Fuming dad accused of ‘sex trafficking autistic daughter by flight attendant’

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A dad has been left fuming after a flight attendant accused him of sex trafficking his autistic daughter when they boarded a flight.

The furious father, who was flying first class to Dallas from Minneapolis with Delta Airlines, says police were called to the airport to arrest him.

Peter Espinosa, who is a frequent flyer and racked up more than two million air miles with the airline, said the incident happened earlier in June.

Peter, along with his 20-year-old daughter Rachel, who has autism, were flying on US Father's Day.

Mr Espinosa explained that his daughter has Fragile X Syndrome, the world's most common inherited cause of autism, in an open letter to the airline chief executive Ed Bastian.

He added that it can cause her to feel anxious, easily overwhelmed and avoid eye contact with others.

He described how during the flight, an attendant stopped by and began questioning his daughter after he "noticed her anxiety".

“He kept trying to ask her direct questions, only making my daughter Rachel that much more anxious,” Mr Espinosa said.

“I attempted to intervene, but he kept insisting that he needed a direct answer from her. As my daughter teared up I finally insisted and said ‘she cannot answer you’.

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“His reply to her was, ‘Do you only speak Spanish?’ I thought this was a curious question by him.”

Afterward, the flight attendant asked if his name was Espinosa and looked at the piece of paper in his hand.

The dad confirmed he was, and that his daughter was Rachel before the cabin crew member left.

However, when they landed, he was greeted by four police officers who were there to arrest him for "human trafficking".

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The fuming dad said nothing could “compare to the stress of being surrounded by police officers in the Dallas airport, while a crowd gathers around us, and my daughter showing a sad, frightened look that breaks my heart that I couldn’t help her avoid.”

He was taken to another room and questioned by officers, who later said it was "quickly obvious to him that this set of flight attendants had not been properly trained".

The cop also admitted 'human trafficking had become a big issue recently'.

The father has suggested the airline improve training for the cabin crew to avoid distressing wrongful accusations in the future.

He has also called for the company to update its database to indicate when flyers have special needs.

In a statement, Delta said it had reached out to Mr Espinosa as it investigates the incident.

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“There’s nothing more important than keeping our customers safe, and that includes creating a safe, comfortable environment for all customers – especially those with disabilities,” the spokesperson said.

“While Delta people remain highly engaged in the ongoing fight against human trafficking, we remain committed to ensuring our customers with disabilities feel supported.

“We are reaching out to the customer directly to better understand the difficult situation he described as part of our investigation.”

  • Family

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