How the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is helping stop human trafficking

human trafficking signs in the birmingham airport
Junior League of Birmingham and Birmingham Airport Authority Announce Partnership to help stop human trafficking. Photo by Chaise Sanders for BhamNow.

Did you know January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month? The effort to end this issue doesn’t stop there. An estimated 5,000 people are trafficked through Birmingham each month. The Birmingham Airport Authority along with local partners aim to change this alarming statistic. Here’s how.

Simple yet extremely effective signage

airport trafficking signs
These are what the signs look like in every stall. Photo by Chaise Sanders for Bham Now.

The Junior League of Birmingham takes the issue of human trafficking very seriously and have taken efforts to develop a simple yet effective way to educate and bring awareness to the issue.

By partnering with the Birmingham Airport Authority and ¡HICA!, the Junior League of Birmingham developed signage to aid human trafficking victims. These signs are in every single bathroom stall and are also scattered around Birmingham’s airport terminals.

Signs are in English and Spanish and provide victims with a 24/7 direct phone number to Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign hotline. They also educate passengers on how to identify victims.

Doug Gilmer, resident agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, encourages people to report any suspicious activity they may notice. Thanks to the many informative signs spread throughout the Birmingham Airport, people will be better equipped with the information necessary to help victims.

We would rather be wrong and check something than not check something out and fail.

Ronald Mathieu, CEO of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport

Importance of signs in the bathroom stalls

According to the Junior League of Birmingham, the restroom is often the only time human trafficking victims will have alone. This area is the only space they have to themselves and only time they could reach out for help.

Doug Gilmer reports that the commercial sex industry is estimated to be $110 million annually in Bham . This number does not include strip clubs, illicit massage parlors or minors involved in sex trafficking.

Each year, two million children experience trafficking with the average age being 15 years old. Unfortunately for boys, the average age is often even younger.

If these statistics shock you as much as it shocked me, this proves why the signage is so important. Thanks to the Junior League of Birmingham and Airport Authority partnership, the informative signs could help diminish human trafficking.

If you know any local associations working to end human trafficking, let us know on social @BhamNow.

Chaise Sanders
Chaise Sanders
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