HOUSTON (KIAH) — The Houston Airport System is the first in the United States to join the “Blue Lightning Campaign” for human trafficking.

On Wednesday morning, over 300 Bush Airport employees received a human trafficking prevention training.

Employees heard from a survivor and saw a mini-exhibit of displays and information that explains what human trafficking is and how to intervene. 

“A lot of individuals that may seem free, they could potentially be victims of human trafficking. Even though they’re not in chains and stuff like that,” said Kathy Givens, Human Trafficking Survivor, and Keynote Speaker.

Givens is a survivor of human trafficking and was fortunate to get out. The overcomes says now she feels a moral obligation to help other victims in similar situations. That’s why she chose to speak at the training event for Houston Airport System employees.

“A lot of traffickers are sending their victims across state lines. And you’re flying here and you’re flying there,” said Givens.

“We’re getting 60 million passengers through this airport and we know that the airport is a vector for human trafficking,” said Jim Szczesniak, Chief Operating Officer for Houston Airport System.

Givens says human trafficking means stealing people’s freedom for profit, fraud, or force.

“He took a year. Literally just to groom me and we call it… the process of seduction or just like brainwashing other people can say. And at the end of the year, he capitalized,” said Givens.

Szczesniak says the purpose of training is to give employees the knowledge and resources to detect and notify law enforcement of human trafficking cases.

“This is a situation that nobody wants to be in because everybody has a mother or daughter, a sister, a friend, a son, you know those – those family members that can kind of you know envision potentially be victimized by this. So there is that natural call to say ‘hey we’re not going to tolerate this at the Houston Airport System,” said Szczesniak.

Givens wants to educate and encourage Houstonians to be aware. To step in and help if they witness something.

“There are people in their community that actually care about this topic and issue. And not just the topic and issue, but they care about you. So you have an army. You have a village behind you. You have resources. There are support. You don’t have to suffer in silence and you don’t have to suffer alone,” said Givens.

Since the start of the program, Houston Airport System has trained over 18,000 employees.

If you or someone you know is being victimized by human trafficking, you can contact the Houston Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or chat at thehotline.org.