Flight attendants at American Airlines have been warned about using dating apps in Jamaica after a spate of violent crimes targeting foreigners in the country prompted a special security alert from the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica.
Two recent victims of ‘violent’ crimes in Jamaica were American Airlines flight attendants who were on layovers on the island. The Dallas Fort Worth-based airline did not immediately provide an update on the condition of their employees.
The security alert comes just months after an 18-year-old man had his penis partially severed and was set on fire after he went to an area in Montego Bay to meet a man he had been talking to on a gay dating app.
In another recent incident, a 25-year-old female victim was allegedly raped by a man she met on a dating app in the Norwood community.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents crew members at American Airlines, warned its members that “two of our APFA colleagues were victims of violent crimes while on layover in Jamaica”.
“This is following an uptick in activity targeted against foreign visitors to the country,” the warning continued.
“The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica has been informed of several crimes against United States citizens targeted through dating apps. These apps are being used to lure foreign visitors into meeting in public spaces such as hotels, restaurants, and bars, and then later assaulting, threatening, and/or robbing the victims. Local officials often do not make arrests or prosecute assailants in these cases.”
The union has urged flight attendants to keep details of hotels used for layovers a closely guarded secret.
“Inviting strangers into your private and safe space within your hotel rooms may open the door for you to be placed in an unsafe and possibly life-threatening situation,” a recent memo continued.
Late last year, the Jamaican government imposed a state of emergency in a bid to clamp down on a wave of violent crime that had hit tourist hotspots like Montego Bay, but the U.S. Embassy warns that police rarely arrest assailants or prosecute dating app crimes perpetrated against the LGBTQI+ community.
Popular gay dating app Grindr recently issued its own alert to users in Jamaica about an increase in violent crime, while the Equality for All Foundation Jamaica has also urged extra vigilance amongst the gay community.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.