Washington D.C. (February 2, 2016) — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) today praised the introduction of the Secure Our Skies Act to fight human trafficking with proper training for aviation workers, led by U.S. Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV-01) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10).
“As aviation’s first responders we are charged with the safety, health and security of the passengers in our care,” said AFA International President Sara Nelson. “Traffickers steal lives. But for a window of time, we can see it and report it. Millions of innocent victims are trafficked throughout the world each year, and many are transported on our planes. We are proud to work with Representatives Titus and Comstock to move this important legislation to reality in our workplace. With proper training we can be 100,000 eyes in skies saving lives.”
The bill requires training for flight attendants, pilots and dispatchers of air carriers to to identify and report human trafficking.
“Human trafficking doesn’t happen just on the ground. That’s why members of the airline industry are in a strong position to help stop these crimes,” said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV-01). “The SOS Act will close off the skies to traffickers by providing training to professionals who know their way around aircraft. I thank the nation’s flight attendants for their commitment to fighting these heinous crimes. They know we have to spot the signs to stop the crimes.”
The infrastructure and training mechanisms are already in place through the Department of Transportation’s Blue Lightning Initiative, launched almost three years ago on June 6, 2013. Blue Lightning teaches airline personnel on a voluntary basis about common circumstances with human trafficking in order to recognize and report these instances to law enforcement for swift action. AFA launched a public campaign on June 1, 2015 to promote the provisions of the SOS Act.
“It is critical that we are ever vigilant in the fight against the heinous crime of human trafficking,” said Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10). “Every day, flight attendants see and interact with children on the thousands of flights across our country and throughout the world. They are the eyes and ears in this constant battle, and this legislation will give them the tools to save the most vulnerable in our society and fight this terrible scourge. I want to thank Congresswoman Titus for working in a bipartisan manner on this important legislation.”
“Everyone immediately recognizes the horror of human trafficking, but we must turn our outrage into concrete action to stop it,” Nelson concluded.