southwest is being sued after suspecting a mother of human trafficking

Mother Sues Southwest Over “Blatant Racism” and Human Trafficking Accusation

A woman is suing Southwest for “blatant racism.” She alleges that the airline accused her of human trafficking when she was traveling with her biracial daughter.

Mary MacCarthy, a white woman, was with her biracial 10-year-old daughter on October 22, 2021. According to a complaint filed on Thursday, they flew to Denver for a funeral after the sudden death of MacCarthy’s older brother.

MacCarthy recounted how two armed officers from the Denver Police Department met them after landing at the airport. Apparently, Southwest staff alerted the authorities suspecting MacCarthy of human trafficking.

In an email that she wrote to Southwest, she described  the shock she felt. She wrote, “I thought that someone else in my family had died and that police had been sent to deliver the news!”

Racial Profiling and Human Trafficking

MacCarthy said in her email that the police frightened her daughter.  She revealed that her daughter was afraid of the police after seeing headlines of the police treating black individuals badly.

Eventually, the police allowed MacCarthy and her daughter to leave after showing identification and explaining why she’s traveling.  Because of the incident, MacCarthy claims she and her daughter experienced “extreme emotional distress.” She now wants economic and compensatory damages along with punitive and exemplary damages.

According to David Lane, MacCarthy’s lawyer, they want to hold the airline accountable for their actions. MacCarthy also wants Southwest to reevaluate their training and policies.

Lane said that “In using racial profiling to cause the Denver police to stop innocent travelers, Southwest Airlines has attempted to address the serious crime of sex-trafficking through use of a stereotypical, easy formula.” Lane added that “Just as the police are constitutionally not permitted to stop-and-frisk young men of color based upon their race, corporate America is similarly not permitted to resort to such profiling in using law enforcement to stop and question racially diverse families simply based upon their divergent races, which is what Southwest did.”


John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.


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