I work at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado as a customer service agent for a major airline. I check in passengers at the ticket counter, tag their bags and give them boarding passes, so they may travel to their destination of choice. The window of opportunity to connect with passengers is small as the check-in process is incredibly quick. Once in a while I have a meaningful conversation with a passenger and someone sticks out in my mind for a very long time. Just recently a young man and his sister walked up to my kiosk and asked for my assistance with the check-in process. He was not much over eighteen and she was a young teen.
As the young man talked to me I noticed how incredibly kind and respectful he was and I was very impressed with him. As we were finishing up an older adult walked up to me and asked for a gate pass to walk the two travelers through security to the gate area and immediately this young man’s countenance changed. I could tell he did not want to be standing next to this man much less have this person walk them through security to the gate area. I asked the young man if he was okay and he nodded,” yes”, to me even though he didn’t look at me. As the three were walking away from my kiosk the young girl locked eyes with me for an instant and I knew there was something that wasn’t quite right. I called the gate and spoke with the agent and asked her to check on these two young passengers. I called a supervisor to share what I had observed. At the time I wished I knew what more I could have done.
Here’s information to help identify victims in possible Human Trafficking situations:
- Shows evidence of physical, mental, or sexual abuse
- Cannot or will not speak on own behalf and/or is non-English speaking
- Is not allowed to speak to you alone
- Is being controlled
- Does not have access to identity and/or travel documents
- Not know their work or home address
- Allow others to speak or them when address directly
What to do if you suspect or discover a child is trafficked:
- Call 911 if there is immediate danger or a medical emergency.
- You may call the U.S. Department of Justice at 888-428-7581 or Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking or CoNEHT at 866-455-5075.
- You may call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 888-373-7888.
Our world is a global one where more people can afford to travel domestically and to international destinations. You will never know when a time will come when someone will ask you for help. It could be your neighbor.
Human Trafficking Indicators, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, United Nations, Web. 21 Aug 2014.