Hotels, Airlines Work to Stop Human Trafficking

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    infoZine - Scripps Howard Foundation Wire - A flight attendant noticed the strange exchange and alerted law enforcement officials, who stopped the man before he left the airport. Thanks to the flight attendant, a human trafficking ring was busted.

    Similar incidents have taken place on flights from Ukraine to Chicago. Last week, flight attendants reported a potential human trafficking operation on a flight from Zurich to Chicago involving 30 young girls.

    Such events are commonplace, said Nancy Rivard of Airline Ambassadors International, which works to prevent modern slavery transportation on commercial airlines. The group trains flight attendants and pilots about how to spot potential traffickers and how to respond.

    She is not alone in this mission.

    Advocates to combat human trafficking through private-sector initiatives outlined their efforts to fight forced labor and sexual slavery Monday before the House Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act needs to be reauthorized, and the hearing was to show support for it. The act calls for strict penalties for those convicted of human trafficking in the U.S. and allows for sanctions against countries that “tolerate or condone” such activities.

    “We know that organized crime, street gangs and pimps have expanded into sex trafficking at an alarming rate,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who introduced the current law and chairs the subcommittee. “It is an extremely lucrative undertaking.”

    The latest version of the law first enacted in 2000 established the Trafficking in Persons Report, which ranks countries’ efforts to stop modern slavery.

    Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large and director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, testified that the TIP Report led many developing nations to put prevention, prosecution and victim protection measures in place.

    “Leaders in Africa, Latin America and around the world credited the report as a motivating factor for their actions as governments,” he said. He encouraged government leaders to “get out on the road and see these people for yourselves.”

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