Southwest Flight Attendant Alerts Police After Suspecting Mom Of 'Trafficking' Biracial Child

The passenger said she and her 10-year-old child should receive an apology for the "traumatizing" experience, and called on people to "check your bias."

Police briefly detained a white woman and her biracial daughter as they exited their Southwest Airlines flight in Denver because a flight attendant had reported that she suspected the mother of human trafficking.

After police questioned them, the two were allowed to continue on their way 鈥 but the mother is demanding an apology for the incident, which took place late last month.

鈥淭hroughout the encounter, my daughter was sobbing,鈥 Mary MacCarthy told NBC News on Friday of how the incident affected her 10-year-old, Moira. She managed to film some of the encounter with her cell phone.

鈥淚 told them, 鈥楲ook, we鈥檙e traveling for a death and she鈥檚 a Black girl who鈥檚 10 but looks much older than she is.鈥 She unfortunately already has had charged encounters with police. Any kid鈥檚 going to be scared in a situation like this,鈥 she explained.

According to a Denver Police Department report, officers went to the airport to investigate a 鈥report of possible Human Trafficking reported by Southwest Flight Attendant.鈥

The case was subsequently closed, with the report noting that the flight attendant鈥檚 suspicion was 鈥渦nfounded鈥 and that no further action was necessary.

MacCarthy said the family has been 鈥deeply traumatized by the assumption that just because we don鈥檛 have the same skin color [that] we鈥檙e involved in a very serious crime.鈥

Before 鈥測ou call the police, stop and check your own possible biases ... We should all be more educated than that and more sensitive now in 2021,鈥 she said.

Mother and daughter were flying from Los Angeles to Denver to attend the funeral of MacCarthy鈥檚 brother, who had died suddenly.

The flight attendant reported the two as suspicious because they were the last to board and had asked other passengers to change seats so they could sit together, according the police report.

The flight attendant also said she didn鈥檛 see the two speak to each other and that MacCarthy had told her child not to talk to the flight crew 鈥 both claims MacCarthy denied.

When police approached her after the flight, MacCarthy said she went into 鈥減anic mode,鈥 afraid there had been another death in the family.

She also said she later received a call from the Human Trafficking Unit at the Denver Police Department. She told NBC that she has yet to receive an apology.

Southwest said it is investigating.

鈥淲e were disheartened to learn of this mother鈥檚 account when traveling with her daughter,鈥 the airline said in a statement. 鈥淲e 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,鈥 the airline said.

Employees undergo 鈥渞obust training on human trafficking,鈥 the statement added.

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