As thousands of people make their way to Miami for the Super Bowl this week, airports across the country are highlighting Human Trafficking Awareness Month as a way for passengers to be vigilant in looking for signs of someone in need of rescue.
“Florida is a state with the third-highest rate of per-capita calls regarding human trafficking, so we thought it was important to teach our employees on the indicators of human trafficking,” said Indira Pardillo, a public relations official at Miami International Airport.
“I want all employees at the airports to be vigilant, especially now that the Super Bowl is coming. The Super Bowl is considered one of the biggest human trafficking events, so it's important for all of our employees to know, in-depth, the indicators,” Pardillo said.
"It's a nationwide initiative being pushed forward by the TSA and it's exactly that if you see something, say something," said Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport Director Marty Piette in a recent article. "Specifically we are talking about human trafficking."
Reno-Tahoe International Airport Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs Brian Kulpin said his airport implemented a safe place program in August 2019 where airport employees have to brush up on their human trafficking prevention training every two years.
"We're only the second airport to do that and we want to let you know if there's an issue there are professional people here who wear these badges that are ready to step in and help you with anything you may need," said Kulpin.
"Many of the stereotypes we think of when we're dealing with these kind of cases really don't hold up very well to the reality of it," said Michael Hickok, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI. "That's one of the things about keeping your mind open with things you're seeing that make you uncomfortable. There's probably a reason for that."
JFK Airport’s Terminal 4 participated in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Blue Campaign, #WearBlueDay on January 11, 2020, to spread awareness for human trafficking with an event in the terminal.
“Homeland Security Investigations is excited to work with JFKIAT to raise awareness around National Human Trafficking Awareness Day,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, special agent in charge for HSI New York. “We are appreciative of JFKIAT’s willingness to participate in an important campaign and hope to work together to heighten conversations with them around #WearBlueDay and other significant causes in the future.”
AAAE also participated in #WearBlueDay. Staff wore blue to work from and posted to social media throughout the day to highlight awareness. AAAE recently introduced a new resource page and human trafficking awareness training to help people identify the signs of human trafficking as they travel.