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Trafficking in Persons (TIP)

Air transport delivers huge social and economic benefits. Unfortunately, air services are also misused by criminals who profit from the trade in humans. Trafficking of persons (TIP) is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world. An ILO & UNODC report (pdf) estimates that 24.9 million people are trafficked globally, over 75% of whom are women and children.

Although the responsibility for identifying, apprehending and prosecuting those perpetrating TIP rests with governments and national law enforcement agencies, the airline industry recognizes that it can play an important role in the fight against this crime.  

Trafficking of persons: a definition

"Recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation ".  Palermo Protocol 2000 (pdf) ​​​​​​​​​​

 


The role of the aviation industry

Once trained, airline, airport, ground handling, security screening and customs staff could provide an important source of intelligence. They could recognize signs of potential trafficking situations and report their observations to the authorities. 

What IATA is doing

IATA is working with member airlines to increase staff and passenger awareness concerning the nature, scale and humanitarian consequences of TIP. We are developing practical tools that airlines can integrate easily into existing employee training programs. 

In addition, we are calling on governments and their enforcement agencies to provide clear, practical and anonymous mechanisms for airline staff so they can report potential trafficking situations.      

A good example of best practice is in the United States, where the Department of Homeland Security provides a national toll (cost) free "tip line" and web form where airline staff can report their observations anonymously.

IATA is also working with airports and other stakeholders within the air transport sector to:   

  • Raise awareness on TIP 
  •  Share our guidance material on TIP, including ‘recognize and report' practice

Read IATA position paper on TIP (pdf)

The issue around TIP was raised and discussed at last year's IATA AGM 

Airlines CEOs views on how TIP can be addressed in the industry:

 
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