A gay man was detained in London’s Gatwick airport, suspected of pedophilia, because an inspector noticed he was traveling with his boyfriend, and because he had a camera. The inspection — which included public display of the contents of the man’s luggage — found no evidence of pedophilia, but the inspector did learn the traveler was HIV-positive, which he loudly announced to his co-worker, which elicited a rather ugly response.
Pink News reports:
The report outlined the details: “The passenger was stopped and asked routine questions about their trip. When the officer indicated they wished to search the baggage, the passenger requested that this be done in a more private place. This request and a further request on this issue were refused. The contents of the passenger’s bag were then openly displayed including photographic equipment.
“The officer subsequently left the passenger to undertake background checks and later emerged signalling that the passenger could continue on their way.
“The officer then commented to another officer that the passenger was HIV positive; the colleague then advised that the searching officer should use stronger hand gel. These comments were made within earshot of the passenger and indeed other passengers in the channel.
“When subsequently asked why this passenger had been stopped immediately after this interaction, the officer commented that the passenger ‘looked like he might be involved in paedophilia’ and then went on to say that ‘the presence of the camera and the fact he had a boyfriend confirmed this’ (no photos were examined).
“Notebook records of this exchange were not kept although the passenger was delayed by almost 30 minutes.”
The report said the selection of the passenger was “inappropriate” and the behaviour of staff “unprofessional”, as part of a larger critique of practices at Gatwick airport last year which found that of 108 recorded searches, 71 percent were not justified.
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