Local taxi drivers reacted to the council’s new plan to help protect children and young people from human trafficking and child sexual exploitation (CSE).
A new scheme set by the Bournemouth council forces all drivers in the local area to undergo free training to recognise domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
However, local taxi drivers do not believe in the success of the new scheme: “We are not to be confused with social workers.”
Councillor Nicola Greene, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, advocates the project: “We have identified that our taxi and private hire drivers play a really important role in helping to safeguard the young and vulnerable with whom they may be in contact with through their job. Local drivers are often the eyes and ears within the community and their knowledge and information can play a crucial part in protecting young people from being victims of child sexual exploitation.”
Apart from taxi driver training, the council is also working with Bournemouth’s tourism board, local schools, health professionals and other agencies to raise awareness and provide knowledge on how to spot signs of such abuse.
This awareness training for taxi drivers is only one way of bringing attention to this issue. The council provides the area with further important advice on their website.
A recent survey shows, that 15 percent of people in the South West had suspected child abuse, according to the Bournemouth Council. Child abuse is defined as sexual, physical, neglected, and emotional abuse.