Biracial Daughter

White Mom Sues Airline After Being Racially Profiled While Traveling With Biracial Daughter

A white woman accused of “human trafficking” while traveling with her biracial daughter is taking legal action.

The woman, identified as Mary MacCarthy, is suing Southwest Airlines for the incident that happened on October 22, 2021, CBS News reports. Denver police stopped the mother and daughter after traveling to the state for a funeral for MacCarthy’s brother.

“The officers informed them that they wanted to question Plaintiff MacCarthy and her daughter because a Southwest Airlines employee had reported them as suspicious and Plaintiff MacCarthy as a potential human trafficker,” according to the legal complaint. 

The woman said she and her daughter suffered “extreme emotional distress.” MacCarthy also claimed in the lawsuit that her daughter does not speak when the incident is discussed, according to CBS NewsMacCarthy’s daughter, identified as Plaintiff M.M. in the lawsuit, was 10 at the time of the incident.

“We were disheartened to learn of this mother’s account when traveling with her daughter,” a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said, according to CBS News.

The woman’s attorney said the mom and daughter were victimized because of their race. “This is the type of situation that mixed‐race families and families of color face all too frequently while traveling,” the lawsuit states.

Flight attendants are taught to watch for signs of human trafficking in the skies. Keturah Johnson, international vice president for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, believes training is important for appropriately spotting signs of trafficking.

“Training is in place for more than a hundred-thousand flight attendants, and I think it’s important to know that all of us when we travel, can also be eyes in the skies,” Johnson said in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce panel

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Blue Lighting Initiative (BLI) trains personnel in aviation to spot potential traffickers and human trafficking victims. The initiative is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign to teach law enforcement, the public, and others how to recognize the signs of trafficking.