Recognizing the signs of human trafficking, high up in the air

The story of an Alaska Airlines flight attendant who saves a teenage girl from human trafficking has made national headlines, and that has also raised awareness on the issue, which happens more often than one might think.

Flight attendants around the country are trained to recognize the signs of human trafficking, and it is standard training for those wanting to become a flight attendant.

"Who would have told me 29 years ago, when I first stepped into this profession that we'd be trained on human trafficking?" said Michael Broadhead, who is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines.

Approximately two years ago, training for new hires and current staff members were implemented. The training was designed to teach the trainees what to look out for. Staff members are reportedly required to undergo annual training.

"It's run under two different modules," said Broadhead. "There is an instructor-led discussion, as well as an online section that we do. We are schooled and trained on the signs to recognize. There's a list of things that you can do to recognize."

"The child who is trapped in the situation is going to be very quiet, very distant," said Shanna Parker. "The older person will often be the one who answers for them, even if you ask a question to that child or that youth."

Parker was a victim of sex trafficking from 13 until 18. She said the training for flight attendants is crucial, and will save lives. Parker said since victims are usually taken to different cities for big events, airlines are on the front line.

"It crucial that that training get out to the public, especially those who are coming in contact with these young girls and young boys on a daily basis," said Parker.

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