Officials say airports are new front in human trafficking


Anti-trafficking advocates and Bay Area prosecutors and congresspersons said Tuesday that airports are an important new front in combating human trafficking and rescuing victims.

Speaking at a news conference at the Oakland International Airport, Betty Ann Boeving of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition said airport personnel, airline workers and passengers need to be aware that human traffickers use airports to transport their victims around the world.

Boeving said cases have been documented in which traffickers have misrepresented themselves as sports coaches, employers, and family members of trafficked victims.

She said airport personnel at ticket counters, gates and other areas of airport operations are in a unique position to identify potential victims and report potential incidents to law enforcement agencies, in order to rescue victims and bring traffickers to justice.

"Airline employees need to send a message to human traffickers that they're not welcome to do business in the Bay Area," Boeving said.

The news conference was followed by a training session for airport staff to teach them how to recognize and address suspected human trafficking at the airport.

Similar training was conducted at the San Francisco airport in March 2012 and at the San Jose airport in January, Boeving said.

Deborah Flint, the Oakland airport's director of aviation, said, "Human trafficking is a global problem that needs local solutions. We can end human trafficking in our region if we know what to look for."

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said human trafficking is "the fastest-growing criminal enterprise globally" and described it as "modern day slavery."

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said, "Sex trafficking and human trafficking is big business in this country and region and it's high time that we got serious about eradicating it."

Speier said the message that needs to be sent to airport workers and airline employees and passengers is, "If you see something, say something" to the appropriate authorities.

Boeving said people who see something suspicious should call the trafficking hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said that in addition to forcing people to engage in the sex trade, human traffickers force people to work in agriculture and other lines of work and also keep them in debt bondage.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said the campaign to raise awareness at airports and on airplanes "is a tremendous asset in fighting human trafficking."

O'Malley said, "In our neighborhoods and our businesses we need to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement and humanity" in combating trafficking.

Boeving said, "People need to know what human trafficking victims look like at an airport."

She said possible clues are people who aren't dressed appropriately, such as wearing warm weather clothes when traveling to a cold weather destination, and passengers who don't know their destination.

"Airline employees are essential" to helping fight human trafficking, Boeving said.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Rick James
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Apr 16, 2014 at 7:11 am

This article had validity and interest until Barbara Lee was quoted. I do not take race baiters seriously. She has zero validity among many in the Bay Area. One of Al Sharpton's little maids.

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 16, 2014 at 9:18 am

Yes I agree with Rick James...Barbara Lee is a Racist. She always was and she always will be. And Al Sharpton is no better...

But folks I blame we the people of the great nation for there existence in the political arena..

The white guilt of this Nation better wake up...If you don't you may see and on the planet of the Ape's...Don't laugh folks. someone in Hollywood saw the writing on the wall.

Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini from beautiful Alamo

Like this comment
Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Apr 16, 2014 at 10:11 am

Julia - You linked written commentary on U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the thoughts of someone using the nom de plume Rick James…RICK JAMES…and a warning to those of the Caucasian persuasion to either "wake up" from their "white guilt" or risk a "planet of the Apes (sic)" apocalypse? ARE YOU MAD, off a prescribed therapeutic regime or just so bigoted that you have stopped thinking about what you are spewing forth?

Without compare, your last 'offering' was just Super Freak(y).

Like this comment
Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Apr 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm

My neice volunteers her time with a non profit organization that assists young girls and women to get their lives back after being victimized by human trafficking. Regardless of your politics, this issue is heartbreaking and is on the rise. A four year old was recently rescued from this terror in the Philippines. Please avoid discounting the severity of this rising, tragic crime because you don't care for the messenger.

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 21, 2014 at 11:18 am

Dear Conservator, If you can not stand hearing or seeing the truth, just put plugs in your ears and blinder over your eye's. But don't complain when you remove those blind folds an see what I predicted.

Thanks for listening and responding, that's what makes the Danville Express interesting. Thanks again, Julia Pardini from Alamo

Like this comment
Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Dear Julia,

What pray tell did you predict? Could it just be the 'guilt' you foretold? Please explain. Your words bring so much more intrigue then truth could ever provide.

By the way, thank-you for following me. You make my every day that much more fulfilled.

Your 'friend', Conservator.

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

My dear friend Conservator...I predict most everything that happens.

How's that for an ego...:-)

And thank you for following me...

Julia Pardini, great to live in Alamo

Like this comment
Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Apr 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Yet again, another day 'fulfilled'.

By the way, don't egos have a shelf life?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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