The world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, has been home to a human trafficking exhibit this summer. Considering that many trafficking victims are transported via airports, raising awareness can help the average traveller to spot warning signs.
Here are a few things to look for that may point to someone being trafficked:
- They seem nervous to talk to anyone (even to engage in small talk), and seek “permission” from the person they are with to interact with others
- They can’t provide details about their destination, where they came from, or other flight information
- Their movement in the airport or on a flight seems controlled and monitored
- They are not dressed properly for travel, or are in clothes that appear ill-fitting
For more warning signs, read this CNN article, which also includes a video about trafficking in airports.
- If you notice something is suspicious, do not confront it yourself (as this could be dangerous for you as well as the potential victim) – Contact emergency services or the airport authorities.
- A friend of ours once noticed some warning sings while she was on a flight, prompting her to take action:
“Once I was on an airplane with a young guy who was in a situation that really felt wrong to me. He had loads of cash, hardly spoke English, kept saying he was visiting friends but knew nothing about them, and had an address to where he was supposed to take a taxi – which was a random industrial area in the city.
I talked to the flight attendant and I think she thought I was crazy. So I wrote on his custom card that he needed help because he didn’t speak English.”
- Not everyone who portrays one of these signs is a victim of human trafficking, but it’s good to keep your eyes open and alert someone who can investigate wisely
- The human trafficking hotline in the U.S. is 1-888-373-7888 (Canada: 1-866-528-7109)