Father, Daughter Taken Off Plane on Suspicion of Child Trafficking

The New York City skyline gives backdrop to a United Airlines airplane taxing at Newark Liberty International Airport, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

It can be rough being a father of a daughter. Many of us, from the moment we learn we’re going to have a daughter, begin planning how to handle the traumatic events of life such as first dates, proms, meeting boyfriends, and other horrible things.

What few of us ever consider is how simply traveling with our daughters without mom around can look suspicious.

A father and his daughter recently experienced just that when someone saw the pair traveling and reported them. The mother describes the incident:

After our 3-year-old snoozed on her father’s lap for most of the flight, the plane landed. He texted me to tell me they had arrived. When the plane taxied to the gate, however, a number of officers from the Port Authority and Customs and Border Patrol boarded the plane, approached my husband and instructed him to grab his carry-ons and follow them. He and our daughter were escorted out of the plane before anyone else could get off.

Once out of the plane, four officers from Port Authority and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) surrounded them. They fired so many questions at him that he didn’t know who was asking what. He had no idea what was going on. Our daughter started to cry in all of the commotion.

After asking about where our daughter was born, who was there, and where her birth certificate had been issued, they asked for my phone number; that was when they called me, asking me the same questions in order to verify the story. At that point they seemed satisfied that my husband was not, in fact, trafficking our daughter. They then told me that this accusation was not coming from the CBP, who were trained to identify these kind of situations, but from a passenger on the plane. They were following protocol to act on reported suspicions such as this. They told me that it was not worth it to investigate the accuser’s mental state.

This was no doubt traumatic for the whole family (and this was a United flight, which does not help that company’s image), but this isn’t exactly new. These incidents seem to be happening with frightening regularity.

Child trafficking is as evil as it gets. However, in a world with so many deadbeat dads who don’t care about their children at all, can’t we have a protocol that doesn’t encourage suspicion of all fathers when the mother isn’t there?

There has to be a balance, or else no man is going to be willing to go anywhere with his kids.