Passengers make their way through Montreal–Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Saturday, December 19, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Passengers make their way through Montreal–Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Saturday, December 19, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Passengers make their way through Montreal–Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Saturday, December 19, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes Passengers make their way through Montreal–Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Saturday, December 19, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Alberta RCMP work with Edmonton International Airport to target human trafficking

‘Human trafficking is happening in Alberta and it’s coming through our airports’

Alberta RCMP Federal Policing Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET), the Alberta RCMP Serious Crimes Branch, and the Action Coalition on Trafficking (ACT) Alberta have partnered together as a response to human trafficking in the province. Together the partnership developed a specialized training program at the Edmonton International Airport (EIA).

The program launched in January 2021 and aims to teach law enforcement and airport staff how to identify and take action against human trafficking activity as it comes in and out of the province.

“Human trafficking is happening in Alberta and it’s coming through our airports,” says Interim Executive Director and Education Training Lead with ACT, Jessica Brandon.

“As the eyes and ears of air travel, it’s critical that airport staff, security, and law enforcement have a streamlined response when instances of human trafficking are suspected. Staff will hear survivor perspectives, learn how the crime impacts air travel, and ultimately take away actions to prevent and disrupt trafficking through transportation systems at the EIA.”

RCMP detachment members and EIA security and staff will be trained to detect potential trafficking activity and learn intervention protocols.

“Trafficking and exploitation are criminal violations of human rights that often target the most vulnerable in our communities. Human trafficking is a widespread issue across Canada – Alberta being no exception,” says Cst. Kristin Appleton with Alberta RCMP Serious Crimes Branch.

“The Alberta RCMP is pleased to partner with ACT Alberta in collaboration with the Edmonton International Airport to address this serious crime type.”

Trainees in the program will be given the tools necessary to handle victim encounters in a safe and sensitive manner.

The program’s goal was to train a total of 200 employees by April 2021, which the program has already surpassed with over 300 employees currently trained and additional sessions still planned.