by Ronnie Charrier
A 2017 report released at the U.N. estimated that there are nearly 25 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. An Urban Institute study found that 71 percent of the victims trafficked to the United States arrived on a flight. In Atlanta, home of Delta Airlines, trafficking has consistently climbed, from 98 reported cases in 2012 to 276 in 2017, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
With the Super Bowl coming to Atlanta in less than a month, and with the city estimating the event will draw over 1 million visitors, Delta Air Lines has launched a new campaign focused on how to spot human trafficking. Working with anti-human trafficking experts Polaris, the campaign asks customers to #GetOnBoard and includes enhanced signage in airports along with their new video that will be shown on all Delta flights with seatback screens throughout the month of January.
While the company has already taken huge steps since 2011 to train it’s employees on signs to watch for on flights or in airports, the increase in visitors to Atlanta and on Delta flights has provided an opportunity to shine a light on this unpleasant, but important topic, says Allison Ausband, S.V.P. In-Flight Service.
“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. 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.”
The airline intentionally chose to feature the campaign on its in-flight entertainment systems to "heighten customers' awareness of a scenario potentially transpiring in the row in front of them," according to a press release. It also provides the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, a resource for victims and the community alike to report tips of human trafficking or access support, which Delta supported with a $1M commitment.
Customers have the chance to join the fight by donating miles through Polaris using Delta’s Skywish program at Delta.com. The miles fly victims home, to safety, or to receive critical care and legal services. The program has provided 60 flights for survivors thus far, and Delta is matching the first 3 million miles donated.
“It is a global issue,” said Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service Allison Ausband, who oversees flight attendants. “With our reach [with international routes], we have the opportunity to make a difference.”