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British pilot helps launch anti-slavery masterclass

British pilots are taking steps to tackle human trafficking and modern slavery by taking part in a first-of-its-kind masterclass on the subject.

Captain Martin Drake, Chair of the BALPA Security Committee, joined forces with the University of West London and KimAnn Williamson MBE from the Criminal Prosecution Service, for the seminar “Combatting Modern Slavery in the Aviation Industry”.

Over 80 students hoping to enter the industry, joined in the discussion to look at the measures airports and airlines are taking to help international law enforcement combat this crime.

At the same time BALPA is making pilots aware of the issue and advising them to consider what they can do to tackle the problem. The union is advising members that if they are informed that there is a suspected case of human trafficking, they should take it seriously and follow company procedures if there are any. If not, pilots should tell air traffic control if airborne and if on the ground ring the human slavery hotline: 08000 121 700

This BALPA blog explores the issue and advice to pilots further.

Captain Drake, said:

“Aviation is often referred to as the business of freedom, transporting people all over the world. However, it is also an industry that can unwittingly facilitate modern slavery.

“In recent months I’ve met with the UK border agencies and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to learn more about the issue of slavery and I was surprised by how prevalent it is. It is a problem that must be tackled now – and we can begin by educating people and enabling them to recognise the problem.

“That’s why it was so good to see the students gathering to learn about the subject, find out what it actually is and look at how the aviation industry as a whole can be active in tackling the issue.

“I believe slavery is being taken seriously by regulators, and as pilots we need to consider how we can have an impact.

“Our job is to transport people safely and we take this extremely seriously. While we are not police officers or border agency officials, the information pilots can relay to those agencies could very well prevent someone’s life being ruined for ever.

“That’s why BALPA is getting involved in these masterclasses, to make people aware of this issue and ultimately have a real impact on this horrible crime.”

More information:

If you see something that you are concerned about contact the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700