On Tuesday, while driving with her White adopted four-year-old sister, a Black Colorado woman claims race played a role in her being stopped and questioned by law officials on suspicion of human trafficking.
According to Denver7, the White child, Olivia, was on a Frontier Airlines trip from Denver to Dallas with her 21-year-old Black sister Lakeyjanay Bailey when a passenger reported her to the crew.
After their flight landed at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, Bailey said she was accosted by authorities. “There were two police officers who approached me and asked, ‘Is it okay if we speak with you?’” Bailey recalled.
One of the cops, according to Bailey, asked Olivia “if she understands who I am and what I am to her, and he asked what my mother was to her.” She went on to say that the White minor was then asked a slew of other questions.
The cops became engaged in the case after Frontier Airlines requested law enforcement to speak with Bailey and her sister at the gate, according to a DFW Department of Public Safety incident report. After observing the White kid in the company of Bailey, a passenger on the flight expressed concern to the crew about a suspected human trafficking issue.
In addition to speaking with the officers, Bailey claimed the officers also spoke with her mother and a social worker to clarify a few points. After following them to the baggage claim area, the officers spoke with a person who had arrived to pick them up, according to Denver7.
“People kept staring at us, murmuring and whatnot the whole time they were talking with us,” Bailey remembered. The 21-year-old further stated that she believes she would not have received such treatment if she had been White and Olivia had been Black.
“I believe things would be different if the roles were reversed and a white person walked off the plane with a Black person, such as a Black child,” Bailey added.
Frontier Airlines issued a statement in response to the incident, stating that it notified authorities after a passenger reported Bailey to the flight crew for probable human trafficking. It also denied that the event was racially motivated.
“Another passenger, who was sitting close to Bailey and her sister suspected human trafficking, and expressed worry during the journey. “That passenger expressed her concerns to the flight crew and later submitted a written report during the trip to capture her observations,” according to the statement.
“The captain was notified, and he felt compelled to report the incident. One of the most popular modes of human trafficking is air travel. The actions of the flight crew, who were following established standards, were not influenced by race.”
In the meantime, Bailey and her family are considering pursuing legal action against Frontier Airlines. Bailey, who was visibly upset, told Denver7, “I feel horrible.” “Being aware that I may have to go through that [experience] multiple times.”