Shelia Fedrick, a flight attendant, shares a story of saving a trafficking victim, after she noticed a disheveled girl sitting beside an older man on a plane.
Shelia Fedrick tells the full story of how she saved a trafficking victim, when she noticed a teenager who “looked like she had been through hell,” sitting next to an older man on a flight.
Ms. Fedrick told NBC that she noticed a disheveled teenage girl sitting next to an older man who would not let her speak to the flight attendants. Ms. Fedrick discreetly communicated to the girl to go to the bathroom, where she had left a her a note on the mirror asking her if she needed help.
It was then Ms. Fedrick found out that the girl was a victim of human trafficking. She then informed the pilot, who called the police.
The police were waiting upon the arrival of the plane.
This 2011 case was reported to US media outlets this week as the charity Airline Ambassadors have been looking for ways to train airline staff to spot tackle human trafficking possibilities.
The rescued girl is now in college and has kept in touch with Ms. Fedrick.
The Airline Ambassador’s Recommendations
The Airline Ambassadors’ website points out that trafficking victims may appear nervous and unsure of their destination. They may also appear afraid of uniformed security, give scripted answers and may be wearing clothes unsuitable for their destination.
The traffickers themselves may be answering the questions for the victims, constantly observing the victim and may not know personal information about them, such as their name.
“We tell people not to try to rescue because you can endanger the victim and yourself,” said Nancy Rivard, the founder of the organization. Instead, Airline Ambassadors recommends telling the pilot to radio the upcoming airport.