Acts of Kindness
Flight attendant rescues girl from human trafficking after finding note in the lavatory
The flight attendant could sense something was "off" with the girl. So, she left a piece of paper and pencil in the bathroom for her if she wanted to communicate – and she did.
Eduardo Gaskell
10.19.21

Alaska Airlines flight employee Shelia Fredrick is a hero. She became a young girl’s Avenger when Sheila saved the young lady from human trafficking.

A young passenger on Fredrick’s Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco caught her attention after noticing the teenager looked disheveled while the man was immaculately dressed.

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Shelia Fredrick, then 49 when it happened, shared her observations during the flight.

“Something in the back of my mind said something is not right. She looked like she had been through pure hell.”

She continued,

“He was well dressed, that’s what kind of got me because why is he well dressed and she is looking disheveled and out of sorts.”

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When Fredrick tried to speak with them, the man would become defensive, speaking up immediately on behalf of the young girl. Sheila knew she had to act quickly as the teenager’s welfare was now in her hands.

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She attempted to communicate with the young girl but seeing as it proved difficult, Fredrick left a piece of paper and pencil in the bathroom hoping the victim could somehow leave a message.

The teenage girl wrote a note saying, “I need help.”

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Fredrick alerted the pilot, who in turn alerted authorities at the airport. When the plane landed in San Francisco, police officers entered the cabin and arrested the man.

Her quick thinking, coupled with her training allowed Fredrick to see through the suspect’s act.

“I’ve been a flight attendant for 10 years and it’s like I am going all the way back to when I was in training and I was like, I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn’t even know.”

Fredrick shared.

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Increased efforts to train flight staff in recognizing signs of human trafficking have been implemented. When someone appears to be controlled, battered, or avoids eye contact when spoken to, flight staff will be on alert.

Fredrick’s been in touch with the girl a few times, “I put my phone number on the note that I left for her, and I guess she memorized it, so a few weeks later, she called me.”

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Sadly, human trafficking is a rising epidemic in the United States, with cases only rising throughout the years according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

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This flight attendant certainly did her part.

There are organizations out there dedicated to fighting human trafficking. These selfless men and women could use our help. So when you see suspicious activity, speak up and report what you saw.

Fredrick went with her gut instinct and it paid off. If something feels off, then it probably is. Especially on transportation services. Keep an eye out for young boys and girls out there.

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The group Airline Ambassadors provides training programs for people in the aviation industry, equipping them with the skills needed in the fight against trafficking, especially of minors. They offer online courses available 24/7 for men and women who want to learn the skills needed.

Listen to Sheila’s story below!

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By Eduardo Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Eduardo Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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