In 2011, Shelia Fedrick, a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines took notice of a young girl with greasy blonde hair on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco. According to the 49 year old attendant, the girl “looked like she had been through pure hell.”
The girl, whom she believed to be about 14 or 15, was traveling with a well dressed, older man, although she looked disheveled. Whenever Fedrick tried to engage in conversation with the young girl, the man would become defensive.
Then, Fedrick made the decision to try and send a message to the girl. “I left a note in one of the bathrooms,” Fedrick told NBC. “She wrote back on the note and said, ‘I need help.'”
The flight attendant then called the pilot and told him about the two passengers, and when the plane landed, police were waiting for them at the terminal. Turns out the young lady was being sold into human trafficking.
Although this incident took place several years ago, it’s recently received attention because of the new training programs for flight crew to spot sex trafficking. During times of heavy travel, including the Super Bowl, sex trafficking numbers may rise, meaning that flight attendants need to be on high alert.
Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 created a special training of flight attendants to spot and report potential trafficking victims.
Thanks to the quick thinking of Fedrick, she saved this young teenager from enduring a lifetime of terror.