Mixed-race family flying from San Jose stopped after flight attendant reported mom as possible human trafficker

Mary MacCarthy said she got a call from Denver police on Nov. 1 following up on a human trafficking investigation.

Mary MacCarthy and her 10-year-old daughter, Moira, were stopped at the Denver International Airport by police after a Southwest Airlines employee reported her as a potential human trafficker.

A Los Angeles woman said she was traveling to her brother’s funeral last month with her 10-year-old biracial daughter, Moira, when they were stopped at the Denver International Airport after a flight attendant reported them as “suspicious.”

Mary MacCarthy, who is White, said she received a phone call 10 days after the incident from Denver police, asking her questions regarding a possible human trafficking investigation.

“Given that more than 10 days have passed and I have yet to even be contacted by Southwest, I want more than an apology,” MacCarthy said. “I want them to be held accountable for racially profiling my family on the day my 10-year-old African American daughter was going through the worst day of her life.”

MacCarthy was traveling with her daughter on Oct. 22 from Los Angeles to Denver after the death of MacCarthy’s older brother the previous night. MacCarthy said they had a connecting flight in San Jose and were part of the last boarding group. When they got off the plane, they were met by a Southwest Airlines representative and two Denver police officers.


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