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(REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

Modern day slavery

How airline attendants are trained to spot human trafficking

By WITW Staff on January 18, 2016

Two million women and children are victims of human trafficking each year, and airline employees are the first line of defense for protecting those being trafficked on major flights each day. In an op-ed for Mashable, airline attendant Heather Poole explains how American Airlines flight attendant Sandra Fiorini, after testifying to congress about not having anyone to report to in order to prevent human trafficking, joined forces with Deborah Sigmund, founder of nonprofit group Innocents at Risk. Thanks to Fiorini and Sigmund, airline employees now receive education and training to identify and prevent human trafficking, and can report violations using a special hotline.

Human trafficking, the second fastest growing crime in the world, brings in an estimated $150  billion each year. Poole says flight attendants have volunteered with the police at recent Super Bowls, and that each year people have been arrested for human trafficking at the event. In her town, Redondo Beach, there are 88 searchable massage parlors on Yelp in a wealthy town whose radius covers six miles. Many of them are fronts for prostitution, and some of the employees may be trafficked women serving as sex slaves. If they knew the signs, says Poole, people would realize that human trafficking isn’t something that happens elsewhere, but rather right underneath their noses.

Read the full story at Mashable.