It’s not just federal employees who are spying while you’re flying. The Department of Homeland Security has been training airline and airport staff on how to “spot the signs” of human trafficking, with a list about as asinine and broad as the above TSA criteria. So far, this has led to an array of travelers getting harassed and detained because some airline attendant had a “hunch” that interracial families are probably human traffickers.
The latest example, told in full absurdist splendor by the Daily Mail, involves Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant Wesley Hirata informing the authorities that there was an Asian man with three Caucasian girls on a flight. The Mail calls Hirata and her colleagues “heroes” for “alerting cops to [a] human trafficking suspect who boarded a flight with three young girls.”
Two of the “young girls” were adults. The FBI investigated and found no evidence of anything bad going on. “Regardless,” the Mail reports, “Hirata has said he’s pleased” with himself for calling the FBI on some totally innocent travelers.
(Via Hit & Run)
Sadly, this is only one of many ridiculous examples. There are valid, useful ways to address human trafficking on airplanes. Giving flight attendants criteria that basically describes “people” and then celebrating them for being wildly wrong is not one of them.