Signature Aviation Joins Support Groups, Government Agencies, and Law Enforcement to Combat Human Trafficking

The aviation services company plans to use its large operational footprint to raise awareness of the pervasive crime.

FBO operator Signature Aviation is using increased air travel around the Super Bowl to draw attention to human trafficking at airports. [Jonathan Welsh]

Signature Aviation said it has taken several steps to use its large network of FBOs and aviation services operations to help combat human trafficking and raise awareness of the illegal activity in and around airports.

The Orlando, Florida-headquartered company said it is supporting government and law enforcement agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporate groups in their efforts to detect, track, and curb human trafficking. The announcement coincides with the annual increase in public awareness of private aviation that occurs as people travel to Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday in Las Vegas in personal, corporate, and charter aircraft.

“Signature is the largest network of private aviation terminals in the world, which gives us a unique opportunity to help combat human trafficking,” said Tony Lefebvre, CEO of Signature. “The International Organization for Migration has stated that nearly 80 percent of international human trafficking journeys cross through official border control points, including airports. That makes this an incredibly important and relevant issue for us, and one where we have the ability to make a tangible difference.”

The company said its collaboration efforts include signing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s pledge for Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking, a program under which transport organizations work to increase awareness and educate their employees about the pervasive crime. Signature also joined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Lightning Initiative for training aviation personnel to identify possible traffickers and their victims.

Signature became a corporate sponsor of nonprofit Covenant House, which provides support for young people facing crises including the effects of human trafficking. The company is also sponsoring the Freedom Aviation Network, a nonprofit that provides air transportation for survivors of human trafficking. The group has made 85 flights and transported more than 100 passengers since 2022.

Signature is also partnering with the American Association of Airport Executives to develop training programs to address human trafficking tailored to those working in general and business aviation.

“Private aviation operators are on the frontlines of the fight to end human trafficking,” said Michael Camal, senior engagement manager with the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking. “We are grateful that Signature is leveraging its vast resources and global workforce to combat this heinous crime.”

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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