Trump administration creates new in-flight sexual misconduct task force, as reports climb

The Trump administration is taking a closer look at sexual harassment happening in the sky.

On Thursday, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the creation of a National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force, which will “review current practices, protocols and requirements of U.S. airlines in responding to and reporting allegations of sexual misconduct by passengers on board aircraft,” according to a press release.

The group will also provide recommendations on best practices relating to training, reporting, and data collection regarding incidents of sexual misconduct by passengers onboard commercial aircraft. 

Also: Air India pilot grounded after failing two breathalyzer tests before flight

Members of the task force will be announced at a meeting set for January 16. 

The number of sexual assaults reported during commercial airline flights is increasing “at an alarming rate,” the FBI told CNN in June.

FBI investigations into midair sexual assaults increased by 66% from fiscal year 2014 to 2017. The bureau said it had opened 63 investigations into sexual assault on aircraft in 2017, compared with 57 in 2016, 40 in 2015 and 38 in 2014.

Last year, CNN reported on the difficulty in determining just how frequently assaults happen on commercial flights because no federal regulatory agency tracked that data nationwide.

The government task force comes as industries countrywide are retooling their approach to sexual harassment complaints. October marked the one-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, which sparked a national reckoning against sexual misconduct.

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