08 Febrero 2017 16:17
Sheila Fedrick is a 49-year-old US flight attendant who has spent most of her life in the air. She's seen a lot of strange things over the years, but none as chilling as the case of human trafficking that she encountered in 2011 (and that she recently revealed to WTSP).
On a flight from Seattle to San Francisco, Fedrick observed a disheveled and unhappy blond girl aged 'about 14 or 15'. She looked like she had 'been through pure hell'. With her was an impeccably dressed older man. There was something not quite right about their relationship.
'Something in the back of my mind said something is not right... Why is he well-dressed and she is looking disheveled and out of sorts?' Fedrick recalled.
Fedrick approached them to ask if everything was OK. The man answered defensively, while the girl looked frightened and said nothing. Something wasn't right.
Fedrick managed to whisper to the girl to go to the bathroom, where the flight attendant had left a note stuck to the mirror. The girl wrote back saying she needed help. Fedrick notified the pilot who alerted the police.
When the plane landed, the man was arrested. The 49-year-old's instincts had been correct: the teenager was indeed a victim of human trafficking.
Since 2009, US flight attendants and pilots have been trained to spot for signs of human trafficking in order to help authorities stop them in time. The victims are mostly teenage girls, and some of the most common signs are: they seem to be being controlled by the adult accompanying them, they are bruised or battered, and they won't answer questions or make eye contact.
Just last year, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Centre, 2,000 traffickers were arrested and 400 victims identified. People trafficking is a more serious and widespread problem than most people think. And though we might not all have the opportunity, or the intuition, to act as Sheila Fedrick did, we can all do our bit in stopping this appalling practice.