Flight Attendants Can Help Fight Against Human Trafficking – Take Action Now

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Last year the highest governing body of our union, the AFA Board of Directors, unanimously passed a resolution committing to educate members on ways to end human trafficking and to partner with other transportation leaders to achieve our goal.

Airlines Ambassadors, a non-profit organization affiliated with the United Nations, has begun an online petition designed to pressure all airlines, transportation and hospitality companies to incorporate awareness training for their employees and give them tools to recognize and report suspected human trafficking offenses. AFA supports this petition for action from our airlines and encourages you to sign on.

Sign the Petition > AFA is encouraging the airline industry to adopt training that will help us, aviation’s first responders, to identify, report and stop human trafficking in its tracks.

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of forced labor or commercial prostitution. Victims are found in legitimate and illegitimate labor industries, including sweatshops, massage parlors, agricultural fields, restaurants, hotels and domestic service. These involuntary acts of servitude also force minors to engage in commercial acts of sex.

Human trafficking is a global problem that touches every country in the world. Across the globe, more than 20 million men, women and children – including right here in our own cities and small communities across America – are held against their will. More than half of trafficking victims are female (55%), while 26% of all forced labor victims are children.

So what can be done? In 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the Blue Campaign, a first of its kind initiative to coordinate and enhance the department’s anti-human trafficking efforts.  Programs from the DHS component agencies combat human trafficking and the Blue Campaign coordinates and unites this work by collaborating with partners across government, law enforcement, and the private sector to combat human trafficking.

The Blue Lightning program is the airline arm of this valuable program. It provides U.S. commercial airlines and their employees a voluntary mechanism to identify suspected human trafficking victims and notify federal authorities. Participating airlines train their employees using the Blue Lightning Initiative materials and are encouraged to institute its recommended reporting procedures.  The training includes a human trafficking awareness curriculum designed to assist Flight Attendants in identifying when an event may be occurring onboard their flight.

While the Blue Lighting program is an invaluable resource to Flight Attendants, it is a voluntary one, and airline managements have been slow to sign on and incorporate its worthy lessons into our training or in-flight manuals. AFA strongly advocates that management at each carrier within our union, incorporate training and procedures around the issue of human trafficking. Flight Attendants are uniquely positioned to recognize and report potential incidents of human trafficking. With proper training, we can save the lives of countless innocent victims.   

Sign the petition at: http://airlineamb.org/2014/11/06/sign-our-petition/#.VFzrI_nF-So

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