The staff at Manchester Airport are being trained to spot the signs of human trafficking, The Manchester Evening News said in an online report.
The training project encourages front-line immigration staff, as well as other workers across the terminals, including cleaners and baggage handlers, to report any concerns. As per the plan, workers are being asked to look out for vulnerable men, women and children who could be brought into the country illegally.
Warning signs could be in body language, appearance, including physical evidence of abuse, or there could be clues in the way that people speak, as well as group dynamics.
The training scheme was guided by the Reverend George Lane, airport chaplain, as part of his passenger welfare remit.
Hannah Flint, a volunteer for charity, Stop the Traffik, and who assisted a training session run along with the airport, Border Force, GMP, the Home Office, and who also set-up marriage charity, Saheli, said: ‘It’s a whole day training staff to be alert. There were about 70 people there from all jobs in the airport.
‘There are all kinds of signs to look for. We’ve had incidents where air stewardesses have overheard children being told to go over their lines, their stories for who they are and where they have come from.
‘I think events like this will become more high profile and staff will be strongly encouraged to attend.’
Tricia Williams, the airport’s customer services director, said: ‘We often work with a range of agencies, including the police and UK Border Force, to ensure our security staff are playing their part in the security of our passengers and that can include issues such as trafficking.
As the UK’s third busiest airport we have a role to play in ensuring the safety and well-being of all of our passengers, and our airport security officers are central to these efforts.’
Pc Fiona Jay, community beat officer at the airport, said: ‘We need to have more awareness of the signs – people turning up who don’t look like family members, young children coming in – and use our instincts. You get to know what’s normal.
‘Anything that looks unusual, strange or other than the norm should be reported. We are very much raising awareness because we don’t want to miss crucial signs.’
According to government estimates, more than 5,000 women in the UK are being trafficked, many for sexual exploitation, the report said.