Research Projects

Practical guidance to combat human trafficking at airports In Reserve

This project will create a practical guide that provides airport managers and other key personnel with day-to-day strategies to help combat human trafficking at airports. The need for this guidance was identified at the May 2018 ACRP insight event on economic and social sustainability.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

According to the US Department of State, "Trafficking in persons," "human trafficking," and "modern slavery" are used as umbrella terms to refer to both sex trafficking and compelled labor. Other terms may include involuntary servitude, slavery or practices similar to slavery, debt bondage, and forced labor. Human trafficking can include, but does not require, movement. People may be considered trafficking victims regardless of whether they were born into a state of servitude, were exploited in their home town, were transported to the exploitative situation, previously consented to work for a trafficker, or participated in a crime as a direct result of being trafficked.

The statistics around modern slavery indicate that 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, 24.9 million people were in forced labor, and 15.4 million in forced marriage. Over 71% are female. [Walk Free Foundation]. Airports and supporting travel hotels are major hubs of entry and exit for perpetrators and victims alike. Training is needed for airport and travel industry personnel including airport employees, hotel employees, tourism companies, ground transportation and law enforcement. [Airline Ambassadors].

Airports often have different ways of addressing the issue. If staff suspect a situation as trafficking, they don't always know whom to or how to report it, and they need to know what to look for in such situations. Fearful, submissive behavior is a good indicator, where the person does not make eye contact. Often, the person being trafficked will defer to someone else to answer questions. They may not know where they are travelling to, have overt branding (clothes, tattoo), and have conspicuously little luggage. They may also be intimated by authority figures, such as police and border protection agents.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

The research team should conduct comprehensive research around the state of the issue, major hubs of trafficking, best practices in the US and abroad, and related programs and resources (governmental, nonprofit, private, and other). The research should develop comprehensive guidance that provides airport personnel and related stakeholders with practical tips, practices, and tools to help combat human trafficking practices at airports, and then validate those resources with airport practitioners.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

Anticipated budget of $500,000.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

Human trafficking was one component of the May 2018 ACRP insight event on economic and social sustainability (ACRP 11-08/16-02). It has not been addressed by other traditional ACRP research projects to-date.

Idea No. 185