In a first, Northeast Indian drivers to become whistle blowers against human trafficking!

In a first, Northeast Indian drivers to become whistle blowers against human trafficking!

Human trafficking is a menace that is not an easy phenomena to tackle. It is the process of recruiting and selling as well as buying and receiving people for the purpose of exploitation which could be in the form of physically demanding labour, housemaids or workers in fields or others, especially the girl child and young women who are often forced in brothels. It comes in various facets and hence, due to its multiple layers, it is sometimes difficult to be identified by the concerned authorities and various stake holders.

Tourism, or in simple words, the inflow of people from different parts of the world is an important aspect of trafficking source. Hence, it becomes important to tap the source of the menace. In a one of a kind initiative, a Sikkim start up called Ne Taxi initiated by Rewaj Chettri and Impulse NGO Network under the Impulse Model (An NGO that counters human trafficking), based in Meghalaya are collaborating to initiate a safe and sound tourism environment and also to check human trafficking in and around the region.

The initiative also ensures the merging of a sound business start up such as NE Taxi with a social mandate, thereby catering to not only the business aspect but also creating a wider social implication.

Rewaj Chettri's Travel agency that includes rental car service named NE Taxi was established way back in 2013 with a dream to become the best transportation option region-wide. His team set out to achieve this by offering their clientele the most luxurious, reliable and safe rides around Northeast India.

It may be noted that the drivers of NE Taxi will be playing a crucial role in this regard and hence, each driver will be duly trained and validated before he becomes eligible to drive the NE Taxi. They provide one with driver cum travel guide. The team also believes in providing the safest rides around the region and hence their drivers not only undergo an intense defense driving course, but they've all passed background and drug tests as well.

An important aspect of this collaboration between the NE Taxi and Impulse NGO is the efficient use of technology that is unique to the NGO. However they will be sharing this software which is in sync with the Impulse Case info Centre (ICIC) and which will be installed with the NE Taxi app which is soon to be launched. Under this collaboration, the drivers will have an access to the software where in an SOS button will be attached. The moment a driver or a passenger suspects any case of trafficking, they can utilise the SOS app which will then report the incident to the nearest police department or authority. The cases may not only be subject to cases of human trafficking but will also accidents or any such cases of emergency under its purview. For this, the drivers will be duly trained under a special course that will help them identify potential trafficking cases before they report the cases.

It may be mentioned that the drivers will also be duly recognized and rewarded for their initiative which will in turn promote safe and professional tourism. Moreover, this initiative has also accelerated the process of engaging start up as a base for ethical business practices.

It may be mentioned that this is probably a first of its kind initiative in India. In Colorado, an Association called the Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a nonprofit organization that trains truck drivers to recognize and report instances of human trafficking. This organization was formed in Oklahoma, United States in 2009 and teaches truck drivers about the results of human trafficking. TAT is based in Colorado and its executive director is Kendis Paris.

By Shweta Raj Kanwar for TNT-The Northeast Today

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