Thank goodness she was there!
Here are some humbling statistics. The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally. Just in the United States, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, has received reports of 22,191 trafficking cases within the United States since 2007. In 2015? An estimated 1 out of 5 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child trafficking victims. I think we can all agree that these numbers are far too high and not talked about nearly enough.
However, there are things being done to try and subside this black market. Flight attendants are now being trained to catch the signs of human trafficking and it’s working!
Shelia Fedrick, a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines, was greeting her passengers one day when she instinctively felt that something was wrong after catching a glimpse of a girl sitting near a window. She was between 14-16 years old “looked like she had been through pure hell” Shelia told NBC news. She tried to engage in conversation with her but the man sitting beside the girl became extremely defensive.
Something Was Not Right
Besides her disheveled look, the contrast between her and the extremely well dressed man was what really tipped Shelia off. “Something in the back of my mind said something was not right. He was well-dressed. That’s what got me because I thought why is he well-dressed and she is looking all disheveled and out of sorts?” After unsuccessfully speaking with the girl, “I left a note in one of the bathrooms,” Fedrick said. “She wrote back on the note and said ‘I need help.'”
Notifying the Police
Shelia immediately let the pilot know of the situation so that he could communicate it to the police at the airport. When the plane landed, police officers were waiting for the couple to get off and escort the man into custody. Because of Shelia’s actions, the girl was saved from entering the sex trafficking market.