Black Frontier Passenger Accused Of Trafficking Her White Sister

Black Frontier Passenger Accused Of Trafficking Her White Sister

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A few weeks ago I wrote about how a Delta passenger was accused of trafficking his special needs daughter. Well, now a Frontier passenger has been accused of trafficking her sister.

Frontier Airlines trafficking incident

Last Tuesday (July 20, 2021) a woman was traveling with her sister on Frontier Airlines from Denver to Dallas. 21-year-old Lakeyjanay Bailey (who is Black) was traveling with her four-year-old adoptive sister, Olivia (who is white).

The flight seemed totally normal to the sisters until they landed at DFW, where they were met by law enforcement. According to the incident report, Frontier Airlines allegedly requested that police investigate a passenger over concerns of human trafficking, as a female born in 2001 was traveling with a female born in 2017. There’s no indication that they exhibited any sort of odd behavior.

After being confronted, officers asked the younger sister if she knew what relation the 21-year-old had to her, along with a series of other questions. Officers then spoke with the mother of both girls, as well as a social worker, to confirm certain pieces of information. The police followed the sisters to baggage claim, before speaking to the person who picked them up.

Bailey believes that this was race related, and that if a white adult were traveling with a Black child, things would have been different. She’s now considering suing Frontier Airlines.

What Frontier Airlines has to say

Frontier Airlines has provided the following statement regarding the incident:

A concern was raised during the flight by another passenger who was sitting near the woman and child and suspected human trafficking. That passenger approached the flight crew with those concerns and subsequently completed a written report during the flight to document her observations. The captain was notified and felt an obligation to report the matter. Air travel is one of the most common means for human trafficking. Race played no part in the actions of the flight crew who were following established protocols

My take on this incident

This really sucks. I think it’s extremely obvious that race was the reason that this incident occurred — if a white 21-year-old were traveling with a young white child, no one would bat an eyelid.

What makes this incident slightly different than the Delta incident with a father and daughter is that in this case it wasn’t the crew that initially raised trafficking concerns, but rather another passenger. Airline crews are in theory trained to spot signs of human trafficking, though not well — in reality they just take a short course on it, at best.

Should the airline be given any more grace if it was another passenger reporting the incident, rather than a crew member? Should the crew have confronted the sisters and talked to them, rather than just calling the police? If the crew dismissed the incident and didn’t report, and it turned out that there was child trafficking going on, would the carrier then have some liability?

Look, I get the issue — human trafficking is a problem. However, the problem is that people often accuse others of this based on them appearing “different.” Rarely are white families where no one has special needs accused of trafficking. Rather more diverse families usually get accused of this. Some people don’t seem to realize that “different” isn’t the same thing as “suspicious.”

There will no doubt be those who say “well, better safe than sorry.” I think that’s really easy for us white people to say, who aren’t naturally viewed as being “suspicious.” For example, when a dark-skinned person gets removed from a plane for being “suspicious” due to speaking Arabic, does that also fall under the category of “better safe than sorry?” I’d say no…

Bottom line

A 21-year-old Black woman was traveling with her adoptive four-year-old sister on Frontier Airlines, and was accused of trafficking. Apparently a passenger brought this to the attention of the crew, and then the crew decided to have police meet the flight.

What a humiliating experience for both siblings. Sadly it’s not the first such story either…

What do you make of this incident?

(Tip of the hat to Your Mileage May Vary)

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  1. Angela Gathings

    Unfortunately, people see the world as good or bad. This thinking is why drug trafficking & human trafficking are so successful in the Greatest country in the world. Use the white lady or man to carry out illegal tasks because no one will suspect them. We know that poc are stereotyped before they even speak.
    The airlines did what they had to do, but my question is what behavior caused the passenger to suspect...

    Unfortunately, people see the world as good or bad. This thinking is why drug trafficking & human trafficking are so successful in the Greatest country in the world. Use the white lady or man to carry out illegal tasks because no one will suspect them. We know that poc are stereotyped before they even speak.
    The airlines did what they had to do, but my question is what behavior caused the passenger to suspect something? Merely existing like everyone else on the plane?

  2. Angela

    Thing like this should not be decided just because of race. I’m sure a trafficker would use a white woman to transport a white child knowing how Racist the world is duh. If I seen a black child with a white person as a black women I would question it also, Would that make me right no . The young lady should sue and she should win.

  3. James

    They should all just shut-up and leave the flying passengers alone.

    It's not any of their business to act as a policeman.

  4. Sayeed

    @kair Ahh....inconvenience....exactly what people told me when I had to go register with immigration after 9/11, even though I was well on my way to becoming an American, or a professor at a major university. Sure it's inconvenient, but what most of my pigmentally challenged brethren don't get, primarily because they never have to deal with these kinds of things, is the deep humiliation in all this. Unless you experience it, you wull never understand...

    @kair Ahh....inconvenience....exactly what people told me when I had to go register with immigration after 9/11, even though I was well on my way to becoming an American, or a professor at a major university. Sure it's inconvenient, but what most of my pigmentally challenged brethren don't get, primarily because they never have to deal with these kinds of things, is the deep humiliation in all this. Unless you experience it, you wull never understand how it makes you feel.

  5. Al

    I’m pretty sure that eyebrows might be equally raised if it was a white female teen with a young black child.

  6. Andrew

    The problem here, as in all of these cases of "better safe than sorry," is that the individual who is being wrongly accused bears the entire cost of this bullshit. I personally would not allow this, but since so many people think it's worth doing then I say that society should bear the cost. Falsely accused, harassed, embarrassed like in this case? Here's a check from the relevant government for $20,000. It's the cost of...

    The problem here, as in all of these cases of "better safe than sorry," is that the individual who is being wrongly accused bears the entire cost of this bullshit. I personally would not allow this, but since so many people think it's worth doing then I say that society should bear the cost. Falsely accused, harassed, embarrassed like in this case? Here's a check from the relevant government for $20,000. It's the cost of being "better safe..." This shouldn't even be controversial, individual people are being completely screwed over for the "benefit" of the masses, the least we can do is compensate those people "we" are wronging because of our desire to be safe rather than sorry. The alternative is that we are always sorry, (if you have a conscience) because doing this to someone is not free. It is better than human trafficking obviously, but there is a cost. I would not do this to 1,000 people to save one victim of human trafficking, you may have a different number, but at some point it's just not worth the cost. It's just easy for people to ignore the cost to others.

  7. Jay

    The report of potential child abduction was highly likely (if not obviously) racially related, as this and any person from a mixed race family knows. But still not sure what some airlines is supposed to do — if one passenger reports a stolen kid, how does the airline not pass that one (racially triggered or otherwise)?

  8. Space Doc

    Interesting situation.
    Not sure if race played a role, but I lived in Denver for 5 years. One of by far the most racist places I have ever lived. Even the "liberals" are racist. LOL! No kidding.

    1. Space Doc

      Texas is pretty racist, but at least they're nice about it. ;)

    2. dander

      I lived in Madison lots of liberal racists fyi not all of them were white either

  9. Michael

    We have four kids and travel overseas from the US twice a year, a lot of that time we split ourselves on multiple flights as redeeming 6 business class seats on the same flight is rough.

    Every single time at TSA, and again at US Immigration, each child is asked by the officer for their name and relation. We also have to provide proof of spousal consent if we border cross separately. Going into other...

    We have four kids and travel overseas from the US twice a year, a lot of that time we split ourselves on multiple flights as redeeming 6 business class seats on the same flight is rough.

    Every single time at TSA, and again at US Immigration, each child is asked by the officer for their name and relation. We also have to provide proof of spousal consent if we border cross separately. Going into other countries, it varies - France was really good, Mexico not so much. Driving across the border, same thing - the officer talks to the kids.

    My youngest son with a tan doesn't look anything like his mother, my oldest daughter is 18 shades lighter than me with a tan, by second daughter is my mini-me. The oldest son, is a ginger and doesn't look like anyone else in the family. Each one gets asked each time. I love it, I feel like my kids are safer for the screening questions. It has also become amazing to me that the shy one's pony up and offer all sorts of unsolicited information to the officers. Kids say the darndest things "yes, that is my Dad, and he is mad at Mom because she made us late to the check in desk and we won't get to get snacks if the plane is already boarding"; "we're flying to Paris because my Dad lives on the airplane and he wants to show us where he lives on the plane when he's not with Mom at home".

    They question because that is the right thing to do - if we can inconvenience folks with a few questions and save one life from the horrors of human trafficking, it is worth it.

    In this woman's case, it is likely that at check in and security that some casual questions happened - and I'm willing to bet the airport officers in Dallas were polite as always (Texas is just a friendly place to fly through). She should thank the airline and officers for looking after her little sister's safety. If there is anything we could fix about it, the officers should have some thing to hand over like a teddy bear to the little one during the inconvenience of answering questions and having a safety escort to the curbside. Or at minimum, let them ride on the police golf cart for fun to the baggage claim. If they were connecting, they would totally do that - but baggage claim is always close at DFW.

  10. Shayla

    YEAH, how sad that people are accussing the passenger of being racist. Surely, she saw all kinds of red flags that even though the crew was trained to spot, didn't see need for alarm. You know what she saw suspicious? A 20 yr old Black woman with a 4 yr old white child. And God knows if she's from Texas, that's all she had to see.

  11. Elijah

    Pray tell me folks, why would anyone choose to live anywhere but the US. LOL. There must be something in the water there as full of basket cases

  12. dander

    This happened to me when my then 15 year old son (who has the same skin tone as his mom) and I flew into canada. Customs literally asked me 20 questions. Only when they were satisfied that I wasn't trafficking my son were allowed to enter the country. Our daughter and then boyfriend were arriving minutes later. They got nothing more than a "welcome to Canada". To say that this wouldn't happen if she was...

    This happened to me when my then 15 year old son (who has the same skin tone as his mom) and I flew into canada. Customs literally asked me 20 questions. Only when they were satisfied that I wasn't trafficking my son were allowed to enter the country. Our daughter and then boyfriend were arriving minutes later. They got nothing more than a "welcome to Canada". To say that this wouldn't happen if she was white is a crock and I am proof of it. I wonder how mom would have felt if her child was kidnapped and no one questioned the adults. Enough of this false racism and humiliation. Sometimes the authorities get it wrong. Get over it

  13. Bob

    I would rather an incident occur that dragged race into it even if innocently than avoiding a possible race confrontation only for a real trafficking to occur.

    Have everyone registered for the flight like precheck prior to boarding. As unhumane and cold as that sounds its better than either race situation.

  14. Steve

    Much better to have an awkward conversation with a passenger than to lose a child to evil. It's not always about colour.

  15. Richard

    Ben

    I do not disagree with you that no one would probably question the situation if both people were white. But you also need to be honest with yourself and say no one would probably question the situation if both people were black. You should Give some consideration that this came into play because of the age differences and the race differences. Can you confidently say nobody would question an older white person traveling with...

    Ben

    I do not disagree with you that no one would probably question the situation if both people were white. But you also need to be honest with yourself and say no one would probably question the situation if both people were black. You should Give some consideration that this came into play because of the age differences and the race differences. Can you confidently say nobody would question an older white person traveling with a young Asian girl or a young Indian girl

  16. dalo

    I wonder if the airline has a legal obligation once a written report has been provided. It's difficult to assign motivation to the crew if that was the case. The motive of the passenger who reported might be questionable though.

  17. Sung

    I think the crew should have talk to them first, and if something still sounded fishy, then contact the police. I'm sure the suspicion was race based, but I don't think it was out of malice.
    These happens from time to time, and it is not just race, but it could be age, gender, etc.. The thing about if they were white no one would bat an eye is incorrect. I think people remember...

    I think the crew should have talk to them first, and if something still sounded fishy, then contact the police. I'm sure the suspicion was race based, but I don't think it was out of malice.
    These happens from time to time, and it is not just race, but it could be age, gender, etc.. The thing about if they were white no one would bat an eye is incorrect. I think people remember hotel contacting police of an old man and a young woman, which was father and daughter. One reality of life is that people see visual differences, like difference races, age differences, overweight/slender, black hair/blond hair, etc.. And in US people are raised under the "if something is suspicious, report it", " better safe than sorry" type.

  18. Tom Smith

    See something, say something? Isn't that what airlines are supposed to do?

    While there may have been (racial) motivations involved here, maybe it was just something you don't see very often and thus reportable.

    If it was an older while male with a teenage Asian girl, would everyone be upset it was reported? racist stereotype?

    We can't have it both ways. It is not very common to see a black female traveling with a white toddler. It was worthy of a few questions.

  19. Ole

    There is no doubt the outcome would have been different if older sister was white and younger was black as we all know whites are the saviors of blacks and humanity so they cannot ever be involved in human trafficking, especially of blacks.

  20. Brandon

    I agree with Eric and will not reiterate since he articulated well enough. The part that irks me was how little rationale was provided for "I think it’s extremely obvious that race was the reason that this incident occurred."

  21. derek

    I thought trafficking was mainly teens who are forced to travel for sex? Not likely a 3 year old.

  22. Eskimo

    YES this is because of having DIFFERENT RACE but NOT because of RACISM.

    Siblings with different race does raise a flag any day.
    A White 21 year old travelling with a Black 4 year old would have raised the same flags and get questioned.

    USA is taking this race card too far.
    Police isn't giving themselves a good rep either.

  23. Victor

    How much research should be conducted before raising concern about something suspicious? At the airport, we hear a recorded announcement reminding everyone to report things as suspicious as a bag that's not clearly in someone's possession. In today's news, there's a story of a plane was evacuated simply because a photo of a BB gun was sent to some passengers.

    The crime of human trafficking is horrible, and we owe it to potential victims to...

    How much research should be conducted before raising concern about something suspicious? At the airport, we hear a recorded announcement reminding everyone to report things as suspicious as a bag that's not clearly in someone's possession. In today's news, there's a story of a plane was evacuated simply because a photo of a BB gun was sent to some passengers.

    The crime of human trafficking is horrible, and we owe it to potential victims to do what we can to try and rescue them from those circumstances. The question boils down to: what level of certainty must be reached before it's appropriate to report and take action on something that may potentially be a case of trafficking?

    Sure, it's easy enough if the potential victim slips a note into a flight attendant's pocket, or notifies others of a crime in progress. But where do you draw the line when it's not that clearly obvious?

    I feel that the actions taken in this case were appropriate. Some questions were asked, and the mother was contacted. This is not a potential case of vandalism or shoplifting. There was a concern of the potential for a very serious crime for which victims suffer incredibly. To wait for 100% certainty that a crime is being committed before raising concerns would be to do an injustice to the victims of these crimes.

    1. Andrew

      Someone else has been victimized here. That little kid and her sister. Why don't you people care about them? Let's assume you don't care about the adult. Why should the kid be put through this? Certainly the victimization is less than actual human trafficking, much less, but it's not zero. And you've done this, with eyes open but no evidence, cloaked in your self-righteous zeal, you've harmed this child. You should be ashamed. You're a victimizer in your own right.

    2. Ray

      "Some questions were asked, and the mother was contacted. " Sounds to me like a whole lot of questions were asked to many people and knowing the brains in blue they did it in front of thousands of people probably traumatizing both the sisters. Maybe people need to be more sure something was wrong here and if something that truly led to the reporting passenger being suspicious it would have been published.

  24. Dan

    Unfortunately, if a passenger reports an issue like this and is willing to defend their concern and bring it up to the flight crew - the flight crew is obligated to relay the information and let the authorities investigate. It’s obvious a race issue because no one questions a white woman with a black child. It puts the crew in a very terrible situation.

  25. Jack Jones

    This could have nothing to do with race. We have no idea what events lead to the passenger reporting this. To assume it’s just about race is ridiculous. There could have easily been a strange conversation going on or other events that made the reporting passenger suspect. Let’s give this person the benefit of the doubt and not immediately jump into them being racist. This mentality that even mine is a racists is sad and inexcusable.

    1. Frank

      @Jack Jones

      You’re absolutely joking if you think race had no play in this. What do you think it was then?

      The clothes? The backpacks they brought on? And let’s not forget that this is Frontier, the clientele is typically not from the higher echelons, it’s typically the Karen’s or the BBQ Becky’s who call the police on Black people for having a BBQ at the park.

      Get a grip and stop living in some delusional fantasy where racism doesn’t exist.

    2. Eric

      Jack,

      Don't sweat Frank's response. It's obvious he sees race in everything and can't let it go. In his racist mind, he can't envision a world in which race is not the central focus of everything. And from his response above about Frontier, he apparently has an issue with poor people as well. They're not like the beautiful people in the "higher echelons."

    3. Ray

      @Jack Jones: how did that conversation go? Maybe: Black 4yo: "I am not having sex with any more men you send to me, they hurt me!" White Sister: " You will have sex with anyone I tell you or I will beat you. That is how we live and pay our bills."

      Please explain your take on this conversation because unless it went as above, there was no need to report the issue. The reporting passenger is a racist pure and simple.

  26. BigBen

    My partner and I were stopped at DFW after our kids were born in 2008. The kids were only a few months old and my husband was holding them while I went to the bathroom. Security called the DFW police department because the TSA agent “was concerned that 2 men and two young babies look suspicious.” The DFW police officer came over to my husband and questioned him. I wrote a letter to the DFW...

    My partner and I were stopped at DFW after our kids were born in 2008. The kids were only a few months old and my husband was holding them while I went to the bathroom. Security called the DFW police department because the TSA agent “was concerned that 2 men and two young babies look suspicious.” The DFW police officer came over to my husband and questioned him. I wrote a letter to the DFW police department and the TSA. The head of the TSA for DFW Airport called me and apologized. Unfortunately we have untrained people who make these decisions That can interfere with our civil liberties. Total BS.

  27. DenB

    Stories like this need to expose the actual accuser. If we all knew that making a false accusation had consequences, abusing one's power as a Flight attendant or police officer had consequences, they wouldn't approach situations like this as "risk-free" and "better safe than sorry". Bodycams for Flight Attendants? No, but the accuser should be named and given an opportunity to explain, in front of cameras, why they felt so strongly about theiur suspicions that...

    Stories like this need to expose the actual accuser. If we all knew that making a false accusation had consequences, abusing one's power as a Flight attendant or police officer had consequences, they wouldn't approach situations like this as "risk-free" and "better safe than sorry". Bodycams for Flight Attendants? No, but the accuser should be named and given an opportunity to explain, in front of cameras, why they felt so strongly about theiur suspicions that they were willing to subject an innocent to interrogation and humiliation. Accusers should never, ever, be anonymous. That includes the pax who was "concerned".

  28. Charles

    Wait. Was the passenger that reported to the FA white or Black? Don’t we need this key piece of information?

  29. John T

    What on earth does this have to do with points and miles.

    1. Nick

      You're in the News section, bro.

  30. Eric

    @Lucky,

    Dude, step back from the brink. With no other amplifying information "I think it’s extremely obvious that race was the reason that this incident occurred." So any antagonistic confrontation between individuals of differing races, with not other details, is clearly racism. Maybe it was. Could be. But we don't know that. Inner biases showing much?

    Second, and even worse, reread what you have implied. Better that a few more children get human trafficked than...

    @Lucky,

    Dude, step back from the brink. With no other amplifying information "I think it’s extremely obvious that race was the reason that this incident occurred." So any antagonistic confrontation between individuals of differing races, with not other details, is clearly racism. Maybe it was. Could be. But we don't know that. Inner biases showing much?

    Second, and even worse, reread what you have implied. Better that a few more children get human trafficked than potentially risk offending someone? If we've reached the point where a flight crew gets a tip on human trafficking, sees the indiviuals involved and says to themselves "ooh, this could potentially get sticky, better not say anything" we have real problems. A lot of people push back against woke thinking for legitimately racist reasons. But many people who aren't racists see stuff like this implying that a few more children being trafficked is just the cost of doing business so we don't offend anyone and can't help but think it's collectively gone too far.

    1. DenB

      Better to let a thousand guilty go free than convict one innocent. Can't have civilization or freedom without that principle.

    2. Eric

      DenB,

      That's true, but that's not really what's going on here. No one went to jail or got convicted of anything. In this case, your statement would more accurately be "better to let a few children get human trafficked than have one innocent answer a few questions, show some ID and be on their way."

    3. Frank

      @Eric

      Lol get a grip. What other factors do you think could be in play?

      The fact that you’re so defensive over this is frankly not shocking tbh. People love to glaze over the fact that they have internal biases and thinks it’s the norm.

      Your internal biases are obviously showing

  31. Matt Soleyn

    In the USA the police do not have a right to just question anyone.

    1. Richard

      False. You have a right not to answer their questions, though there may be consequences (not necessarily legal, but certainly loss of time and money) to not doing so. If you don't believe me, try it out and report back.

  32. Sean M.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    The airline acted appropriately here. Once the passenger files a written complaint, there is an obligation to report the matter to the authorities.

    The solution, as with most things related to acceptance of those who appear outwardly different, is time and exposure. The more people see mixed families, the less likely they are to assume the worst on that basis alone.

    1. Kair

      I agree with this.
      And I do think it is better safe than sorry for matters like this.
      It would be an inconvenience but if I am wrongly accused but I can prove the accusers wrong, it shouldn't humiliate me. It should humiliate them.

    2. Andrew

      It doesn't humiliate them, they don't care. They see themselves as heroes. The minute you have to "prove yourself innocent" we have a big problem in this country. Which we do, because too many of us only care about the fundamental values of this country as they apply to us and our close friends and family and care not a bit about when they apply to anyone else.

    3. Miles Ahead

      "Should" be a lot of things. I'd be pissed for having my time wasted after deplaning because of some idiot's prejudice. I agree 100% with Ben.

    4. Ole

      As an experiment, why don’t you let me know details of your next flight with your kids. I’ll make sure to report that as a possible human trafficking and then we’ll talk about better safe than sorry. It’s very easy to make such arguments when it doesn’t happen to you.

    5. dander

      Its happened to me. I for one am glad that they take trafficking seriously

  33. Sir Walter Raleigh

    Horrible. Karen needed to mind her business

    1. Eric

      Racist much?

      Mind your own business? It was something they don't see often.

Featured Comments Load all 51 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Eric

@Lucky, Dude, step back from the brink. With no other amplifying information "I think it’s extremely obvious that race was the reason that this incident occurred." So any antagonistic confrontation between individuals of differing races, with not other details, is clearly racism. Maybe it was. Could be. But we don't know that. Inner biases showing much? Second, and even worse, reread what you have implied. Better that a few more children get human trafficked than potentially risk offending someone? If we've reached the point where a flight crew gets a tip on human trafficking, sees the indiviuals involved and says to themselves "ooh, this could potentially get sticky, better not say anything" we have real problems. A lot of people push back against woke thinking for legitimately racist reasons. But many people who aren't racists see stuff like this implying that a few more children being trafficked is just the cost of doing business so we don't offend anyone and can't help but think it's collectively gone too far.

Kair

I agree with this. And I do think it is better safe than sorry for matters like this. It would be an inconvenience but if I am wrongly accused but I can prove the accusers wrong, it shouldn't humiliate me. It should humiliate them.

Sean M.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. The airline acted appropriately here. Once the passenger files a written complaint, there is an obligation to report the matter to the authorities. The solution, as with most things related to acceptance of those who appear outwardly different, is time and exposure. The more people see mixed families, the less likely they are to assume the worst on that basis alone.

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