State partners with Uber to combat human trafficking

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Office is trying to combat human trafficking by partnering with Uber.

This partnership is the first of its kind and they are hoping to train drivers in the ride-sharing service on what to look out for with the passengers they pick up.

“The ride-share industry actually can play a very crucial role in helping identify potential victims of human trafficking," says Tiffany Lee, Program Specialist for Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office.

"Governor Abbott, this is an issue that is very important to him. He declared January anti-human trafficking awareness month. So that’s kind of what inspired us to partner with the attorney general’s office," said Travis Considine, Communications Manager for Uber.

For the next month, meetings like this will be held in cities across Texas for Uber drivers.

"We are trying to give them information on what human trafficking is, how to identify potential red flags, and then what to do when they see something that they may need to make a report," Lee said.

The turn out of drivers attending these meetings has been great, especially since they are also members of the community.

Lynett Marsh has been an Uber driver for five years.

“I will go ahead and ask if they are, do they feel OK, do they feel like they are safe, can I take you to a shelter, can I take you to a domestic violence shelter. I’ve actually did that for one of my riders as well," she said.

According to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Office, Texas is at the forefront of battling these horrific human trafficking crimes, and spreading awareness is how we can help put an end to all of this.

“Because I do feel as sometimes we might be picking them up and taking them to a place that they don’t need to be going, or they might not want to go. Let us know, we do not have to drop you off there," Marsh says.

If you’re an Uber driver in our area and didn’t get a chance to attend the meeting, you can get all the information you need on the Attorney General’s website.