Flight Attendant Uses Secret Message to Rescue Girl From Human Trafficking

February 7, 2017 Updated: February 8, 2017

A flight attendant is being hailed as a hero for saving a teen girl from human trafficking on an Alaska Airlines flight.

Shelia Frederick said she noticed a girl with greasy blonde hair, believed to be around 14 or 15, sitting next to an older man on the flight from Seattle to San Francisco.

The girl, Frederick said, looked like “she had been through pure hell.”

When she tried to engage the two in a conversation, the girl refused to speak or look Frederick in the eye. The man—described as well-dressed—became defensive.

“Something in the back of my mind said something is not right,” Frederick told broadcaster WTSP. She then managed to convince the girl to go to the bathroom.

“I left a note in one of the bathrooms,” Frederick told NBC News. “She wrote back on the note and said, ‘I need help.'”

Frederick then alerted the pilot, and when the plane touched down, police were waiting for the man.

“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,” Frederick said, adding that she kept in contact with the girl.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 1,952 individuals for human trafficking in 2016, while identifying more than 400 victims who were exploited for forced labor and sex work.

RECOMMENDED