Causes

“That’s Not Really My Uncle,” Scared Boy Tells Woman Behind Him on Plane —Then a Text Message Changes Everything

human trafficking

All too often, people assume that human trafficking is a third-world problem—but disturbingly, one of the most privileged countries in the planet is also one of the most prevalent for this heinous crime.

According to the State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, The United States is a breeding ground for human trafficking. Even more unsettling is the massive number of labor-trafficking victims that arrive in the United States via airplane before being exploited: a whopping 71 percent.

Now more than ever, airlines are realizing the critical role they play in the fight to end human trafficking.

Delta Airlines is joining the fight through their partnership with Polaris, the originators of the National Human Trafficking Hotline. In addition to donating $1.5 million to Polaris, Delta has also donated over 100 flights to rescue trafficking victims as part of their SkyWish program.

Delta customers are encouraged to donate any number of their miles to Polaris, as a means of providing even more flights that can bring victims to safety.

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To shine a spotlight on the cause, the airline created a video designed to be played in-flight on any plane equipped with TVs.

The video features a frightened young boy who turns to talk to a woman in the seat behind him after the man seated next to him falls asleep.

“My uncle will get mad if he hears me talking to you, but he’s not really my uncle,” the child explains. “That’s just what he told me to say.”

The boy continues to disclose that the man told him he’s “worth a lot” but still won’t buy him any clothes that fit. The only ones he owns are the ones on his back.

The boy simply hopes that where he’s going is better than where they were before.

“We had to work all the time,” he said. “We never got to eat or sleep, and it was worse for the girls.”

“I’m scared,” he adds as his ‘uncle’ starts to show signs of awakening from his slumber. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen or how to get out, but I can’t say anything. I need you to do it for me.”

The woman proceeds to text “Help” to 233733 as a means of alerting authorities that the boy is in trouble.

Delta has now trained 66,000 of its employees how to identify and report those who show the warning signs of being human trafficking victims.

Since Delta started its partnership with Polaris, their hotline has seen a 36 percent increase in contacts from trafficking survivors. 86 percent of those victims are female, and 77 percent are U.S. citizens or legal residents.

“It’s rewarding to see tangible results of our partnership with Polaris helping the fight against human trafficking, and watching our support change lives,” said Allison Ausband, Senior VP of Delta’s in-flight service.

“The problem of human trafficking, has to be aggressively combatted from every angle, and for Delta, that means getting our nearly 200 million customers and 80,000 employees onboard in the fight,” said Ausband. “We all have a role to play and can make a difference.”


Put Your Faith in Action

If you’d like to join the fight to end human trafficking, consider donating to Polaris today. According to their website, Polaris uses “data-driven strategies to prevent and disrupt human trafficking, a $150 billion industry that robs 25 million around the world of their freedom.”

Help them disrupt the trafficking networks that rob people of their lives and their freedom today. 


 

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Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.

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