Training focused on how to recognize human trafficking took place at William P. Hobby (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) airports in the months leading up to Super Bowl LI when airports are busier than normal.
The Houston Airport System collaborated with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to conduct mandatory information sessions for all Houston Airport System employees to learn how to spot signs of the growing epidemic of human trafficking.
Additional training workshops open to all airport, airline and tenant employees and agencies were also conducted at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in October of last year and at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) in January of this year through a partnership with Houston Airports International Affairs and Airline Ambassadors International (AAI). AAI is a nonprofit that by provides volunteer trainings at airports in the U.S and around the world to educate those in the travel industry on the issue of child and human trafficking and how they can combat it by reporting tips to the proper authorities. The first two workshops were attended by more than 200 employees airport-wide.
In addition to the training, local anti-human trafficking non-profit organization such as United Against Human Trafficking, Free the Captives and Rescue Houston, joined the event and provided exhibits educating airport and tenant employees further about the issue and local resources available for the victims.
While there's no evidence the Super Bowl has a higher than average rate of human trafficking, sex work does spike when travel increases for a big event, experts said. According to the Polaris Project, a non-governmental anti-trafficking organization, around 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. from other countries each year and globally, about 20 million are trafficked annually.
The public is encouraged to report suspicious activity to the AAI Tip Line which is available Google Playstore or ITunes for free.