Editor’s comment: A line in the sand

Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

According to the International Labour Organization, 24.9 million people are living in modern slavery, over 75% of whom are women and children. That’s the equivalent of the combined populations of Singapore, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

At the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting in June 2018, a resolution denouncing human trafficking was passed.

As Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, acknowledged: “Aviation is the business of freedom, flying 4 billion people to every corner of the earth last year alone. Some, however, try to use our networks nefariously. Trafficking in people creates misery for millions, and funds criminal gangs and terrorism. As a responsible industry, our members are determined to help authorities stamp out human trafficking.”

The resolution also committed to a number of issues including the sharing of best practices among airlines, and a commitment to train relevant operational staff with the objective of identifying potential trafficking situations and taking appropriate action that does not compromise the safety of the victim.

In late 2017, Delta partnered with anti-trafficking organisation, Polaris, through a US$1 million sponsorship that will support the organisation’s activities, including the US National Human Trafficking Hotline.

On this year’s Human Trafficking Awarness Day on 11 January, more than 800 Delta employees rallied against human trafficking with CEO Ed Bastian; celebrity activist Terry Crews; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris; and Megan Lundstrom, trafficking survivor and founder of Free Our Girls.

“Our mission is to bring the world together, to make the world a better place and to connect people. How we are doing that is by bringing humanity back to flying. And I can’t think of a more important role of humanity than to save those who are in harm’s way,” Bastian said.

Bastian has also called on other corporate leaders from top companies to join the fight, hosting “CEO Roundtables” at Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta, amplifying the mission and leading major corporations to develop their own strategies to #GetOnBoard.

“Trafficking is a dark topic – but, in the darkness, there is massive opportunity for 80,000 Delta people, hand-in-hand with our 200 million customers, to drive change and ultimately save lives,” said Allison Ausband, senior vice-president In-Flight Service. “With over 56,000 employees trained to identify trafficking indicators, we are introducing a customer-awareness campaign that will unite us all – sending a clear message to traffickers that they are not welcome on our planes or in our airports.

“Our commitment is a consistent, dedicated drumbeat until each person is set free: we’re all in and we don’t waver,” said Ausband.


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