White Mom With Black Daughter Wants Apology from Southwest Airlines for Mistaken Human Trafficking Claim

Photo: (Photo : ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

A mother with Caucasian features is asking for an apology from Southwest Airlines after a staff suspected her of human trafficking because she was on a flight with her Black daughter.

Mary MacCarthy told People that she was surprised to find the police waiting for her and her 10-year-old daughter, Moira, when they arrived for their trip to Denver with Southwest Airlines. However, the mother knew that something was up when the police started talking to her daughter and they seemed to know their names.

At first, MacCarthy thought that the cops were there to tell them that another family member died since their trip to Denver was for her brother's funeral, who died due to blood clots at 46 years old. However, the cops told the mom that she was actually reported for "suspicious behavior."

Though they did not say she was suspected of human trafficking, MacCarthy somehow knew this "suspicious behavior" because she has experienced it before as a White person with a biracial child.

"It clicked [in my mind] that we had probably been profiled," MacCarthy said. "I've been raising this girl for 10 years; she's my biological daughter, and I knew things like this could happen."

Read Also: Mom Claims Being Humiliated by Flight Attendant for Baby's Dirty Diaper

Moira Was Shaken Up

MacCarthy said that their police encounter lasted three minutes but it shook up Moira, who ended up crying and was inconsolable. In an email to the company as she demanded an apology, the mom said that her daughter was already going through a traumatic experience after her uncle's unexpected death and the police presence at the airport made it worse.

While being questioned by the police, MacCarthy took out her phone to record the encounter and one of the Southwest Airline staff members told her that they were simply concerned about their behavior aboard the flight.

The mother and daughter flew from Los Angeles to Denver with a layover in San Jose. On that layover flight, the Southwest Airlines staff members noticed that they were the last to board the plane and MacCarthy also asked to switch seats with a couple of passengers.

However, the mom explained that she was looking for seats next to each other and asked the flight attendants for assistance. When she did not get any help, MacCarthy, who works as a television reporter, took it upon herself to talk to the passengers to see if she and her 10-year-old daughter could be seated next to each other. Apparently, this behavior led the crew to suspect human trafficking, which the mom found out after the Denver Police Department contacted her for a follow-up report two weeks later.

Mom Hires Lawyers

MacCarthy claimed that while she was cleared by the police during that brief encounter, she has yet to get an apology from Southwest Airlines. According to Insider, MacCarthy has also consulted with lawyers who advised her to seek reimbursement for their plane tickets, aside from the apology.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said that they have a "welcoming and inclusive environment" thus it was disheartening to hear about the mother and daughter's account of their travel. The airline stated that MacCarthy's complaint is under review and they will be reaching to the customer to "address her concerns" as well as offer an apology.

Related Article: American Airlines Responds to Family Kicked off a Flight as Toddler Had No Face Mask

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