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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 18, 2017, 9:34 pm
  #76  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyngSvyr
Once a question of Child Trafficking entered the FA's minds, they had no ethical/moral choice other than pass it on to the appropriate authorities to investigate.
The flight attendant(s) had the logical choice to discount the accusation from the passenger. From their training and their experience (hopefully), observing unlimited examples of a single parent with a child, on years of international flights, they should understand the documentation and inspections performed on both ends of the flight.

But logic usually loses to hysteria. (e.g., the see something say something links above.)
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Old Apr 18, 2017, 11:54 pm
  #77  
 
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Originally Posted by fly18725
If the passenger reports their suspicions to a crew member during a flight, what is the crew supposed to do?
Use their better judgement rather than just knee-jerk it over to LEO. Anyone, anywhere then is suspect just because another person, possibly motivated in self interest and/ or prejudice, said so! Preposterous!
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Old Apr 18, 2017, 11:57 pm
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1
Neither UA nor the FA's did anything incorrect here. In the ordinary course of events, the complainant would have called the cops, but that doesn't work mid-air.

The rest is about how CBP and the Port Authority handled the situation. We only have one side of that story. But, if the situation was handled improperly, it is for CBP and the Port Authority to discipline and train the personnel.

Imagine the howls on FT had UA not even notified CBP and the complainant posted here that he suspected human trafficking, notified the FA, the FA did nothing and now the child is off being abused.

UA doesn't need proof and it isn't UA's job to conduct an investigation. When someone reports their suspicion of a crime, UA calls the cops. Period.
No one here is above blame. They were all, including UA and its representatives, absolutely incorrect and incompetent in handling this situation.
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 12:13 am
  #79  
 
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Originally Posted by YadiMolina
The flight attendant(s) had the logical choice to discount the accusation from the passenger. From their training and their experience (hopefully), observing unlimited examples of a single parent with a child, on years of international flights, they should understand the documentation and inspections performed on both ends of the flight.

But logic usually loses to hysteria. (e.g., the see something say something links above.)
Because those document checks on both ends are perfect right? No child must ever be trafficked.

In cases of suspicion, flight attendants should do what they are trained to do. Let the professionals know - the fact that the professionals dealt with it in a heavy handed manner instead of discreetly pulling them out upon disembarking is a comment on US law enforcement, not UA.
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 12:31 am
  #80  
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So apparently the training includes "Mestizo man with light skinned child = ring the alarm bell" ... or is it "ring the alarm bell if someone simply says so, don't bother asking any questions"?
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 1:59 am
  #81  
 
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA
So apparently the training includes "Mestizo man with light skinned child = ring the alarm bell" ... or is it "ring the alarm bell if someone simply says so, don't bother asking any questions"?
Do you really think flight attendants should be playing amateur detective and trying to investigate themselves? I'd much prefer they take a note of it, call law enforcement and let it get sorted through proper channels rather than making snap judgements themselves. How would you feel if you reported something and it was brushed off?

If if you don't like how law enforcement handles it, that is a complaint with them, not United.
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 2:05 am
  #82  
 
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UA people contacted law enforcement too soon. They have to learn how to assess the situation if such action is called for. There is a big difference if a random passenger just calls the authorities vs UA calling. UA is not supposed to just relay any minor suspicions (without basis), but is supposed to use the information available to them, the observation of their own staff and exercise their judgment if further investigation is warranted.
At the very least, UA knows the names of the man and the child, their trip itinerary, and what documents they presented for check-in. Given that it is the return flight and that there were no incidents with those checking their documents from both the US or Mexican airport, UA should not have sounded the alarm bells. If ever both the man and his daughter have MileagePlus accounts, then UA has even more information such as this is not their first flight to Mexico and certainly should have even less grounds to alert CBP.
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 3:03 am
  #83  
 
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Originally Posted by Wuxia
UA people contacted law enforcement too soon. They have to learn how to assess the situation if such action is called for. There is a big difference if a random passenger just calls the authorities vs UA calling. UA is not supposed to just relay any minor suspicions (without basis), but is supposed to use the information available to them, the observation of their own staffand exercise their judgment if further investigation is warranted.

At the very least, UA knows the names of the man and the child, their trip itinerary, and what documents they presented for check-in. Given that it is the return flight and that there were no incidents with those checking their documents from both the US or Mexican airport, UA should not have sounded the alarm bells. If ever both the man and his daughter have MileagePlus accounts, then UA has even more information such as this is not their first flight to Mexico and certainly should have even less grounds to alert CBP.
Again, you want flight attendants to play amateur detective in flight. Also that's a hell of a responsibility to put onto the flight attendant - what if they make a wrong decision and then read about it in the news the next day that a child was missing. If that was me the guilt would be crushing.

It is extremely easy to sit from the safety of your computer and say they should have known better, but I would always prefer staff to feel empowered to call something in and let professionals deal with it than not say something and risk the worst case.

To put that into my own context, three times I've shut down work in my job because I felt there may be something unsafe. The first two times, I was wrong, everything was ok and I unnecessarily shut down work, costing time and money. My employer said both times, that's ok, we would prefer caution over risk.

The third time I was right, something was unsafe and if it had gone ahead people could have been killed. I bet if I hadn't had the reinforcement from the previous two examples, I would have just kept my mouth shut. I bet all of you looking from the sides would have criticized my decision making the first two times as well. But when things that matter are on the line, caution is not a bad thing.

Last edited by Productivity; Apr 19, 2017 at 3:11 am
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 3:14 am
  #84  
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So let me get this straight: the flight attendants are obligated to help enforce the laws against child trafficking, but at the same time, they are not expected to be detectives. They're not even expected to use common sense. They're basically telephone operators. Allegedly there's some training about it but what it amounts to is "ring the alarm bell if someone simply says so, don't bother asking any questions".
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 4:10 am
  #85  
 
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA
So let me get this straight: the flight attendants are obligated to help enforce the laws against child trafficking, but at the same time, they are not expected to be detectives. They're not even expected to use common sense. They're basically telephone operators. Allegedly there's some training about it but what it amounts to is "ring the alarm bell if someone simply says so, don't bother asking any questions".
You keep saying ask questions, do you really think it's reasonable for there to be a questioning in air of the person? Or are they supposed to discard suggestions on the basis of racism (can someone racist not be correct as well as a terrible person)?

Human traficking is a real problem, second guessing like this thread and article undermines and disempowers flight attendants. Yes some false positives happen - that is a cost of picking up marginal true positives. If you want flight attendants to only act on solid evidence, then lots will get missed - I would say the human cost of those missed is far more tragic than a bad day for one family.
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 4:15 am
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Originally Posted by Productivity
You keep saying ask questions, do you really think it's reasonable for there to be a questioning in air of the person? Or are they supposed to discard suggestions on the basis of racism (can someone racist not be correct as well as a terrible person)?

Human traficking is a real problem, second guessing like this thread and article undermines and disempowers flight attendants. Yes some false positives happen - that is a cost of picking up marginal true positives. If you want flight attendants to only act on solid evidence, then lots will get missed - I would say the human cost of those missed is far more tragic than a bad day for one family.
correct, the training is "ring the alarm bell if someone simply says so, don't bother asking any questions, or making any observations, or using any type of reasoning or common sense, just pass along the message" to be exact
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 4:36 am
  #87  
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I received a call from an official from Port Authority.
Wouldn't that be more an issue of CBP (federal)? Port Authority police is not there to enforce immigration rules.
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 4:42 am
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA
correct, the training is "ring the alarm bell if someone simply says so, don't bother asking any questions, or making any observations, or using any type of reasoning or common sense, just pass along the message" to be exact
I hope you never have to be in a situation where you have to do something like this because it's just not that easy. Believe me, I have, it's not fun and I've got it wrong before.

I was making decisions based on imperfect information, just like FAs are and I wasn't sure if I was going to flag a false positive but it was worth it because the alternative outcome was so much worse.

It is not all black and white, sometimes a suspicioun is all you have and you can't prove anything, so you get professionals involved because it's not your job to get to a final decision. Holding humans to a black and white standard will just result in them keeping their mouth shut and more harm will come.
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 5:05 am
  #89  
 
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA
correct, the training is "ring the alarm bell if someone simply says so, don't bother asking any questions, or making any observations, or using any type of reasoning or common sense, just pass along the message" to be exact
Yes, this certainly seems to be the situation here, where common sense is abandoned in the zeal to track down child traffickers.
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Old Apr 19, 2017, 6:00 am
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA
correct, the training is "ring the alarm bell if someone simply says so, don't bother asking any questions, or making any observations, or using any type of reasoning or common sense, just pass along the message" to be exact
I think it is up to LEO to take the information, perform due diligence and then ask questions. In-flight, when there is no ability for citizens to contact LEO, I think airlines have a duty to pass suspicions along. They can certainly include their own judgement in the communication to LEO, but it would be irresponsible to disregard suspicions or take action in-flight.
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