As covered in the May edition of Air Line Pilot magazine, human trafficking has been identified as the world’s fastest-growing criminal activity, second only to the sale and transport of illegal drugs. It’s an uncomfortable topic, but one that deserves our attention. As pilots, we may see victims of this crime out in the open on our aircraft and, with proper training, we may be able to help.

What exactly is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transport, provision or obtaining of a person by force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.” The most prevalent form is sex trafficking, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion.

What to Look For

Our work environment places us in some of the world’s busiest transportation hubs. While we don’t get as much face-to-face interaction with our customers as some workgroups, we can still be alert for indicators that a person may not be traveling on their own free will. We encourage pilots to review chapter 11 in the FOM which has specific guidance.

What to Do and What NOT to Do

The safety of the victim, other passengers and yourself is of the utmost importance. The FOM provides the best guidance on what actions should and should not be taken.

Additional Resources

Delta has committed to joining the fight against human trafficking and has already trained 54,000 of our fellow employees on what to watch for and how to help. To learn more about how the Company fights against human trafficking, see what you can do to help and access more resources, visit Deltanet > Company > Marketing > Delta Force for Global Good > Join The Fight For Human Trafficking.

The United States government has started a program known as “Blue Lightning” to help train aviation personnel to identify potential traffickers and their victims, and how to report them to US law enforcement personnel. For more information, visit the Custom and Border Enforcement website to learn about the Blue Lightning campaign.