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Southwest Airlines Pilot Reports Single Mom For Trafficking Her Four Year Old Son

by Staff

Southwest Airlines Pilot Reports Single Mom For Trafficking Her Four Year Old Son

Southwest Airlines reported a single mom traveling with her 4 year old son for human trafficking. She makes the trip frequently to Cincinnati for the boy to visit his father. In fact, she has a Companion Pass and he’s registered to be her free travel companion.

On arrival in Cincinnati on this trip, though, she was met by police and questioned while trying to rent a car at the airport.

“I was about to hand them my credit card and then they walk in and they say, ‘Excuse me, ma’am, we have reason to believe that this child isn’t your child and that your child trafficking him,’” Tomarchio recalled. “I look around and I’m like, I’m sorry, me? And they’re like, yes, you we have reason that this isn’t your child, there was suspicious activity, and the Southwest Airlines pilot had called it in.”

Officers wanted her son’s birth certificate or other identification. Many parents do not travel with that. Kids do not need ID to fly. She and her son have different last names – his matches his father’s. She happened to have a museum card with his father’s name on it, showing that it matched the name she had listed for her son. Police let her go.

On the way back, the mom sought help from an airport manager who introduced her to the flight crew. She talked to the crew of her connecting flight home at the start of the flight, too.

Airline and hotel employees are taught to use their prejudices to spot and report human trafficking, and this often works out badly. Flight attendants are told they need to be on the lookout, and you have to sympathize with the position that puts them in. Imagine if they didn’t say something when they could have stopped a bad situation? That would haunt them. So better to raise the accusation or flag innocent people for law enforcement to sort out. And that gives you situations like,

Hotel staff, too, are trained by the Department of Homeland Security to report guests with too many used condoms in the trash, as well as:

  • frequent use of the “Do Not Disturb” sign (you’re tired and don’t want to be bothered)
  • guests who avert their eyes or don’t make eye contact (you’re tired and don’t want to be bothered)
  • people with “lower quality clothing than companions” (no one ever accused me of fashion)
  • people who have “suspicious tattoos” (which just means you’re from Austin or Portland)
  • having multiple computers, cell phones, and other technology (you’re a blogger)
  • “presence of photography equipment” (you’re a blogger)
  • refusal of cleaning services for multiple days (you ‘made a green choice’ or ‘fear Covid’)
  • rooms paid for with cash or a rechargeable credit card (you have to unload your gift card purchases somehow)
  • guests with few personal possessions (you refuse to check a bag because you’re a frequent traveler)

See something, say something, when you’re encouraging amateurs to do it, leads to so many false positives that real cases of sex trafficking seem likely to get less attention. Employees think they are ‘trained’ when they’re really using their prejudices – often, though not always, against mixed race families. It’s happened multiple times with Southwest.

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