The training was a huge success. We trained over 50 attendees, including flight attendants, TSA officers, and hotel personnel. Traffick911 gave a great training, and attendees left feeling they had a better sense for how to recognize and respond to cases of human trafficking they encounter in their everyday lives.
Together we discussed what the airlines could do to prevent human trafficking. An idea that came up several times was to add human trafficking training to the already existing terrorism training, and to develop a standard procedure for flight attendants, pilots, dispatch, and other personnel to follow in cases of suspected human trafficking.
The training was blogged about on Free the Slaves' blog! Check it out: Airlines Should Be on Frontline of Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts
After the training ended, I spent the rest of the week at the Command Center, a building that had been generously provided for our use during our outreach campaign. Unfortunately, the snow prevented us from going out as much as planned, but we kept busy despite that. We spent our days scrubbing the web, looking at the pictures on escort ads, saving the ones that looked underage, and comparing them to pictures of missing children. Through that work, we were able to tip off the police, leading to the rescue of two children. I must admit, it was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever done, looking at pictures of children, some of them badly beaten and bruised, for sale.
When the weather was clear enough, we took to the streets for our business outreach efforts. We went to hotels, 7-11’s—anywhere the staff was likely to come in contact with potential victims of human trafficking. We showed them pictures of missing kids and asked if they’d seen them. We then encouraged them to keep the posters, and explained that we believed some of these children may have been brought to Dallas by child sex traffickers. We gave them a list of indicators that sex trafficking might be happening in their hotel, and asked them to keep an eye out. Overall, the businesses we approached were very receptive.
This past week was an incredible experience. I have been indirectly involved in fighting human trafficking for ten years. This week, I was part of a direct effort that freed two children. I know it is something I will never forget.