Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

Heroic flight attendant thwarts human trafficking: Quick thinking saves terrified girl



Shelia Frederick’s vigilance leads to arrest of suspected trafficker on Alaska airlines flight

A vigilant flight attendant, Shelia Frederick, played a pivotal role in saving a terrified girl from a suspected human trafficker during an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco. Frederick’s keen observations and quick thinking unraveled a potentially dangerous situation, highlighting the crucial role of airline staff in combating human trafficking.

While on duty, Frederick noticed a ‘well-dressed’ man accompanied by a visibly ‘disheveled’ girl, raising immediate concerns. The flight attendant’s unease heightened when the teenager avoided responding to her questions. Recognizing the signs of potential danger, Frederick took decisive action.

She managed to discreetly engage with the girl, convincing her to visit the airplane’s restroom. There, Frederick left a note and a pen, instructing the girl to write down if she needed help. The girl bravely wrote, ‘I need help,’ prompting Frederick to alert the plane’s captain, who, in turn, contacted San Francisco police.

The incident, which occurred in 2011, underscored the importance of training for flight attendants to recognize and respond to human trafficking situations. The non-profit organization Airline Ambassadors International (AAI), founded by Nancy Rivard in 2009, has been instrumental in providing such training. AAI aims to equip attendants with the skills to identify potential victims and offers humanitarian aid globally.

Shelia Frederick reflected on the significance of her training, stating, “I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn’t even know.” The incident highlighted the crucial role flight attendants play in identifying and reporting human trafficking, emphasizing the need for ongoing training and awareness.

As part of their training, flight attendants are cautioned against physically intervening to avoid endangering the victim and themselves. Once reported to the authorities, the case is transferred into their hands for further investigation and pursuit.

Human trafficking remains a global concern, and Frederick’s brave actions serve as a testament to the potential impact of airline staff in combating this heinous crime.


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