Airline crew to spot trafficking

The first airline in the UK to train cabin crew to spot and report signs of human trafficking on flights was today hailed a success.

Virgin Atlantic is providing its staff with special training on identifying those who may be engaged in trafficking and their potential victims and how to report them to the authorities before arrival in the UK.

It is the first airline to work with the UK Border Agency on training cabin crew.

Immigration minister Damian Green met Virgin staff who have signed up to the initiative at Heathrow Airport to mark Anti-Slavery Day.

He said: "Its absolutely essential that frontline staff are aware of it and can recognise it so they can warn the UK Border Agency so that we can take effective action against what is a horrible crime.

"It will make us more effective at spotting the first signs of trafficking and it will also act as a deterrent.

"I am delighted that Virgin have blazed a trail on this and I very much hope that other airlines that fly into the UK will follow suit because they can do a huge deal of good."

Around 150 Virgin staff have signed up to the initiative, which involves an electronic learning package to teach cabin crew the signs to look out for during a flight.

Jade Campbell, 33, a Virgin cabin crew member who has completed the training, said: "Its nice to have some background knowledge and to understand something that we are not very familiar with, that's maybe a bit daunting.

"When we are on board we do engage with people so if something doesn't ring right we will now have the confidence to report it.

"It's something we should be looking at as crew and it can only be a positive thing."