Between 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year, according to DoSomething.org.
It is the third biggest international crime, after drug smuggling and illegal arms trafficking. It is a crime that might seem to only impact foreigners, but it is something that happens to Americans all of the time.
One smart airline agent just saved two teenage girls from human trafficking, all because something did not feel right to her.
When Denice Miracle was working the ticket counter for American Airlines at the Sacramento airport, two teenage girls walked up to her and things immediately seemed off.
The two teens were unsure of their travel plans and only had a few bags with them, but no ID.
“I think the way they kept looking back-and-forth at each other, like they weren’t really sure. And then they were texting someone on the phone, and that person was giving them answers,” Denice told Cleveland 19 news.
The two girls were only 15 and 17 and traveling alone from Sacramento to New York. When Denice looked at their ticket, another red flag went up.
They were flying first class, which is an expensive ticket for an adult, let alone two teenagers who appeared to be alone. When Denice looked further, she realized the ticket was purchased online and the name on the credit card was not either of theirs.
“It was a first-class ticket. It was very expensive. I told a supervisor, ‘I’m going to call the sheriff. It just doesn’t feel right to me,’” she said.
When the deputies arrived, it came out that the two teens had their tickets purchased by a man they met on Instagram. He’d offered to buy their tickets so they could fly to New York for a modeling gig, where he told them they’d be paid $2,000.
The two girls told their parents that they were sleeping over each other’s houses before they left for the airport.
They had no idea the situation was dangerous and at first didn’t even know that their tickets were only one-way, not round-trip. Meaning that this man, “Drey,” had intentionally not planned their return trip home.
Deputy Todd Sanderson told Cleveland 19 News:
“They were somewhat flippant about – ‘No, that can’t be true’ – and I said, ‘No, the airline says you have a one-way ticket, and in my belief, you’re going back there not to do the things that you think you were going to be doing.’ And they said, ‘I wouldn’t let anything happen that I didn’t want.’ And I said, ‘Well, you probably wouldn’t have a choice in the matter.'”
When authorities tried to look into Drey further, his online profiles instantly disappeared. This is another surefire red flag that he was targeting potential victims for human trafficking.
Here are some tips on how to spot potential victims of human trafficking and make sure to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-843-5678) if you are ever unsure of a potentially dangerous situation.
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Source: Cleveland 19 News