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Press Release: AAAE Offers Human Trafficking Awareness Training and Resources

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2021

Alexandria, Va.  In support of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), the world’s largest professional association for airport personnel, is providing airports and airport-based companies with tools to help prevent human trafficking at their facilities.
“Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and one of the world’s largest criminal enterprises,” said Kyle Herbig, AAAE Vice President, Customer Solutions. “Research estimates more than half of victims will pass through an airport at some point during their exploitation. By supporting airport workers to learn the signs, and what to do should they suspect this activity at their airport, we may be able to save someone’s life.”
Victims of human and sex trafficking are found in communities throughout the United States. The U.S. is ranked among the top countries of origin for trafficked persons, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of people vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. Given these statistics, workers at U.S. airports can play a critical role in preventing this crime. 
AAAE’s Human Trafficking Awareness Resources webpage provides a compilation of information from various sources to help workers at airports learn what to look for and how to respond.
AAAE also has developed two video-based courses covering human trafficking issues such as behaviors and characteristics to look for in different parts of the airport. The course content was curated by Bill Woolf, recipient of the Presidential Medal for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking in Persons and founder of the National Human Trafficking Intelligence Center (NHTIC). These programs were delivered to more than 25,000 airport workers in 2020.
"As a former police detective, I'm aware of the horrific toll that human trafficking takes on victims and families,” Woolf said. “I also know that the best way to prevent trafficking is at its source. Human trafficking often goes undetected because people do not know what the signs are or what to do when they see the signs. This is why education is one of the best ways to prevent and stop trafficking. These trainings empower those in the aviation industry who have suddenly found themselves on the frontlines of the underground world of human trafficking. They save lives and prevent future victims.”
Human trafficking often goes unnoticed in airports. AAAE’s training and resources are designed to educate workers at airports so they recognize key indicators in human trafficking and can report suspicious behavior to authorities. By taking the time to identify and report such behavior, airport employees can help prevent this terrible crime, rescue a victim, or even save a life.
For additional information, contact Kyle Herbig, Vice President, Customer Solutions.

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ABOUT AAAE: Founded in 1928, AAAE is the world's largest professional organization representing the individuals who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE's 9,000 members represent some 875 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program.

Joel D. Bacon
Executive Vice President, Government and Public Affairs