Thursday, 10 February 2011
It was so special to be honored by the Rotary, Gift of Life Foundation Gala and receive a beautiful airplane in pure crystal that symbolizes to me how we bring light and love around the world. AAI helped Gift of life transport 37 children from El Salvador last June for life saving heart surgeries. Last month we broke all monthly records utilizing AA's Miles for Kids in Need and transported 44 children. One of these was a Haitian girl, Lovely Adjuste, who received surgery in New York. She will return to Haiti next week escorted by our first Airline Ambassadors Rotary mission! George Solomon and team will escort Lovely home, and then travel to La Gonave providing solar panels, clean water and refurbishing the surgical clinic. Like light shining through a crystal, the good just keeps increasing!
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
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.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Monday, AAI coordinated with Deena Graves of Traffick911 to train over 50 flight attendants on human trafficking. Attendees learned how to recognize and report cases of human trafficking. The trainers also discussed topics like how traffickers control their victims, and the dangers of confronting a potential trafficker.
For those who missed the training, never confront a potential trafficker. If you suspect there may be a trafficking situation in flight, tell the pilot to call dispatch with a detailed description of the situation and the people involved. Dispatch will then contact the appropriate ground authorities, which may be ICE, FBI, and/or local police. Once you've landed, call the national human trafficking hotline: 888-3737-888 and report the situation.
If you see a potential trafficking situation on the ground, again, never confront a potential trafficker. Ask for a TSA Behavior Detection Officer and inform airport police.
Please add your name to our campaign to make human trafficking part of standard training for flight attendants. Sign on to our Change.org petition here.
Keep your eyes peeled for announcements of future trainings!