Virginia and Minnesota Senators fight human trafficking on airlines

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) As the busy summer travel season begins, your flight soon could be filling up with eager vacation goers. But two US Senators want airlines to take a second look at who may be in those seats.

“The third biggest area of crime in our country, following drug trafficking and gun trafficking is human trafficking,” Virginia Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) said.

Warner and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are calling for a new effort in Congress to fight human trafficking, in the skies.
“A lot of times what happens is there is a convention somewhere of some kind and they recruit someone usually a girl sometimes a boy and fly them to the convention,” Klobuchar said.

Their bill called the ‘Stop Trafficking on Planes Act’ requires airlines to provide training for flight attendants to recognize and report suspected human trafficking to law enforcement. Klobuchar said the idea came from the flight attendants themselves.

“They started to realize that they’re seeing things that there was something wrong a number of them the pimps tried to recruit them,” Klobuchar added.

The senators said some airlines already have procedures like this in place.

But their bill would require all carriers to provide training for their flight attendants. Warner said too often the victims are children younger than the age of 14.

“I’m the father of three daughters, I can’t imagine the anguish a family would go through to have their son or daughter caught up in sex trafficking,” Warner said.

The Senators believe flight attendants have the power to identify a large number of victims and hope they can bring more human traffickers to justice.

The bill passed in a bipartisan vote of 95-3 in the Senate. It now moves on to the House for approval.