TW: Sex Trafficking, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence
Introducing a New Safe Space
It is unfortunate that we live in a world where women often feel in constant danger. Living in a society that is always advancing technologically, the fear of Sex Trafficking is at an all-time high. Rideshare applications are one of the many outlets’ sex traffickers use to capture women and girls. Uber and Lyft have become a common form of transportation. The appeal of these apps is the ability to have a ride at the palm of your hand. The convenience of the app is what sex traffickers prey on. They hope to catch a victim in a vulnerable position in order to take advantage of them. This is why CEO Kiersten Harris decided to create HERide, the first female-friendly, black-owned rideshare app. With the headquarters being in Atlanta, Georgia, HERide serves a total of 96 cities in the state.
The key difference between HERide and many other rideshare apps is that it was created to protect the lives of marginalized people. Keeping the lives of women and the LGBTTQIA+ community safe is the number one priority of HERide. The app gained much recognition after Harris encouraged her followers on Twitter to go with a Black-owned business. The tweet went viral and even caught the attention of Paper Magazine. She explains in an interview why she believes it’s necessary for her drivers to go through mandatory training sessions. In these sessions, they would learn how to handle dangerous situations and recognize the signs of Sex Trafficking victims.
“I don’t think any other app has this, but if you think about every other company in the world, they have mandatory training,” she said. “So, we are offering this, because we feel like we want our drivers to feel equipped to handle anything. It’s not just about spotting someone, it’s about protecting yourself too, because drivers are also going missing. Our safety is on both ends.”
Straight from the HERide website, the “Our Story” mission statement explains the rules and regulations on how they ensure the security of their riders.
“Our drivers are personally vetted and undergo comprehensive background checks so you can have peace of mind knowing they meet the HERide Standard. Our in-ride security features make sure you arrive at your destination safely. Drivers are also paid more than the industry standard and are incentivized to provide best-in-class service.”
We Need To Protect Our Women
The rideshare app is also striving to create more job opportunities for the unemployed, combat domestic violence, and offer their riders and drivers any support necessary. The HERide headquarters being located in Atlanta is no coincidence. In a 2010 Urban Institute study, Atlanta, Georgia along with other cities, were named as the most involved in the “underground commercial sex market in the United States.” The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is a notorious location for sex traffickers to strike. Being large in size and chaotic in nature is what makes this airport the perfect hub for Sex Trafficking.
It’s more now important than ever to make sure you have a safe form of transportation. Black women and girls are especially vulnerable. Oftentimes, they are the primary targets of the sex market. HERide offers peace of mind when traveling from place to place, especially in Atlanta. What better rideshare app to use than one created by a Black woman, for Black women?