A Colorado woman says that the airline racially profiled her while traveling with her adopted sibling
A Colorado woman alleges that employees from Frontier Airlines racially profiled her and falsely accused her of sex trafficking after a passenger on a flight expressed concerns about her traveling with her sister.
According to reports, Tuesday, when Lakeyjanay Bailey and her white adoptive sister, Olivia’s flight arrived at Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport they were intercepted by authorities at the gate.
“There were two police officers, and they came up to me and said, ‘Is it okay if we talk to you?’” recalled Bailey.
She then says one officer asked her 4-year-old sister Olivia, “if she knows me and what am I to her, and he asked what my mom was to her,” along with a myriad of other questions meant to determine if she was in harm’s way while traveling with the 21-year-old.
Lakeyjanay Bailey and her adoptive sister Olivia (Credit: Denver7)
“The whole time they were talking with us, people kept staring at us, whispering and stuff,” Bailey said.
A DFW Department of Public Safety incident report confirmed that the officers were responding to a request from Frontier Airlines for law enforcement to be present at the gate due to a complaint about a “possible human trafficking incident involving a female born in 2001 who was traveling with a female born in 2017.”
Bailey said the officers requested to speak to her mother and a social worker to confirm her story, followed her and her sister to baggage claim, and even came along to speak with the person who picked them up.
The young woman believes the hyper-focus she received was an obvious case of racial profiling, saying, “If the roles were changed and it was a white person walking off the plane with a Black person, like a Black child, I feel like things would be different.”
A Frontier airlines plane lands at the Miami International Airport on June 16, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
In response to the allegations, Frontier Airlines provided a statement.
“A concern was raised during the flight by another passenger who was sitting near the woman and child and suspected human trafficking,” the correspondence read. “That passenger approached the flight crew with those concerns and subsequently completed a written report during the flight to document her observations.
The captain was notified and felt an obligation to report the matter. Air travel is one of the most common means for human trafficking. Race played no part in the actions of the flight crew who were following established protocols.”
Despite the assurance that what took place was out of an abundance of concern, Bailey said she and her family are considering filing a lawsuit against Frontier Airlines for targeting her on the basis of race.
While authorities were vigilant in making sure the young white child was safe during this incident, recently while speaking with the theGrio, Toni D. Rivera, a sex trafficking survivor who is using her life story to save others, explained that African American girls and women are by far the most trafficked group.
Rivera said this is “because we’re not going to get looked for as much as the Caucasian community—we’re just not.”
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