12 April 2010

For a Moment in Time, Traffickers and Travelers Come Together


"For a moment in time, strangers from around the world come together as travelers."

Flight attendants at a large U.S. airline are training other flight attendants on how to recognize signs of human trafficking. Sandra Fiorini, with 39 years on the job, travels around the world educating other flight attendants and arming them with brochures and braclets containing the human trafficking hotline.

While Fiorini was interviewed by Elizabeth Lee of VOS News, she admitted that it was very easy to spot suspected human trafficking. "Most of us are parents. When you see an instance that's not right and a red flag is raised, especially when there is children involved, you're more in tune with what's happening," she said.

Fiorini also shares one incident she came across that included a day old new born and an 18 year old male with no mother and little preparation for a six hour flight. With cases like this surfacing for some time, local authorities have only started to respond to reports of human trafficking and similar reports in the past 2 years, says Fiorini.

Air routes for traffickers are considered the most expensive, yet it is still the most preferable mode of transportation, says Shahnawaz Khan of Daily Times of Pakistan. He also notes that theres a reported 600 active traffickers in the country with the Coastal Belt from Karachi to Balochistan being frequently used by traffickers to cross into Iran.

Khan reports that the FIA (Federal Investigative Agency, their version of our FBI) has failed to stop human trafficking in varies parts of the country. "Every week a large number of youngsters are smuggled out of Pakistan. More than 600 human traffickers are running their businesses in different parts of the country and are using air, land and sea routes for their activities. Although, most of them are arrested or die while crossing borders of countries including Iran, Turkey, Cyprus and Greek," sources told Daily Times.

With estimates of 12 million people around the world still working under coercion in forced labour, slavery and slavery-like practices, according to the International Labour Organisation, will brochures and braclets from airline attendants be enough? Will Pakistan, which is only about twice the size of California, surpass the US in the number of active traffickers operating inside it's borders? Finally, with pressure on the FBI from NGOs and Capitol Hill, lets hope that our efforts are never considered a failure; or is that already the case?