A CAMPAIGN to stop the sexual exploitation and forced labour of innocent people in Uttoxeter is to be introduced to taxi drivers in the town in their role as the 'eyes and ears' of the community.
Next week East Staffordshire Borough Council's full licensing committee is set to approve plans to support the Stop the Traffik campaign, which aims to address issues of human trafficking, at a local level.
Stop the Traffik has identified that taxi drivers could be some of the few people who come into contact with victims of trafficking.
It is therefore appropriate that the committee considers the approval of the campaign being introduced to those licensed by the council.
It is proposed at the next Hackney carriage and private hire trade forum to introduce the Stop the Traffik campaign to licensees, with Sergeant Bob Champeau of Staffordshire Police explaining how they can assist.
A report to the committee by Philip Somerfield, the council's head of regulatory services, said: "Those licensed within the Hackney carriage and private hire trade within East Staffordshire should know what human trafficking is, what the signs are, and who to report it to. In this way they can be a major force for good in tackling this crime, as they are often the eyes and ears of the community."
People are bought and sold for sexual exploitation, forced labour, street crime, domestic servitude or even the sale of organs and human sacrifice.
Men, women and children are trafficked within their own countries and across international borders
The report adds: "In whatever shape or form everyone dreams of progress, whether it is to be loved, to be seen, to belong, or for a better future for their family.
"Traffickers often exploit those desires among the most vulnerable.
"Trafficking is so often seeded on deception. The trafficker creates an intimate point of sale, making promises of progress like an education, a new start and future choices."