Combatting human trafficking one flight at a time (

May 28, 2018

ICAO and OHCHR combat “modern-day slavery” with Guidelines for Training Cabin Crew on Identification and Response to Trafficking in Persons.

By Martin Maurino

Human trafficking – also referred to as trafficking in persons – is a global criminal enterprise second only to the trafficking of drugs and tantamount to modern-day slavery. Victims and perpetrators can sometimes make use of commercial passenger flights, and ICAO has made it a priority to collaborate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to combat this widespread issue. Together these two agencies have now developed comprehensive guidelines to help airlines train cabin crew to recognize and help combat the trafficking in persons – one flight at the time.

Trafficking in persons is a form of slavery. It involves the trading of human beings for the purposes of exploitation. This exploitation can take different forms: prostitution, forced and bonded labour, forced marriage, organ harvesting.

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) Global Estimates 2017 indicates that some 24.9 million people are currently forced to work under threat or coercion as domestic workers, on construction sites, in clandestine factories, on farms and fishing boats, and in the sex industry. An estimated 15.4 million people are living in forced marriage. This equates to about 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every thousand people in the world.

The financial implications of trafficking in persons are just as staggering, with related activities ranking second only to drug trafficking in terms of profits, measured in billions of dollars.

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