November 19, 2019

This Proposed Legislation Would Address Sexploitation in the Transportation Industry

The Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act was introduced today by Rep. Peter DeFazio, and endorsed by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a non-partisan nonprofit in Washington DC.

Alarmed by incidents of sexual assault and harassment occurring in public transportation—especially on airlines—NCOSE has long advocated for the transportation sector to do more to protect the traveling public.

“Perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment, emboldened by the confined space of modes of public transportation, as well as the darkened cabins on night flights and late-night commuter transportation, take advantage of such circumstances to engage in sexual assault and harassment of both passengers and personnel. The responses of transportation carriers to these incidents are, all too often, grossly inadequate,” stated Lisa L. Thompson, Vice President of Policy and Research for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE).

“In the aftermath of #MeToo, NCOSE has learned of incidents of sexual assault of adults and minors, as well as sexual harassment including such behaviors as unwelcome sexual advances, exposure in view of the general public of sexually explicit materials, indecent exposure, and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature perpetrated against both passengers and transportation carrier personnel,” Thompson explained.

“This legislation addresses such situations by ensuring that transportation carriers have the policies and training in place to respond swiftly and appropriately when such incidents occur.” Thompson continued, “This bill makes it clear that #TimesUp for perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment who commit their crimes while utilizing forms of public transportation, and that public transportation carriers must do their part to protect the wellbeing of both passengers and personnel. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds Rep. Peter DeFazio for his leadership in introducing this much needed legislation.”

Due to its failures to robustly address incidents of sexual assault and harassment, United Airlines is a current member of NCOSE’s 2019 Dirty Dozen List. For additional information about sexual assault and harassment on planes and in airports, see NCOSE’s Fly Free campaign.

Lisa L. Thompson

headshot of Lisa Thompson

Vice President of Policy and Research

As Vice President of Policy and Research for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Lisa conducts policy analysis and advocacy, advances understanding of pornography’s public health harms, and liaises with public officials, advocates, and academics to advance strategies combating the web of sexual exploitation, including pornography, stripping, prostitution, sexual trafficking, sexual assault, and more.

Lisa joined NCOSE following two years with World Hope International where as Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa oversaw sex trafficking recovery programs in Cambodia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:  Europe Latin America, North America, and Global. Lisa also routinely speaks and trains on sexual exploitation topics for a diverse range of audiences. Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters.

Lisa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Western Kentucky University, and Master’s degree in Leadership, Public Policy and Social Issues from Union Institute and University.

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