What do hundreds of flight attendants, thousands of under-age prostitutes and the Super Bowl all have in common? Dallas. On Sunday they’re all traveling to Texas. American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta, United, and Qantas hope to help stop human traffickers from pimping out women and children by holding training sessions that will enable flight attendants volunteering their time on the ground to help spot signs of trafficking. According to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot in an article posted by Reuters, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest human trafficking events in the United States. During the previous two Super Bowls fifty girls were rescued. This year with authorities, child welfare advocates, and the airline industry all collaborating to fight under-age sex crimes, even more lives could be saved.
How did the airlines even come to be involved in human trafficking? It all started with Sandra Fiorini, an American Airlines flight attendant based in Chicago. Because of Fiorini flight attendants now know what to look for and who to call if they see something suspicious on board a flight. This after Fiorini tried to report a situation and no one responded. It involved an eighteen year-old boy on a six-hour flight carrying a newborn infant with its umbilical cord still attached. No wife. Just one bottle of milk and two diapers stuck inside his pocket. In 2007 Fiorini met Deborah Sigmund, founder of the organization Innocents at Risk, and soon they began working together with airline employees to become the first line of defense against human trafficking.
Flight attendants aren’t the only ones who can help. There are more frequent fliers now than ever before. Passengers should also be aware of what to look for while traveling.
1. Someone who doesn’t have control over his/her own identification
2. Someone who has few to no possessions.
3. Someone who is not allowed to speak for themselves, or is made to speak through a translator
4. Someone who isn’t sure of where he or she lives or is or has no sense of time
5. Someone who avoids eye contact or appears fearful, anxious, tense, depressed, nervous, submissive.
6. Someone who rarely is allowed to come and go independently and may be accompanied by someone who controls their every movement
7. Someone who may be dressed inappropriately regardless of weather conditions.
Number to call
Human Trafficking Hot line 1-888-373-7888.
(Don’t wait until it’s too late. Put that number in your cell phone now!)
There are more slaves today than any other time in human history. A person can be sold several times a day for many years, opposed to drugs that can only be sold once. Because of this human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, only second behind drug trafficking. It generates 32 billion annually for organized crime. Each year two million women and children become victims. 300,000 children within the United States are being trafficked each year. Most are forced into a life of prostitution and pornography in large urban areas such as Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Florida. If it can happen on my flight, it can happen on yours. Open your eyes. Get involved. Write that number down!
Photo courtesy of The Consumerist