On an otherwise ordinary flight from Seattle to San Francisco, Alaska Airlines steward Sheila Fedrick noticed a disheveled teenager traveling with a well-dressed older man. She was silent; he was defensive. Fedrick's antenna went up. "She looked like she'd been through pure hell," Fedrick said. She whispered to the teen to look for a note in the plane's restroom. A three-word response was all it took: "I need help." Police were waiting at the airport when they landed. Thanks to Fedrick's training in spotting suspicious circumstances, a case of human trafficking was interrupted.
Picture: An Afghan child carries shovels at a brick factory in Kabul. The percentage of the world's population in slavery may be at its lowest point in history, but in absolute terms, the global number of enslaved people is higher than it's ever been. (MAJID SAEEDI/Getty Images)