Human trafficking flourishes in “dark places,” according to The Slave Next Door coauthor Rod Soodalter, and right now in the United States, major airlines need a little light. That’s why Airline Ambassadors International (AAI) has been calling for implementation of training resources within every big airline across the nation – and why you should, too.
As discussed in a recent news article, aircrew members are often the first line of defense against human trafficking, and if they are each taught to recognize signs of the crime, as well as protocol in handling it, they can effectively cut off a huge avenue of transport for traffickers and their victims.
Every airline that incorporates human trafficking information into their safety training will teach each of its employees what a victim looks like: Is he suffering signs of physical abuse? Does she appear disoriented? Malnourished? Afraid to talk or make eye contact? Is he free to move about, or does it seem like he is under another’s complete control? When a potential victim is identified, properly-trained airline workers will know to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.
But pilots and stewardesses who aren’t familiar with the face of human trafficking won’t even see it, and will unwittingly facilitate her transport into a life of captivity. Imagine the impact on modern-day slavery if all the major airlines in our country were to jump on board with AAI’s vision. Take a moment to encourage those airlines – American Airlines, Continental, Delta, Jet Blue, Southwest and US Airways – to work with AAI and Innocents at Risk in integrating human trafficking materials into their safety training. Tell them how important it is to make this change in aircrew training, to pull airports out of human trafficking’s shadows and into the light.
Photo credit: Aaron Escobar
- CEO, Southwest
Gary C. Kelly
- CEO, JetBlue
- CEO, American Airlines
Gerard J. Arpey
- CEO, Continental
- CEO, Delta
Richard H. Anderson
- CEO, US Airways
I am writing to express support for Airline Ambassadors International's call to include human trafficking resources and information in training materials for airline flight crews.
As discussed recently in our national news, aircrew members are often the first line of defense against human trafficking. And if they are each taught to recognize signs of the crime, as well as protocol in handling it, they can effectively cut off a huge avenue of transport for traffickers and their victims.
Deborah Sigmund, founder of Innocents at Risk, personally witnessed a human trafficking case during flight travel last year, and was able to report and stop the offense before it happened. Noticing that a child’s “caretaker” had to consult his own paperwork in order to relay the boy’s name, she surreptitiously asked the child about his destination – and sadly, he didn’t know. Led to believe he was headed to North Carolina, the boy was actually Florida-bound, with the would-be horror of child pornography in his future.
Drawing on red flags such as these, Sigmund and her organization have developed human trafficking materials expressly for airline safety training. Working with AAI and Innocents at Risk, your airline can easily teach its crews about human trafficking. Pilots and stewardesses will be informed about the crime and what to look for in its victims, knowing to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline if and when they come across a potential case. As a result, countless victims will be spared enslavement, and traffickers will come to understand that airlines in the U.S. will no longer facilitate this terrible crime.
As an airline consumer and concerned citizen, I ask that you please consider this important issue and its easily executable solution by incorporating human trafficking information into aircrew safety training. Thank you for your time.
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