Recognising the strategic role that airlines can play in combatting human trafficking, the third most lucrative crime in the world, the OHCHR and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) are working together to develop guidelines for airline operators to train cabin crews in identifying and reporting trafficked individuals.
“Cabin crewmembers are in a unique situation where they can observe passengers over a certain period of time, allowing them to use their observation skills to identify a potential victim of trafficking,” the document reads.
In an interview with UN News, Youla Haddadin, Advisor on Trafficking in Persons with OHCHR, said cabin crew and flight attendants develop strong observation skills and the jointly-developed guidelines can draw on those skills and provide cabin crew with the reporting and response procedures if they are faced with a potential trafficking situation.
“[The indicators] can be used when [cabin crew] crew are trying to identify potential victims or persons accompanying them.” They should observe for a period of time and collect information [while following the principle of] ‘do no harm’ – ensuring that a potential victim is not further jeopardized and ensuring their own safety and that of other passengers, she explained.
This news comes at a time when airlines are increasingly asserting a leadership role in the identification and prevention of human trafficking, with American Airlines recently joining The Code and becoming a partner of ECPAT-USA.