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Airline launches human trafficking awareness campaign to bring customers onboard in the fight

In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 11, Delta Air Lines is hosting ‘Silence Breaker’ Terry Crews, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Polaris CEO Bradley Myles and trafficking survivor Megan Lundstrom for the airline’s third annual employee rally in the fight against trafficking, hosted by Delta CEO Ed Bastian. Attendees will hear first-person perspectives, learn how the crime impacts aviation and ultimately take away small actions to disrupt trafficking through transportation systems at the Delta Flight Museum.

Seventy-one percent of labor trafficking victims report being trafficked into the United States on an airplane. Weeks before the big game and its fans descend on Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Delta’s hometown, the airline today announced enhancements to raise awareness among travelers in airports and, for the first time, via in-flight entertainment screens.

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“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,” said Allison Ausband, Senior Vice President — In-Flight Service. “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 campaign, developed with anti-human trafficking experts Polaris, calls customers to #GetOnBoard and shines a light on the estimated 25 million people enslaved today. It includes enhanced signage in airports and an inflight video that puts a face and story to modern slavery, depicting an unsuspected trafficking dynamic and highlighting indicators through the eyes of a young boy – the trafficking victim.

“He’s not really my uncle, that’s just what he told me to say,” the boy whispers, nodding to a common trafficking scenario of a deceptive relationship while the trafficker next to him sleeps. From the Delta entertainment system screen, it heightens customers’ awareness of a scenario potentially transpiring in the row in front of them.

The video is being introduced with a PA announcement on all aircraft equipped with seatback screens during January, Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 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.

New signs are being rolled out across the airline’s major hubs in advance of February’s sporting event to educate the public on trafficking indicators. Additionally, the January edition of Delta’s Sky Magazine touches on anti-trafficking throughout the issue with a message from Ed Bastian on the topic, an interview with cover star Jada Pinkett-Smith and an awareness ad.

Delta’s #GetOnBoard campaign

Delta’s commitment to fight human trafficking dates back to 2011, when it was the first airline to sign the ECPAT Code of Conduct. The effort spans from the C-Suite throughout every division at Delta, with what Bastian calls the airline’s “line in the sand.” Bastian has also called on other corporate leaders from top companies to join the fight, hosting “CEO Roundtables” at Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta, amplifying the mission and leading major corporations to develop their own strategies to #GetOnBoard.

Customers have the chance to join the fight by donating miles through Polaris using Delta’s Skywish program. 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. 

Delta partnered with Polaris to launch industry-leading training last year. The airline’s 535 employees volunteering at the big game are all equipped with training to detect exploitation, in addition to the 56,000 Delta employees trained to identify and report human trafficking at home, onboard or wherever their travels take them around the globe.

Delta offers employees volunteer opportunities in 13 cities to support survivors in their recovery. Additionally, the airline offers apprenticeships for survivors at its Atlanta headquarters to provide career development and opportunities to learn professional skills.

“Our commitment is a consistent, dedicated drumbeat until each person is set free: we’re all in and we don’t waver,” said Ausband.

The airline also supports survivors by lobbying for anti-trafficking legislation. On Jan. 24, Delta’s Managing Director — Government Affairs, Mimi Braniff, will join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to share best practices for tackling the issue.

Photo: Delta/Polaris anti-human trafficking airport sign