disbursement of 1.5 million Ghana Cedis ($343,000) for trafficking victims' services in 2017

2. Government contributions to the renovation of the shelter for child trafficking victims, including a new perimeter fence, and a reliable water supply;

3. Government contributions of &cedis 80,000 for shelter operations and &cedis 11,000 for the care of rescued children at three private shelters; Increased efforts by the government, working cooperatively with anti-trafficking NGOs, to mount coordinated operations to remove 159 children from trafficking situations and provide them with assistance, arrest 79 suspected traffickers, and prosecute and convict two traffickers under the anti-trafficking act;

4. Endorsement and plans to implement the Standard Operating Procedures to Combat Human Trafficking in Ghana, which were developed through the interagency CPC Partnership Technical Working Group with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM); and

5. A commitment to adopting systematic trafficking data collection to enhance the government's ability to monitor and report anti-trafficking activities.



Recommendations for inclusion in the Uber Initiative.


Two specific priorities for ending human trafficking in Ghana.

1. Spotting Signs of Human Trafficking: Best practices in the case of Polaris partnership with Uber, where drivers are educated on spotting the signs of human trafficking could be replicated in the Ghanaian context. Reporting is a critical first step in helping end human trafficking. Uber could partner with human trafficking organizations in Ghana to sensitize their drivers on spotting the signs of human trafficking. Information could be sent to drivers on spotting signs of human trafficking and ways to report it. Also, the National Helpline of hope call Centre, which is the Ministry's project towards ending all forms of violence and abuse could be used as a medium to report suspected cases. As a way to motivate drivers, could bonuses could be rewarded after successfully breaking up potential human trafficking operations.

2. Partnering with Local IT Firms: Uber should partner with IT firms in Ghana to build technology to defend and protect children from potential human traffickers. These organization could build powerful products, leads new programs, maintains essential resources, and develops awareness campaigns to attack the issue.


Conclusion


Whiles calling for partnership and support between Uber and relevant stakeholders in Ghana, the Eban Centre for Human Trafficking wishes to ensure that combating human trafficking is an integral part of any broader socioeconomic system, given its strong linkages with supporting economic growth and reducing poverty.