Today is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, declared by the United Nations General Assembly to bring attention to sexual exploitation, forced labor and modern slavery – crimes that primarily abuse women and children. This week, our flight attendants have been delivering special PAs to educate customers and raise awareness of these issues.
During the global pandemic, we must not lose sight of routine, daily crises like human trafficking, and how the virus is uniquely impacting victims. Delta’s leading commitment to combat exploitation includes fighting sexual misconduct, unwelcome on our airplanes and the communities where we live, fly and serve. Recently, the National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force, including Delta’s Allison Ausband, S.V.P – In-Flight Service, released recommendations for best practices to prevent, report and collect data regarding any unwelcome sexual behavior on an aircraft.
When the U.S. Department of Transportation established the Task Force in 2018, Ausband was selected as the representative for all airlines. Ausband is an advocate and a thought leader at Delta, including her background as Delta’s executive sponsor for our anti-human trafficking efforts. Under Ausband's leadership, Delta was the first airline to sign the ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) Code of Conduct, and Delta partnered with the National Human Trafficking Hotline operator, Polaris, which helped over 86,000 Delta employees receive industry-leading training to identify and report human trafficking.
One case of sexual misconduct is too many, and FBI data indicates that in-flight sexual assaults rose between 2014 and 2017, the latest year for which federal data is available. At Delta, customer and employee safety remain our top priority. Ausband's participation in the Task Force demonstrates our commitment to setting the industry standard for protecting employee and customer well-being.
“It’s our moral imperative to take the very best care of our customers and flight attendants, which includes taking a stand against exploitation and fighting any form of harassment or sexual misconduct,” Ausband said.
“We continue to enhance our training, our systems and our reporting, and have opened additional feedback channels for our employees. With every incident, we learn how to strengthen our policies, implement new safeguards and better protect our customers and crew.”
Ausband said Delta crews treat all reports of harassment as serious threats to the safety of our customers and people. When we become aware of an incident on board, we take action – engaging with law enforcement and offering both physical and emotional support to any affected crew member.
“As a result of the work and recommendations of the task force, we are expanding our training beyond pilots and flight attendants to include our other customer-facing employees as well,” Ausband said. “We will continue the fight until every customer and crew member can fly in freedom and safety, always.”