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.

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.

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.

Social Protection: Not "Helpline of Hope Call Centre"
The main objective of a helpline is to provide immediate support for victims of violence seeking help. Therefore, the establishment of a helpline is in a bid to improve victim protection and support.

In spite of Ghan's relatively recent legislative and policy framework, several institutional mechanisms and actors currently operate at national regional and district levels in order to address abuse and violence in all forms. Nonetheless, the recent establishment of the "Helpline of Hope Call Centre" by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the World Bank, lacks the objective of a helpline.

It has been couched to serve a broader need which includes the dissemination of relevant information to the public in line with the government's Social Protection (SP) programmes; a clear drift of the functions and objectives of a helpline.

Social Protection has existed since Independence to address poverty, vulnerability and exclusion. It has taken a rights-based approach, and is an expression of the Government's commitment towards reducing inequality and poverty in Ghanaian society by subsidizing the provision of basic social services such as education, health, water and sanitation etc. A number of Social Protection interventions are being implemented at the district level to address the issue of poverty. These include the Education Capitation Grant to make basic education accessible to children from poor households; the Ghana school feeding programme; free uniform and exercise book programme; free National Health Insurance coverage for extremely poor and vulnerable households and Labour Intensive Public works, LESDEP, MASLOC among others. All these are geared towards the development of human capital for sustainable growth and development as well as poverty reduction.

Helplines are particularly important in rural areas, and outside the operating hours of support services. Helplines may also cover all forms of violence. A helpline may provide information, advice and assistance shelter or equivalent safe, temporary accommodation including support and assistance, and if necessary, practical help in contacting relevant agencies assistance.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection did less in sensitizing the public about the objective and functions of the "Helpline of Hope Call Centre". Clearly, not sufficient survey data was indicated related to the type of services offered by the helpline. The "Helpline of Hope Call Centre" has been portrayed to be a social protection tool rather than a traditional helpline.

The Eban Centre for Human Trafficking Studies (ECHTS), recommends the following:
1. Lack of an understanding about the function and objective of a Helpline: The purpose of setting up a helpline is to provide protection and support. We recommend that the Ministry adheres to the basic function of a Helpline, which is providing protection and support.

2. Public Awareness of a Helpline: The objective of a helpline would be achieved when the public is well sensitized and educated on their rights and how to report abuses and violence. Clearly the Ministry did less public awareness on the establishment of the "Helpline of Hope Call Centre", thus, its operation is a white elephant to many Ghanaians. ECHTS recommends that the Ministry embarks on an urgent general public awareness programme.

3. Social Protection is not a Helpline: The Ministry should clearly distinguish between the operation of a helpline from that of social protection.

4. The "Helpline of Hope Call Centre" is an umbrella for all forms of abuse and violence: We recommend that in the future the Ministry should look at developing various toll-free numbers or short codes targeting the various forms of violence and abuse. This would streamline incoming calls.

5. Voicemail Service: Currently due to the low level of awareness about the existence of the "Helpline of Hope Call Centre", incoming call volume may be relatively low. It would be imperative for the Ministry to have a voicemail service to rectify future high volume of calls. This would make it rate which may be always possible for a caller to connect immediately to a helpline worker during peak times. The voicemail service provides information on safety and alternative sources of assistance and allows callers to leave a message to be called back. Messages should be checked regularly and calls returned if it is safe to do so.

Helpline promotion is only one function of addressing violence and abuse. Not every victim of abuse or violence would want to call a helpline to obtain help. Therefore, the Ministry should develop effective policies and legislations that would impose severe penalties on perpetuators of violence and abuse