The aviation industry must "further mobilize" to tackle human trafficking, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
Speaking out in support of the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, de Juniac pointed out that aviation is the "business of freedom", but that people traffickers continue to use the industry for illegal means.
"Human trafficking creates misery for millions, and helps fund criminal gangs and terrorism," he said.
“As an industry, we have our eyes open, and are working with governments and law enforcement to stop trafficking.
"Through a joint campaign with our airport colleagues, we hope to further mobilize the aviation industry in the fight against this abhorrent trade in people’s lives."
Airlines and airports are determined to assist authorities by reporting suspected human trafficking cases – which affects 25 million people annually – and making it as difficult as possible for the global air transport network to be exploited.
Through a joint campaign with our airport colleagues, we hope to further mobilize the aviation industry in the fight against this abhorrent trade in people’s lives
In conjunction with Airports Council International (ACI) World and IATA, the industry has committed to raising awareness, training staff to recognize the signs of trafficking, and putting in place reporting protocols to alert the authorities.
ACI World Director General Angela Gittens echoed de Juniac's comments, reaffirming the industry stance that ACI World would be "keeping our eyes open" to signs of human trafficking.
"People trafficking is an appalling crime which we should do all we can to combat. The airport community is determined to work with border authorities and our partners across the world in helping to put a stop to this activity," said Gittens.
"Many of our airport members are already demonstrating their commitment to the campaign and we continue to strengthen our combined efforts in awareness, training, and reporting."
- Resources for airline and airport employees, such as guidelines and training are available at www.iata.org/human-trafficking and www.aci.aero/humantrafficking