A white mother from California says she was accused of human trafficking while traveling with her biracial daughter on Southwest Airlines.
Mary MacCarthy and her 10-year-old Moira were flying to Denver on Oct. 22 after Mary’s brother’s death, and during a transfer in San Jose, she claims flight attendants said they’d “each have to take a middle seat” on the plane, CNN reports.
While other passengers moved for them, MacCarthy said she and Moira were greeted by Denver police upon their eventual arrival.
“[Moira] was terribly frightened: she was already experiencing the trauma of her uncle’s death, and she is scared of police due to constant headlines about how police treat Black people (she is Black),” MacCarthy wrote in an email to the airline. “She began to sob and was inconsolable.”
She said that police met with the two because people felt they were “acting suspiciously before boarding and while boarding,” according to MacCarthy, so she grabbed her phone “immediately started recording.”
CNN shares that a report from Denver police claims it was a “possible Human Trafficking reported by South West flight attendant,” which MacCarthy found out about two weeks later when she got a call from the Denver Police human trafficking unit to check in.
“I gave the airline plenty of time to contact me and apologize—over two weeks later, I’ve yet to receive anything more than two brief automated responses. The time for an apology is long past,” said MacCarthy, who is accusing Southwest of racially profiling her daughter.
She has since emailed Southwest, asking for a written apology and “additional compensation to account for the trauma imposed on an innocent family, and especially on a grieving 10-year-old Black girl.”
“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,” Southwest Airlines spokesperson Dan Landson told CNN. “Our Employees undergo robust training on Human Trafficking. Above all, Southwest Airlines prides itself on providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for the millions of Customers who travel with us each year.”
The claims against Southwest come over three months after a Black woman in Colorado said Frontier Airlines racially profiled her and accused her of trafficking her white 4-year-old sister. Lakeyjanay Bailey, 21, said she was met by authorities after she and her sister landed in Dallas.