At world’s busiest airport, sex trafficking abounds

Amnesty

Two girls excitedly walk off their plane that just landed in Paris, eager to experience the city they have only had the pleasure of seeing in movies.

Immersed in the liveliness of Paris, their happiness is snatched from them as they are betrayed, dragged and forced into a hard-to-escape lifestyle, the beginning stages of human trafficking. Many are familiar with the depiction from the movie “Taken,” but many fail to realize the reality that lies behind such a film.

The Amnesty International chapter at the University of West Georgia prides itself on spreading the word on human rights because the university is so close to one of the biggest sex trafficking hubs in the world.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, and is an important destination for political refugees. Amnesty International says that makes the airport a target for human traffickers. Amnesty Interanational’s regional headquarters is actually located in Atlanta.

Georgia’s capital city proves that the U.S. is not that different from well-known sex trafficking countries such as Czechoslovakia. FBI reports that Atlanta is the center for the sex-trafficking of adolescence and around 200 to 300 youth are prostituted in Atlanta a month.

Teixiera Monts is the president of Amnesty International. Passion drives her to share her knowledge on the issue.

“There is training in airports and bus stations to help workers identify sex trafficking,” said Monts.

Many places that have high volumes of trafficking are transportation places. Still, it is a difficult task.

“Let’s say I’m at the window of a transportation station. I would only have 60 seconds to four minutes to identify if this is potentially a case of human trafficking. You look at the demeanor of both people, look at their identification. Where they’re going and where they’re coming from.”

Monts continues her scenario by saying sometimes these identification tools do not work because victims of trafficking do not know they are victims until they reach where they are going.

A victim believes they are going somewhere to work for money to send back at home, but once at their destination, it is another story. Their identification is taken from them, destroyed; and they are stuck in the country with no knowledge of the language. They are rendered helpless.

Keeping with the tradition of the organization, the UWG chapter plans to continue write offs, which are done nationally.

“We will express to these countries that we will not stand for human rights violations here nor there,” said Monts.

Amnesty International has been quiet on the UWG campus, but Vice President John Belcher is excited about the upcoming semesters.

“We’re trying to get the organization started up again. See what kind of events we can have to bring in interest.”

Although the campus organization already held their interest meeting, they still welcome students to their other meetings.

Human trafficking is one of many of the human rights issues within the area. The organization plans to address other human rights matters like race, gender and the death penalty.

“Anything where people are being sided,” said Belcher.

“We need to produce awareness on human rights,” said the organizations advisor Dr. Neema Nori. “Everyone is affected.”

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4 thoughts on “At world’s busiest airport, sex trafficking abounds

  1. “Let’s say I’m at the window of a transportation station. I would only have 60 seconds to four minutes to identify if this is potentially a case of human trafficking. You look at the demeanor of both people, look at their identification. Where they’re going and where they’re coming from.”

    This is an amazing admission and it’s disturbing that Monts doesn’t admit to what this sort of “one shot scanning” for “trafficking victims” often means in practice: ethnic, gender and racial profiling.

    I am a white U.S. American middle-aged man who is married to a black Brazilian woman. We are both university professors with PhDs. Every time we travel, we are constantly stopped and harrased by people who have had a 3 or 4 hour course on “how to identify trafficking victims” and who now presume themselves to be experts on the topic and who feel themselves to be empowered as some sort of police auxilliary.

    This would perhaps be a necessary inconvenience if this sort of “profiling” actually turned up significant numbers of “trafficking victims”. In fact, in spite of Ms. Mont’s claims that airports and bus stations are just chock full of modern day slaves moving hither and yon, very few trafficking victims are revealed using these tactics.

    What these tactics do, however, is subject “suspect” nationalities and ethnicites to growing surveillance and harassment.

    A great example of what this sort of surveillance means recently happened to us while attempting to leave Argentina following the IASSCS conference. the border guard took one look at us (“You look at the demeanor of both people, look at their identification. Where they’re going and where they’re coming from”) and rejected Ana Paula’s Brazilian I.D. According to him, she was supposed to go the Brazilian consulate and get special permission. To LEAVE Argentina.

    I should point out that there was nothing wrong with Ana’s I.D. and it had been accepted when she entered Argentina.

    We’ve been travelling for decades and only recently have these problems become common. We’re not on any no-fly lists, nor is there anything else remarkable about us…. except that I’m white and U.S. American and Ana’s black and Brazilian.

    I would suggest to Ms. Mon t that if she’s truly concerned about fighting trafficking, she learn a little bit more sbout it. One of the first things she’d learn is that these “border scans” are not effective in finding trafficking victims. They are, however, incredibly effective in harassing “types” that are traditionally considered “suspect”by the often racist and classist airline and border functionaries who are being “capacitated”to do these one-minute scans.

  2. Hello Rhonda and Teixeira Mont.
    We at Airline Ambassadors International are the ones giving Human Trafficking Awareness Trainings for airline and airport personnel – custodians, flight attendants, concessionaires, baggage handlers, customer service agents, pilots, airport management, tour operators, Travelers Aid volunteers, ground handlers, etc
    Can you help us schedule a training at ATL? or any other airport? We’ve been working closely with DHS, ICE, DOJ with our training materials since 2009.
    Looking forward to “connecting more dots” in our battle of this heinous crime against humanity and the most vulnerable.
    Thanks for your article and for what YOU are doing.

  3. “…the U.S. is not that different from well-known sex trafficking countries such as Czechoslovakia.”

    Czechoslovakia??? Hello! If this so-called reporter’s grasp on her subject matter is as good as her grasp on geography and world events, when there has been no Czechoslovakia for more than two decades, there is little credibility that can be extended to her.

    BTW, I love the juxtaposition of the two comments above mine that had been made to the piece at the time I looked at it.

    These trafficking hysterics are just plain scary.

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