A flight attendant was praised at a recent conference for flight attendants in Houston for saving a teenage girl from human trafficking by leaving a secret message for the victim in the cabin’s bathroom during the flight.
Alaska Airlines flight attendant Sheila Federick said she instinctively felt something was wrong when she spotted a teenager with greasy blond hair on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco in 2011, NBC News reported.
Federick noticed the girl, aged 14 or 15 at the time, traveling with a much older, well-dressed man. She tried to engage them in conversation, but the man became defensive.
“I left a note in one of the bathrooms,” Fedrick said. “She wrote back on the note and said ‘I need help.'”
The flight attendant notified the pilots of the situation, and they notified police. The police were waiting in the terminal when they landed.
“I’ve been a flight attendant for ten years and it’s like I am going all the way back to when I was in training,” Fedrick told WTSP. “And I was like, I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn’t even know. If you see something, say something.”
Federick shared her story at an Airline Ambassadors conference hosted for flight attendants to train them to spot instances of human trafficking.
The training was in Houston right before the 2017 Super Bowl on Sunday.
An estimated 50,000 women and girls are trafficked into the United States each year, the Washington Post reports. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 2,000 traffickers and identified 400 victims.