It was in 2011 that Alaska Airlines flight attendant Sheila Fedrick noticed an odd couple on her flight from Seattle to San Francisco; a bruised and disheveled blond teenage girl with a well-dressed older man. "Something in the back of my mind said something is not right," she said, according to Fox News. The girl was a victim of human trafficking, which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say claimed 400 victims last year and eventually led to 2,000 arrests last year.
Fedrick told NBC News, the girl "looked like she had been through pure hell." She tried to engage the girl in conversation, but the man she was traveling with became defensive, so Fedrick came up with another plan. "I left a note in one of the bathrooms," she said. "She wrote back on the note and said 'I need help.’" Fedrick notified the pilot who made sure police were waiting for them when the plane arrived in San Francisco, where the man was arrested.
Fedrick is sharing her story as part of an effort to educate flight attendants on how to spot the victims of human trafficking and what to do in the event that they board their flights. A two-day seminar in Houston last month to coincide with the Super Bowl briefed 100 volunteers on the best practices to help rescue victims and ensure their safety. As for Fedrick, she’s kept in touch with the girl she saved, who is currently enrolled in college.
[Photo: NBC News]