Airport launches 'Travel Safe Week' in fight against human trafficking

28th April 2014

Manchester Airport is launching ‘Travel Safe Week’, a training and awareness initiative for all staff based on site, to train staff on site to be aware of the signs of human trafficking and help protect vulnerable passengers.

Working with organisations such as the Stop the Traffik charity and the Border Force, the exercise aims to help train the 19,000 people who work on site everyday at Manchester Airport to look out for tell-tale signs and put Manchester at the forefront of the trafficking fight in the UK.

In February, the Home Office announced that specialist anti-slavery gangs would be stationed at major airports like Manchester and Heathrow and the Travel Safe Week will aid the work of those teams based at the UK’s third largest airport.

According to Unicef, 1.2 million children are currently trafficked every year and human trafficking is now the second largest source of illegal income worldwide exceeded only by drugs trafficking. According to Stop the Traffik, 9.1 million men, women and children are trafficked across borders and within their own country at any given moment in time. It is the world’s fastest growing global crime.

Regular training sessions have been launched today on Monday 28 April and will continue throughout the week for staff on site so they are aware of the signs to look for when a passenger is at risk from exploitation, human trafficking, forced marriage or parental child abduction. It is aimed at the airport’s security officers to customer services, taxi drivers to hotel teams, with the plan on training becoming a key part of induction training for all customer-facing staff.

Tricia Williams, Customer Services Director at Manchester Airport, said: “The security and welfare of our customers is obviously paramount to us and it’s something our Security teams are closely involved with but we feel there’s an opportunity to expand that across the 300 companies based on site and put a stop to criminal activity of this nature. Unfortunately, human trafficking is all too real a problem and as the third busiest airport in the UK, we have a role to play in ensuring our staff are trained so they are equipped with the knowledge to spot, and then report, any passenger who they think is at risk.”

Travel Safe Week aims to raise awareness of the issue with not just airport staff, but also passengers travelling through Manchester Airport. Posters and leaflets, available in a range of different languages, will be also on display throughout the airport.

Reverend George Lane, Co-ordinating Chaplain of the multi-faith Chaplaincy at the airport, said: “The Chaplaincy exists to support the airport’s customers and staff, whatever their faith. The team includes Jewish, Muslim and Christian representatives from a number of denominations and, as such, we are often called in by the airport’s security team, Border Force officers or the Police to help in these matters. However we feel we can do more to help and Travel Safe Week was born out of our wish to help. The training that is being provided is essential in helping to combat these very serious issues.”

Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Minister, Karen Bradley, said: “At the heart of everything we do is the need to protect victims and prevent further men, women and children falling prey to this particularly evil crime.

“Specialist anti-trafficking and safeguarding teams are being placed at the border, including Manchester airport this summer. They will play a vital role in identifying and protecting victims and ensuring there is no easy route into the UK for traffickers.”

“We are also taking action on a number of other fronts. The Modern Slavery Bill, the first of its kind in Europe, will strengthen the punishment of offenders and the protection of victims. Through the National Crime Agency and police forces we are stepping up enforcement against the criminal gangs behind much of modern slavery. We are urging businesses to take responsibility for ensuring their suppliers are not involved in trafficking and exploitation and we are working with high risk countries to try and stop victims falling prey to traffickers in the first place.”

-ENDS-

For more info, contact the Manchester Airport press office on 0161 489 2700 or email press.office@manairport.co.uk

Notes 

• Stop the Traffik is a global movement of individuals, communities and organisations fighting to prevent human trafficking around the world and was set up in 2006 and has over 45, 000 members in countries all over the world.

Published on: 28/04/2014 16:39:59