A Black airline attendant is making headlines after she made a heroic move that saved a teenage girl from human trafficking.
Alaska Airlines flight attendant Sheila Fedrick was working the Seattle to San Francisco route when she noticed a teenage girl with greasy hair traveling with a well-dressed older gentleman.
For some people, the scenario may not have called for additional attention. But Fedrick is a member of Airline Ambassadors International, a program that trains flight attendants to spot signs of human trafficking.
The girl “looked like she had been through pure hell,” Fedrick, 49, told NBC News. To her, the stark difference between the travel companions was a red flag.
After her attempts to engage with the older gentleman were rebuffed, Fedrick whispered to the girl to go to the bathroom. From there, she was able to leave the girl a note, Fedrick says.
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“She wrote back on the note and said ‘I need help,’” she explained.
After seeing the victim’s response, the flight attendant notified the pilot. The San Francisco Police were waiting in the terminal when they landed.
Human trafficking continues to be a difficult problem to prevent. About 2,000 human traffickers were arrested and 400 victims were identified last year, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.