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Supporting the recovery of Human Trafficking Survivors through Rescue America


January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time when advocates, organizations, and individuals around the globe raise awareness about this important issue. About 25 million people worldwide are estimated to be victims of Human Trafficking—a trade worth $150 billion a year (according to the U.N. International Labour Organization).


Southwest Airlines proudly supports many organizations across the country whose efforts help with the rescue, recovery, and restoration of Human Trafficking and sex trafficking survivors. One of our newer partners is Rescue America.


Rescue America is a national nonprofit, headquartered in Colorado whose work supports rescuing, reviving, and empowering the sexually exploited nationwide through a 24/7 Rescue hotline and emergency response.

The following was guest co-authored by Allison Meier Madrigal,

Founder and President of Rescue America


Sex trafficking is one of the top three criminal industries in the world. It is a complex problem that is horrifically impacting hundreds of thousands of individuals right here in America.


Rescue America was started in 2014 to fill a major gap in the anti-trafficking landscape, which was getting survivors out of their abusive situations and placing them in safe homes where they can heal mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Through our 24/7 Rescue hotline, we facilitate safe exits for survivors who are ready to leave their current situation. As survivors are rescued and placed in homes across the country this demands the need for safe, cross-country transportation.


Prior to our partnership with Southwest Airlines, this often included long car and bus rides to get survivors away from their traffickers and to a nearby city or safe home. However, Southwest has changed the game! Thanks to our partnership with Southwest and the travel they have generously donated to Rescue America, we are now able to fly survivors hundreds of miles away from their traffickers, which creates an optimal opportunity for them to truly escape their exploitative situations and heal.


Beyond the gift of practical and safe transportation, Southwest Employees have committed to intentional care as survivors navigate the normal stresses of traveling as well as additional hurdles while fleeing their traffickers. When possible, Employees often walk survivors to their gates, sit with them while they await boarding, and check on them throughout their flights. This level of care makes a lasting impact on survivors and expresses a foundational truth: they matter.


One survivor we served experienced just this when she traveled with Southwest Airlines. She had never flown before, and she expressed that she was nervous but excited. At the airport, our team was able to hear over the phone how well the Southwest team treated her, even walking her all the way through security before she flew to freedom. She arrived safely at our partner safe home, where she is now free from exploitation and can pursue a new life!


We are incredibly grateful for Southwest Airlines and their Employees who have revolutionized transportation for survivors of sex trafficking! Just like a Southwest Employee can directly impact a survivor, so can you through one of our volunteer positions. Visit to learn more!


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