"I think it’s just the fact that I’m Asian": Stephanie Ung says she and a friend were questioned by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for more than an hour, mistaken on the flight home for human trafficking victims.— Narrendra Malhotra (@NarrendraM) November 29, 2017
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An Asian woman claims she and her friend were racially profiled on a Delta flight and were mistaken for human trafficking victims.
Stephanie Ung, 26, boarded the flight from Cancun, Mexico, and was on her way home to Atlanta along with her Asian friend — but upon arrival they were met with an unexpected impediment.
The two women were stopped by U.S. Custom and Border and Protection agents and were detained for more than an hour. While speaking to 11Alive, Ung said they were stopped and questioned after someone reported them of being human trafficking victims. She also added the fact that both of them were Asians played a part in their detention.
Ung said during the detention they were treated as criminals rather than victims and an apology was not even given after the two were released.
“I know human trafficking is huge within the Asian community, right, and that's the only reason why I could see you stopping me. That and the fact that I was in a dress some cardigans and boots, and I think that's totally appropriate to fly on an airplane with. I think it's just the fact that I'm Asian, she's (her friend) Asian, and we're two little girls on the plane,” she said.
The woman added that she missed her Thanksgiving dinner because of the detention.
“I just kept telling them that I wanted to go home for my family Thanksgiving dinner, and that they were making me late, but they just didn't care. They just laughed. The fact that I missed dinner with my family — you can't take that back. I can just look at the pictures and feel sad that I wasn't a part of it,” added Ung.
The airline clarified an alert was sent out after passengers informed crew about the two.
“While their investigation did show that our customers were not being trafficked, we train our crew members to remain alert and use their professional experience and practice best judgment to ensure the safety of all customers,” said Delta in a statement.
Well, congratulations to the Delta crew for a job well done (NOT!)
Customs and Border Patrol didn’t respond to comment on the case but said, “If any traveler believes that an officer has acted in an unprofessional manner the traveler may choose to address that through our established systems. The best course of action is to ask to speak to an on duty supervisor at the location where the interaction occurred immediately.”
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Jeff Haynes