As airports security screening around the world has become stricter, and new protocols are put into place, there are been an increasing uproar when it comes to the search of children.
In the United States the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has repeatedly come under scrutiny when it comes to performing ‘enhanced pat downs’ on children. Recently TSA Administration John Pistole announced there would be changes to its policy when it comes to searching children who ‘alarm’ while passing through security … but why?
Children are unfortunately ideal for smuggling weapons are able to go undetected as human bombs. Less than two weeks ago the Taliban used an 8-year-old girl as a human bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing dozens of people.
Days before then 8 year old girl was sadly used as a suicide bomber, a 9 year old girl in Pakistan was kidnapped, sedated and strapped into a ‘suicide vest‘ loaded with explosives. This girl was lucky as she was intercepted, the vest was disarmed and she was returned to her family …
… but the use of children as weapons delivery systems is not new. Children are naive, unassuming and blend in, often without a second glance from law enforcement, security or passers by.
Given the wide range of potential weapons available to terrorists, and the ways in which these weapons can be disguised, should children receive a less through security screening than adults?
While airport security needs to be changed in many countries, as agencies such as the TSA failing to adopt fully effective security procedures, creating a known gap of overlooking any type of traveler … including children … creates an opening that could very easily be exploited by those seeking to do harm.
It is unlikely the debate over whether performing full security searches on children will cease any time soon, but as the debate continues on the legitimacy of children posing a threat to security, the fact is that innocent children are being used to smuggle weapons and as method of delivering weapons for detonation.