Flight Attendants Fighting Trafficking

Last month, Amanda wrote about how truckers are first line defenders against trafficking. Well, now flight attendants are stepping up to stop human trafficking.

While many people are trafficked across borders by trucks, buses, and boats, many others are taken far from their homes by plane. Experts have identified ways to spot potential victims of trafficking that flight attendants can use if they notice suspicious passengers on their flights.

As VOA News reports, flight attendants for major airlines are learning how to identify possible cases of trafficking on their flights and what to do about it. Educational materials and a hotline have been organized by the group Innocents at Risk to help flight attendants understand what they can do. Flight attendant Sandra Fiorini notes that local authorities were often unresponsive to calls from flight attendants in the past, but a new hotline established by Innocents at Risk helps ensure their reports are investigated. Law enforcement officials even wait at the gate for the flight to arrive if a flight attendant has called in to report a potential trafficking case.

It’s exciting to see flight attendants working on a grassroots level to educate their own co-workers about trafficking. In addition, there is a lot that airlines can do on a corporate level to show their commitment to ending trafficking. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility has been organizing socially responsible investors to get airline companies to commit to instituting policies to combat trafficking. There has already been a lot of discussion about the role that hotel companies can play in identifying trafficking and child prostitution, but airlines can also contribute by stopping the trafficking process before the victims reach their destination.

Mobilizing workers in the transportation industry is an important tool for stopping human trafficking: they are well placed to observe and report trafficking while it is in progress. But local authorities also need to be in communication with flight attendants and others in the transportation industry and must have the will to actually follow up on their reports. Only then will their joint efforts have a real impact.

Check out the report on flight attendants from VOA News:

Photo credit: JanneM

source:  http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/flight_attendants_fighting_trafficking

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