Combating Human Trafficking; 100,000 Eyes in the Sky

The Stop Trafficking on Planes Act would require training for certain airline industry employees to recognize and report human trafficking; the legislation builds on voluntary efforts to encourage airline personnel to report trafficking to law enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mark Warner (D-VA) have introduced legislation to combat human trafficking on commercial air flights. The Stop Trafficking on Planes (STOP) Act would require training for certain airline industry employees to recognize and report suspected human trafficking to law enforcement. The legislation builds on the voluntary Blue Lightening Initiative currently administered by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation. This bill has been endorsed by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and a companion version of the bill has been introduced in the House by Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA).

“Flight attendants and other airline employees are on the front lines in the battle against trafficking. They want to help, and we need to arm them with the tools they need to identify and report these heinous crimes,” Klobuchar said. “Trafficking is now the third largest criminal enterprise in the world. As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen firsthand the horror and violence women and children suffer as victims of human trafficking. We need to step up efforts to stop trafficking wherever it exists – on land, at sea and in the sky. I look forward to working with Senator Warner and airline workers to advance this important bill.”

“Flight attendants are our eyes in the sky and are uniquely positioned to play a key role in fighting this scourge. By training flight attendants and airline employees to spot and report human trafficking, we can help save victims and bring to justice those committing this heinous crime,” Warner said. “This bill will improve coordination and utilize infrastructure already in place to allow our airlines and our law enforcement to better combat human trafficking.”

“Everyone recognizes the horror of human trafficking, but we must turn our outrage into action,” stated Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. “We commend Senator Klobuchar and Senator Warner for introducing this legislation that will allow us to stop traffickers from using our skyways as a means to transport innocents to a life of slavery. Trained Flight Attendants can serve as 100,000 eyes in the skies to save lives by recognizing and reporting signs of trafficking. The infrastructure already exists in aviation, we just have to tap into it so law enforcement can achieve justice for the victims.”

“Polaris is grateful for the leadership of Senators Klobuchar and Warner to combat human trafficking. We believe this legislation is an important step to ensure that individuals likely to encounter modern slavery in their daily work are trained to identify and respond to the crime appropriately,” said Polaris.

Klobuchar is a national leader in the fight to combat human trafficking. Her bipartisan legislation, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, was signed into law last May. The legislation was modeled after Minnesota’s “Safe Harbor” law, which gives incentives for all states to have a safe harbor provision to help ensure minors who are sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims. When a state passes a safe harbor law, it means that kids sold for sex should be steered towards child protection services, rather than being arrested, charged, or convicted under a state’s criminal laws. In addition to law enforcement provisions, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act helps victims rebuild their lives by using fines and penalties against perpetrators to improve the availability of victim services.

http://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/news-releases?ID=C405E3A2-925B-4EBC-8887-0CBE2C1EB8AF

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