Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

United, based on pax complaint, calls police on false report of child trafficking

United, based on pax complaint, calls police on false report of child trafficking

Old Apr 17, 2017, 11:17 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Programs: 6 year GS, now 2MM Jeff-ugee, *wood LTPlt, SkyPeso PLT
Posts: 6,526
Originally Posted by FlyngSvyr
Again, I stated I did not read the specifics of this case (I will now). I just want to reiterate that Human Trafficking using airlines is a BIG problem. The knee jerk reactions from many posters that IT (Human Trafficking) is none of UA's business just rubbed me the wrong way.

Reading any story written during this "slam" UA period is getting tiresome.
All the media outlets concentrate on is the negative slant to any story about UA. Maybe the writer could include some of the background information on the Human Trafficking problem to bring context to the situation. They might also list the protocols that airline personnel are REQUIRED to follow when this happens. At least then the reader can make an informed decision about what they are reading.
Well if United wants the stories to end, they need to end their generally clueless behavior, and use some "common sense." The defense of United as a great company that is getting unfair bad press is getting a little old.

Facts: Any traveler from Mexico to the US must have a passport. United has that information, and it appears they were on US passports. If the names don't match, then a notarized statement is required. United would have had that.

Since United has the relevent information to show that (1) everything matched, and (2) everything was kosher, calling the cops was totally crazy irresponsible behavior. I'm not excusing CBPS for how they addressed this, but they are morons in general. UA did not need to create a situation when it had no evidence anything was wrong except illegal and racist assumptions.
spin88 is offline  
Old Apr 17, 2017, 11:21 pm
  #17  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Atherton, CA
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP; Owner, Green Bay Packers
Posts: 21,690
Interesting and timely article here:

http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/...for1-1701.html


There are laws requiring medical professionals to report possible/suspected cases of child abuse, and it appears that these laws have been amended to include child trafficking. It may well be that similar laws apply to airline personnel in possible/suspected child trafficking as well; I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me.

In this case, the airline personnel were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The nosy passenger reported what he/she thought was possible child trafficking to the FA. Was the FA supposed to then perform the function of a LEO and make the determination of whether the allegation was true? I don't think anyone would want that. Once the allegation was made, I don't think the airline had any choice but to involve LEOs.

As in child abuse mandatory reporting, innocent people got caught up in the web until they could be cleared by investigation. I've witnessed a couple of cases of this in possible abuse cases.

Safe travels,

Doc
Doc Savage is offline  
Old Apr 17, 2017, 11:32 pm
  #18  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: RNO, NV, USA.
Programs: UA 2MM
Posts: 5,101
The question is, as I see it, in the current political climate, have we come to the point in America when a father cannot travel with his 3 year old daughter without being harassed and accused of being a child trafficker?
restlessinRNO is offline  
Old Apr 17, 2017, 11:33 pm
  #19  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: AS, UA, WN, IHG Diamond Elite, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Gold, CET 7*
Posts: 3,390
Originally Posted by bocastephen

Hopefully part of Oscar's new approach to be announced by April 30th, according to the email I received tonight, will in part instruct crew members to stop being such royal pains in the butt with things that are none of their business and start focusing on things that are.
Hopefully by 4/30 his PR team will have crafted a message that won't need to be rewritten. There is no excuse for what this family went through. None.

Their documentation was reviewed in Mexico at departure. End of story until they're processed by CBP on this end.
NoLaGent is offline  
Old Apr 17, 2017, 11:40 pm
  #20  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: LAX; AA EXP, MM; HH Gold
Posts: 31,789
Originally Posted by Doc Savage
There are laws requiring medical professionals to report possible/suspected cases of child abuse, and it appears that these laws have been amended to include child trafficking. It may well be that similar laws apply to airline personnel in possible/suspected child trafficking as well; I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me.

In this case, the airline personnel were stuck between a rock and a hard place.
No such laws or regulations apply to pilots or flight attendants of commercial airlines, so nobody was stuck between any rocks or hard places.

They saw a brown Mexican man and his daughter, a much lighter-skinned 3 year old girl, and assumed he was involved in human trafficking. They put two and two together along with their internet "training" and called the authorities.

Better safe than sorry. If he didn't want those kind of hassles, he shouldn't have had children with a lighter-skinned woman. He's just unfortunate collateral damage of good intentions, right?

United ground personnel in Mexico saw their passports and the notarized letter from wife (mom) yet figured it was time to put their extensive training to use. Even though the father and daughter would obviously have to go thru immigration upon arrival at Newark, better safe than sorry and call the marshals from the air to make sure they were properly interrogated as soon as the door was opened.
FWAAA is offline  
Old Apr 17, 2017, 11:59 pm
  #21  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Atherton, CA
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP; Owner, Green Bay Packers
Posts: 21,690
Cool

Originally Posted by FWAAA
No such laws or regulations apply to pilots or flight attendants of commercial airlines, so nobody was stuck between any rocks or hard places.

They saw a brown Mexican man and his daughter, a much lighter-skinned 3 year old girl, and assumed he was involved in human trafficking. They put two and two together along with their internet "training" and called the authorities.

Better safe than sorry. If he didn't want those kind of hassles, he shouldn't have had children with a lighter-skinned woman. He's just unfortunate collateral damage of good intentions, right?

United ground personnel in Mexico saw their passports and the notarized letter from wife (mom) yet figured it was time to put their extensive training to use. Even though the father and daughter would obviously have to go thru immigration upon arrival at Newark, better safe than sorry and call the marshals from the air to make sure they were properly interrogated as soon as the door was opened.

So UA ignores the nosy passenger and does nothing, and nosy passenger goes to the press claiming UA "let a child trafficker go."
Doc Savage is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 12:07 am
  #22  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: AS, UA, WN, IHG Diamond Elite, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Gold, CET 7*
Posts: 3,390
Originally Posted by Doc Savage
So UA ignores the nosy passenger and does nothing, and nosy passenger goes to the press claiming UA "let a child trafficker go."
What UA should do (and used to in the past) is tell the nosy passenger that CBP will be processing the flight upon arrival and it will be reviewed by them, not UA, as it's beyond their purview.
NoLaGent is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 12:10 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: AA, UA lowly commoner
Posts: 793
Originally Posted by Kevin AA
Fine, then please do explain how this situation calls for ringing the human trafficking bell. No, you can't use the busybody next door passenger as "evidence". That is hearsay.
Actually, it isn't hearsay, which has a very specific meaning. It appears to have been a wildly unjustified racist assumption based on the father and daughter's appearance. But not hearsay.
Giggleswick is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 12:34 am
  #24  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,987
It appears that clairvoyance and omniscience are now expected job skills for a UA flight attendant.

First of all, documents can be faked. Plenty of people are trafficked around the world with fake documents. A notarized latter? Do you expect the UA ground staff to look up the notary and validate the authenticity? Notarization is an extremely weak form of identity protection, and is only meaningful if the notary is an uninterested third party. There's little stopping a human trafficking ring from finding someone with no criminal record to be a notary public. For example, in Texas, all it takes is a $10,000 surety bond, a $21 application fee, an oath, a log book, and a stamp.

Second, the downside of a false positive report is limited; some questions get asked and the suspect is released. The downside of a false negative report is horrific. Imagine the opposite story -- "Missing child was seen on plane; UA flight attendant was notified but declined to alert the authorities."

Third, this is one side of the story, reported in a climate where UA-bashing has become en vogue. The mother, who was not present, relates second-hand information. There's no journalism here -- the Huffington Post piece is written by the mother, and the AOL piece just summarizes the Huffington Post piece. There's not even a "no comment" from UA or CBP.

Fourth, the damage here appears to be "CBP made my daughter cry." Look, I'll be the first to complain about CBP crossing the line. I've been selected for secondary screening based on nothing more than my age, gender, and itinerary, despite being an American citizen, with no record, reentering the USA. But, (a) blaming UA for this makes no sense to me, and (b) as far as CBP horror stories goes, this one doesn't move the needle for me. The father and daughter were detained and questioned, the officers verified the answers, and the mother came and picked them up.

So, to summarize, somehow UA is awful because a flight attendant allegedly passed a tip along to the authorities, who then checked it out and determined that no crime had been committed, making a three-year-old cry in the process, and scaring the mother. (Keep in mind, making some three-year-olds cry, especially after a long flight, isn't exactly a Herculean task). Pardon me if I'm not outraged.
jsloan is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 12:48 am
  #25  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: AS, UA, WN, IHG Diamond Elite, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Gold, CET 7*
Posts: 3,390
Originally Posted by jsloan
Pardon me if I'm not outraged.
It's understandable not to be outraged, but I think you're missing a lot of the points here. What this speaks to are the cabin crews' overstepping of authority.

First, the documents were reviewed in Mexico by the proper staff and deemed to be legit.

Second, the downsides of a false report are bigger than you estimate and there are many cases to back that up.

Third, well, no argument with that one. At all.

Fourth, they were pulled off the plane before other pax by CBP. Uhm, that would freak me out a bit, and I'm not 3.

So, to summarize, back off UA and and perhaps focus on those things related to your job in that metal tube that we all spend so much time in.
NoLaGent is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 12:54 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MRY - CNX - TXL
Programs: UA 1K / *G / Marriott PE / Expedia Gold+ / Hertz PC
Posts: 7,058
Originally Posted by FlyngSvyr
Again, I stated I did not read the specifics of this case (I will now). I just want to reiterate that Human Trafficking using airlines is a BIG problem. The knee jerk reactions from many posters that IT (Human Trafficking) is none of UA's business just rubbed me the wrong way.
I would say it is UA's business when qualified people are the ones informing authorities. On a plane I would say the most qualified people are the FAs who have training on this. I believe from what I heard on NPR was that some airlines have their mandatory training on what to spot and there's other advocacy groups ( I think one in Chicago) where FAs can take courses on their own time.

Look around a premium cabin flying to/from Thailand. Do I need to alert people as a pax anytime I see a sourpuss face on a Thai girl sitting next to the Sugar Gramps?
JVPhoto is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 12:58 am
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MRY - CNX - TXL
Programs: UA 1K / *G / Marriott PE / Expedia Gold+ / Hertz PC
Posts: 7,058
Originally Posted by Doc Savage
So UA ignores the nosy passenger and does nothing, and nosy passenger goes to the press claiming UA "let a child trafficker go."
And press asks "What proof do you have?"

a) I saw a man of one color with a child not quite the same color.

not

b) I saw a man with a young child who seemed to not speak the same language and on his computer screen he was flicking through what looked like a catalogue of other images of children.
JVPhoto is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 1:05 am
  #28  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: South Coast NSW, Australia
Programs: UA and SQ; Hilton, Fairmont, Marriott, Rydges Priority
Posts: 294
As a single father who used to travel internationally often with his pre teen to adolescent daughter I can sympathize with this family.
Instances of interrogation at some borders became expected and prepared for.
The first one was the most traumatic. The presumption of innocence does not come into play.
But a lot worse were the audible comments by busy bodies in hotels, restaurants etc, as she got to her late teens, about inappropriate age difference relationships.
The world can be a tough place.
grapegrower is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 4:30 am
  #29  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: ATL/MCO
Programs: Costco Gold Star, RaceTrac Sultan of Soda, Chick-fil-A Red
Posts: 5,705
UA can't seem to stay out of the spotlight... Must be destroying their brand after each incident after the dragging one.
miamiflyer8 is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2017, 5:13 am
  #30  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Programs: LH SEN; BA Gold
Posts: 8,419
Originally Posted by reamworks
IMHO, United had no business contacting authorities.
Counter example: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38880612

Human trafficking and particularly child trafficking is a very serious issue and particularly in the US, where there's no exit immigration, a child may easily be abducted by either a family member (Cases of a parent taking away a kid in tough divorces is quite frequent) or by - to use POTUS vocabulary - a bad hombre, seeking to harm a child.

I'm not trying to defend this sort of treatment, but given the seriousness of the issue, I rather prefer F/As being overly (but still reasonably) careful and it's better to be safe than sorry.

BTW: This sort of treatment occurs outside of the airline business too. British yellow press run a story earlier this month of a Widower being similarly accused when he tried checking in with his daughter.

The only thing I advocate for is that F/As (or hotel staff in the case of the aforementioned situation) should receive training to correctly detect these situations. A man traveling with a child isn't automatically a child-trafficker or - worse - a pedophile. Could be just as well a woman traveling with a child or a couple traveling with one (or even two) children.
WorldLux is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.