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The Travel Industry Adopts Policies and Practices to Help Combat a Global Crisis

by Eugenia Lazaris

Jun 13, 2024

PHOTO: © CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF AVIATION

June 2024

PHOTO: © CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF AVIATION

The illegal transport of humans for forced labor or sexual exploration takes many forms, and victims are often taken from their homeland to keep them dependent on their captors. The result is a modern-day form of slavery, with devastating effects on populations around the world.

A 2021 White House report estimated human trafficking affects more than 25 million people globally, with an estimated $150 billion in ill-gotten profits each year. Victims represent all age groups, walks of life and regions of the world.

Airports are crucial in combating human trafficking, and organizations such as Los Angeles World Airports, which manages Los Angeles International and Van Nuys airports, and the Chicago Department of Aviation, which operates O’Hare International and Midway International airports, provide excellent examples of the travel industry’s stance.

All LAWA staff receive extensive training to recognize human trafficking and to approach victims safely and with dignity. Informational videos are looped through waiting areas, and multilingual signage posted throughout includes a QR code that, when scanned, sends a distress text to the LAX Police. Victims receive immediate resources such as a safe trip home or a temporary place to stay while a permanent solution is found.

“Los Angeles World Airports is committed to reducing the incidences of human trafficking in our airports and has implemented robust measures to do so,” said Cecil W. Rhambo, Jr., Los Angeles Airport Police Chief. “We are actively collaborating with partners on mandatory training, employee education programs and in-terminal messaging to raise awareness of this deplorable crime so that employees and the public know to look out for the signs and possible victims of human trafficking and to feel empowered to report any suspicious activity.”

Working to combat human trafficking for nearly a decade, CDA trains Aviation Security Officers to identify potential victims and to intervene safely and effectively. International terminals, where most human trafficking victims pass through, display blue lighting as a sign of the city’s commitment to fighting the problem. Signs throughout airports post instructions for a simple hand signal victims can use to request emergency intervention from airport employees.

“We stand firm against human trafficking in our city. Human trafficking is a despicable crime that preys upon the vulnerable and exploits their rights and dignity. Together we will continue to raise awareness, provide support to survivors, and hold perpetrators accountable to ensure that Chicago remains a city where everyone can thrive free from exploitation and coercion,” said Umi Grigsby, Chief of Policy, Office of the Mayor of Chicago.

Inside Travel Group Limited, which operates InsideJapan Tours and InsideAsia Tours, adopts a zero-tolerance approach evident in its internal practices as well as its supply chain. In addition to employee awareness training, ITG works strictly with suppliers that demonstrate compliance with the Modern Slavery Act of 2015. In addition, ITG’s whistleblowing policy encourages employees to confidentially speak up regarding potential human trafficking incidents, ensuring safety for victims and those working to protect them.

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