Huntsville International Airport works to stop human trafficking

Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 at 11:16 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Employees at the Huntsville International Airport are trained to spot the signs of human trafficking, and now they’re working to make sure you can too.

The airport is partnering with the Junior League of Huntsville for this new project.

Debra Powell with the Junior League of Huntsville said usually people picture a white van with a sign that reads free candy when they hear human trafficking, but that’s not always the case. Instead, especially in North Alabama familial trafficking is a big issue. This type of trafficking is where someone sells a member of their own family.

“The state of Alabama happens to be a high traffic zone for human trafficking,” Powell said. “The I-20 corridor between Atlanta and Birmingham is the human trafficking superhighway of the United States.”

There is something airport employees are on the lookout for. Cooper Jacob with Huntsville International Airport said employees are trained using the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign Protocol ‘If you See Something, Say Something’.

“You know your work environment better than anyone else,” Jacob said talking about employees on shift. “If you see something out of the ordinary, if you see someone out of the ordinary, you have to say something.

That training kicked in a few months ago to save a victim.

“It was from our employees just being aware of a situation,” Jacob said. “Something just looked off and they were walking back to the office and so they were able to take care of this possible situation.”

Now, Powell said the last piece of the puzzle is in place as bathrooms now have warning signs posted and a help hotline.

“For people that are being trafficked, being in that stall is the one point and time that they might be alone and away from their captor,” Powell said.

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