A white woman says Southwest Airlines questioned her about human trafficking while traveling with her 10-year-old biracial daughter.
Mary MacCarthy alleges two police officers and a Southwest employee believed she was a human trafficker when traveling with her daughter, Moira, from San Jose to Denver.
After booking last minute tickets, MacCarthy states she tried to get assistance from the flight attendants to help her sit beside her daughter, but they ultimately declined. But passengers were understanding and allowed her to switch seats.
MacCarthy also states that when she landed, officers and an employee of Southwest Airlines were waiting to speak to her. According to footage seen by CBS LA, one Southwest employee stated “flight attendants were concerned about her behavior when she boarded the flight.”
“I was absolutely certain that we had been racially profiled but I have other things to worry about. I didn’t give it too much thought beyond that until 10 days later,” she told CBS LA.
She then received a call from the Denver Police Department about an alleged claim that she’s a human trafficker.
According to a police report obtained by CBS LA, the document states that she “acted nervously on the flight, did not speak to her daughter and prevented her from speaking with the flight crew.” The mother denies the claims.
“They saw a white mother, they saw a child with a different skin tone and said that’s suspicious, that could be a crime and we’re reporting that. That’s not OK. This is the United States of America in 2021,” MacCarthy said.
A Southwest spokesperson released a statement that expressed the company is focused on creating an “inclusive” environment for customers. It also stated that their employees are trained on human trafficking.
“We were disheartened to learn of this mother’s account when traveling with her daughter,” the spokesperson said Friday. “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.”