The Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal. VINO WONG
Photo: Vino Wong
Photo: Vino Wong

Delta draws attention to signs of human trafficking

Delta Air Lines has launched a new in-flight video focused on how to spot human trafficking.

The video is part of the airline’s broader effort to help fight sexual exploitation and forced labor. Already, the company has trained 56,000 of its employees on signs to watch for on flights or in airports.

The video began airing this month as one of the choices on Delta’s in-flight entertainment system and will run through February. The airline is working to raise awareness of human trafficking with the Super Bowl coming to Atlanta.

“It is a global issue,” said Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service Allison Ausband, who oversees flight attendants. “With our reach [with international routes], we have the opportunity to make a difference.”

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A 2017 report released at the U.N. estimated that there are nearly 25 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. An Urban Institute study found that 71 percent of the victims trafficked to the United States arrived on a flight.

On Friday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former NFL player Terry Crews and others will host an event at the Delta Flight Museum for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Megan Lundstrom, a human trafficking survivor, will share her experience and talk about “pimp-controlled victims” in air travel. Delta has also offered apprenticeships to human trafficking survivors to help get them back on their feet.

The airline educates its employees on the signs of human trafficking and how to report concerns to the airline’s operations center. The center then refers the information to Polaris, which runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline and is sponsored by Delta.

“There are multiple layers of checks and balances in that process,” Ausband said.

Sometimes, mistakes are made. In 2017, Delta reported a possible case of human trafficking, but the supposed victim turned out to be a Lawrenceville resident flying back from a birthday trip in Cancun.

“We certainly always want to err on the side of safety,” Ausband said. There’s always a chance the airline could be wrong, she said, “but what if we’re right?”

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