National Academies Press: OpenBook

Economic and Social Sustainability at Airports (2019)

Chapter: Keynote Address

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Suggested Citation:"Keynote Address." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Economic and Social Sustainability at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25597.
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Page 7

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7 Keynote Address Airports’ Role in Mitigating Human Trafficking Davina Durgana, Walk Free Foundation Davina Durgana Slavery Index, presented a keynote address that focused on human trafficking and modern slavery7. Durgana noted that the Freedom Fund looks at hot spots for these issues. She presented results of surveys concerning modern slavery and noted that modern slavery includes forced marriage. She noted that child marriage is not necessarily the same as forced marriage. Modern slavery has a commercial connection. Durgana noted that there are language barriers to understanding laws and individual rights that often prevent individuals from seeking help. She noted that modern slavery is a concern of the Sustainable Development Goals 8.7, 16.2, and 17 of the United Nations. The statistics around modern slavery indicate that 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, 24.9 million people were in forced labor, and 15.4 million in forced marriage. More than 71% of these individuals are female. Durgana noted that forced labor occurred at both the state and private levels; various states have prison labor that fits this description. She indicated that the biggest reason enslaved people remain in servitude is withheld wages. Durgana noted that forced marriage starts with isolation. A person is pulled from school and isolated from friends and authority figures, with the goal of being returned to the country of origin for marriage. She noted that the UK organization Karma Nirvana supports victims. She encouraged airports and airlines to examine their supply chain, as many companies do not pay a living wage, so that contractors sleep at the airport. Durgana introduced Nancy Rivard, who formed Airline Ambassadors International. Airline Ambassadors has an internationally recognized program to educate people on human trafficking. Rivard noted that the organization has a tool kit for airports. Each airport has a different way of addressing this issue. If staff suspect a situation such as trafficking, they don’t always know to whom or how to report it. Durgana and Rivard were asked what to look for in such situations. They suggested that fearful, submissive behavior is a good indicator, whereby the person does not make eye contact. Often, a person being trafficked will defer to someone else to answer questions. The individual may not know where he or she is traveling to, will have overt branding (clothes, tattoo), and have conspicuously little luggage. They may also be intimidated by authority figures, such as police and border protection agents.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Conference Proceedings on the Web 23: Economic and Social Sustainability at Airports is a compilation of the presentations and a summary of the ensuing discussions at May 7-8, 2018, forum in Washington, D.C.

The meeting brought together individuals from airports, airlines, academia, consulting, local and regional government, general sustainability professionals, and others. The forum included sessions on social sustainability, economic sustainability, keynotes on mitigating human trafficking and innovative development at airports, and interactive breakout discussions delving into myriad social and economic sustainability topics.

ACRP organized the event as part of its series of convening activities titled “ACRP Insight Events.” ACRP Insight Events are forums that foster dialogue among professionals across sectors, institutions, and industries.

ACRP Insight Events convene airport industry leaders and subject matter experts in various fields to encourage discussion and promote broader and deeper insight on topics of significance to airport operators. These in-depth, face-to-face gatherings are designed to promote communication and collaboration, foster innovation, and help identify areas of future interest and research, especially for topics of emerging importance.

Copies of the slides of presentations made at the form are available online. The literature review prepared for the event is also available online.

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