Photo Credit: Miguel Angel Sanz
White Mother Flying With Her Black Daughter Suspected Of Human Trafficking
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant reported a white mother and her 10-year-old Black daughter to police, suspecting the mother of human trafficking, according to CBS News. The incident occurred on October 22 as Mary MacCarthy and her daughter Moira were traveling from Los Angeles to Denver following the death of MacCarthy’s brother.
“I’m a single mom. He’s like a father figure to my daughter,” said MacCarthy, “So we were both very much in shock. We hadn’t slept. It wasn’t the easiest travel.”
Upon landing in Denver, the family was stopped by two Denver police officers along with an employee of Southwest Airlines. MacCarthy was made aware that a flight attendant who had been working their flight found the family suspicious and suspected that they were involved in human trafficking.
The flight attendant claimed she found the two suspicious because they had boarded the plane last and asked to switch seats with other passengers on board so that they would be able to sit next to one another.
The Southwest flight attendant also claimed she did not see MacCarthy and her daughter talk to each other on the plane, and that MacCarthy had ordered the girl not to speak to the plane’s flight crew.
MacCarthy said the flight attendant’s accusations about her and her daughter not speaking and her telling her not to talk to the flight crew are untrue. She also said once she found out the reason they’d been stopped, she instantly knew it was a racial profiling situation.
“Throughout the encounter, my daughter was sobbing,” said MacCarthy, “and I told them, ‘Look, we’re traveling for a death, and she’s a Black girl who’s 10 but looks much older than she is. She unfortunately already has had charged encounters with police. Any kid’s going to be scared in a situation like this.’”
According to the police report, the accusations were unfounded and the case closed. MacCarthy now wants an apology from Southwest, but has yet to receive one.
“We were disheartened to learn of this mother’s account when traveling with her daughter,” the airline said in a statement to NBC News. “We are conducting a review of the situation internally, and we will be reaching out to the customer to address her concerns and offer our apologies for her experience traveling with us.”
MacCarthy said the incident has left her family “deeply traumatized by the assumption that just because we don’t have the same skin color, we’re involved in a very serious crime.”
“Before you call the police, stop and check your own possible biases. We should all be more educated than that and more sensitive now in 2021,” she said.
MacCarthy has hired a lawyer, David Lane, who told NBC News he thinks the issue is a civil rights violation.
“Had this little girl been white, there would have been not a raised eyebrow,” said Lane. “So race was the only factor that triggered this call to the police. It’s Southwest Airlines that I have an issue with…they are causing a paying customer of theirs to have to undergo the trauma of being stopped by the police in question like this, for no reason other than the race of Mary and that of her daughter.”