The Ministries of Public Works and Transport, and Interior jointly supported the launch of two initiatives under “Grab for Good”, a social impact programme by ride-hailing firm Grab.
The ministries regarded the initiatives as significant contributions from the private sector.
The launch was attended by some 100 participants including officials from the ministries, civil society organisations and Grab driver-partners with disabilities.
The initiatives will focus on two different issues.
The first initiative – Break the Silence – will focus on making the Grab platform more accessible and inclusive to unlock more income-generating opportunities for the deaf and hearing-impaired.
“This includes message prompts to alert passengers that they have been paired with a deaf driver-partner, advising them to use the GrabChat feature and in-vehicle flip cards to communicate.
“Grab will also launch a public education campaign to promote better communication and empathy, and provide enhanced training and onboard materials with local subtitles and sign language for driver-partners,” said a statement from Grab.
In an interview, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said: “In Cambodia, there are more than one million disabled persons, of whom more than 40,000 are deaf and mute.
“So this is a good private sector project in cooperation with our state institutions. The private sector supports and provides possibilities for disabled persons so they will have opportunities to make a living by driving for Grab to support their families.”
The second initiative,meanwhile, will focus on combating human trafficking.
A training programme will roll out for Grab’s driver-partners to raise awareness against human trafficking.
Grab, in partnership with NGOs Liberty Shared Cambodia and Child Helpline Cambodia, will conduct online and offline training via the driver app and classroom sessions respectively, for 10,000 driver-partners starting in June this year.
Chou Bun Eng, the Ministry of Interior’s secretary of state and permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT), said offenders had taken advantage of transportation means to commit human trafficking.
If drivers and passengers cooperate well, human trafficking can be successfully eliminated, said Bun Eng.
“The work against human trafficking does not solely rely on the police. The transportation sector’s cooperation is what’s most important. I support this collaboration [between the state and the private sector],” she said.
Every year, the police crack down on at least 100 human trafficking-related offences, she said.
From these, at least 500 people had been victimised.
“Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol welcomed the Grab initiatives and called on more companies to follow its lead in driving a positive social impact through their businesses,” the statement from Grab said.
Grab Cambodia country head Hashim Alkaff said at the launch: “As we expand our network across the region, including here in Cambodia, we are acutely aware that our driver-partners can unknowingly be the first point of contact for traffickers and their victims at airports, train stations or bus terminals.
“This is why we are tenacious in proactively engaging in partnerships with Liberty Shared and Child Helpline to address this issue and train our driver-partners to recognise suspicious activity and respond appropriately.”
Safety and security, he said, were “embedded in Grab’s DNA”.