You might not realize it, but business travelers are in a unique position to be a line of defense in one of the world’s greatest tragedies: the crime of human trafficking. Because of the element of travel, the world of the business traveler and human trafficking victims overlap in surprising number of areas. Due to our significant time spent in airports, we are uniquely equipped to identify when something “isn’t quite right” with other travelers. Doing so requires us to take a few moments to look up from our mobile phone or laptop and notice what’s happening around us. In this way, each of us can have an impact in the fight against human trafficking as a global community.
Taking the steps listed below will help you determine if the person sitting next to you in the airport or on your flight is possibly a victim or participant in human trafficking.
Airline Ambassadors International provides the following indicators that may indicate an individual is being trafficked:
- Has few personal items when checking in or boarding a flight
- Is accompanied by someone who is much more nicely dressed
- Avoids eye contact or exhibits paranoia
- Is unusually submissive to the person(s) accompanying them
- Is not allowed to speak for themselves if directly addressed, with someone else insisting on answering or translating for them
- Does not appear to know where they are or where they are going
- Does not have the freedom to separate themselves from the person or people accompanying them
- Exhibits signs of physical abuse
- Appears to be malnourished or ravenously eats in-flight food
- Exhibits fear of uniformed security personnel
- Speaks of a “modeling” job or similar without knowing who will be meeting them.
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