/ AirAsia Philippines, stakeholders, join hands vs. human trafficking
AirAsia Philippines’ PAA-TALK session – internal talk series shared and highlighted the best practices from BI, NBI, and MIAA in profiling, identifying, and handling possible victims of human trafficking. The World’s Best Low-Cost Airline deemed the topic necessary despite the fact that the Philippines remained as among the top countries recognized by the U.S. State Department for meeting its standard in eliminating human trafficking.
“AirAsia Philippines is one with the government in safeguarding our fellow Filipinos against human trafficking. There will be no room for complacency. To ensure the safety of our guests, we have 20,000 Allstars across ASEAN trained to identify signs of human trafficking during check-in procedures and onboard flights,” AirAsia Philippines Communications and Public Affairs Country Head First Officer Steve Dailisan said.
Data from the Bureau of Immigration revealed that 6,000 Filipinos were suspected to have fallen victim to human trafficking for the first two months of 2023 alone. Of the said figure, only 0.6% were offloaded while the rest continued with their journey ending in other ASEAN countries and the Middle East.
MIAA Assistant General Manager for Security and Emergency Services Manuel Gonzales said international airport terminals, NAIA Terminals 1 and 3 are the usual gateway used by human traffickers victimizing mostly women and children.
For this reason, Airport Police are being trained to implement thorough inspection and surveillance. “We know that handling fraudulent travel documents happens before the victim enters the airport and even inside the terminal. We will intensify our monitoring and policing to save more Filipinos against human trafficking,” he said.
Immigration Spokesperson Dana Sandoval commended AirAsia’s efforts to combat human trafficking,saying the face of human trafficking has changed throughout the years.
Sandoval added that the bureau has also stepped up in its efforts to save human trafficking victims.
“We value our airline partners’ work in screening victims posing as legit travelers. For this reason, we also seek the understanding of travelers, especially those undergoing stringent verification by our Immigration Officials (IO). They should present themselves and allow them to be processed by our IOs,” she said.
National Bureau of Investigation International Airport Investigation Division Acting Chief Jimmy De Leon stressed the important role of airline personnel as the first line of defense against human trafficking. He added that being proactive is the key in saving lives.
“Forty individuals were saved for the month of August alone. Imagine the number of lives we will save if the airlines and the Inter-Agency Task Force will strongly work together,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines showed support for the new travel guidelines, requiring guests to present more travel documents.
“We fully support the government’s intensified drive against human trafficking and understand the wisdom of our partners in its implementation to create a safer travel landscape for all. In fact, we too are strengthening awareness and training measures among our Allstars (employees) as part of our robust efforts to prevent and clampdown on trafficking across air travel,” Dailisan said.
“AirAsia has always been dedicated to enabling safe, seamless, and accessible travel experiences together with our partners in government. As a key airline bridging connectivity across the Philippines, ASEAN, and beyond, AirAsia Philippines remains dedicated to continually engaging all our stakeholders as we collectively work towards improving the travel and tourism industry and serving the best interests of every Filipino”, he added.
Dailisan said “Preventing Human Trafficking” is AirAsia’s third PAA-TALK internal talk series which is also part of the airline’s Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility that also addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).