Miami is in the final preparations for this year’s Super Bowl, but miles away from where the game will kick off, Miami International Airport workers are keeping an eye out for human trafficking.
Airport employees are working with the Department of Homeland Security on how to spot potential human trafficking victims.
“Florida is a state with the third highest rate of per capita calls regarding human trafficking. So we thought it was important to teach our employees on the indicators of human trafficking,” Indira Pardilla, Public Relations Officer at the Miami International Airport said.
“In my area we’re looking for anything, whether it is a cell phone, a package, for anything out of place, for me, it’s a red flag,” Christian Fernandez, Terminal and Security Supervisor at the Miami International Airport said.
Over 600 airport employees are on board with the training, looking to identify certain behaviors such as a lack of eye contact, a story that doesn’t add up, or a fear of security workers.
“Anybody that comes in, that looks out of place, we identify those individuals, we’re trying to make contact with them and be able to make sure that those individuals are okay to be here,” Fernandez said.
Customs and Border Patrol agents say for national security events like the Super Bowl, it’s also game day for them.
“Anytime you have an event that that attracts, I would say, high income participants, it might be prone to certain situations such as illicit crime, criminal activity,” Michael Silva, Customs and Border Protection Public Affairs Liaison said.
The hope is to stop trafficking on the front-lines of entry.
“If you see somebody that their freedom is being kept from them, they’re not allowed to move freely, they’re not allowed to express themselves freely, and you see that somebody else is holding onto their documents. You know, we say use your sixth instinct,” Silva said.
Airport officials say they’ll be on high alert the week leading up to the Super Bowl. They’re also expecting about 50,000 more passengers than usual the day after the game.
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