Have you ever felt in your gut that something just wasn’t right? You try and convince yourself that you are wrong. But the feeling will just not go away. This happened to our family on the way home from Cabo San Lucas last summer.
(Please read through to the bottom for ways to help)
We were a family of five and a girlfriend so, our seats were not together on the plane. My husband and I were together my daughter behind us and the others further behind her. My husband had the window and I had the middle seat in our row. My daughter had the window seat behind us so I could see and talk to her. When her row companions seated I noticed it was a dad and his teenaged daughter. My daughter was twenty one at the time and the teen girl sat next to her. A few minutes after they got seated my daughter texted me saying the girl was “odd” because she had no personal space boundaries. The teen kept reaching across her messing with the window shade and leaning close to my daughter. We discussed via text that maybe she was autistic or another mental disability. We have both worked with special needs children so my daughter had no problems chatting with her. But, then I got another text saying the teen had a back pack full of very dirty barbies. Again, we tried to chalk it up to a person on the spectrum. A couple minutes later my daughter texts again saying the teen had texted someone and had held the phone out were she could see what was texted. During the time my daughter was texting me what she read, the dad was talking with the flight attendant. He was very upset because we were taxiing down runway and he realized he had left his iphone in the terminal. Back to my daughters text. The girl texted her mom and said she was “sorry.” The response was “you should be glad because you should be in jail.” Then I heard Dad say “if I didn’t have to go running through the airport looking for you I would not have left my phone.” Explains the “sorry” to the mom.
My radar started to go off.
So, I decide to start making conversation and taking a closer look at them. Since the dad was using another phone he was very distracted for a little while and it allowed me some time to check him out and chat with her. Dad was white, blue eyed male with capped teeth, nice watch and golf shirt and shorts. The daughter was possibly hispanic, visible cavities on the front of her teeth, not as clean looking and clothes looked very “hand me down”.
The two didn’t go together.
I kept thinking well she could be adopted or fostered. She said she was sixteen and was excited to go to the US but then later she told a story about where she was from in the US and other odd inconsistencies in her answers to my questions. After the beverage cart came through Dad was more in tune to his surroundings and she stopped chatting and rested her head on his shoulder. My daughter was very uncomfortable at that point, because he also put his arm around her, so she buried her head in a movie. My mind was spinning from all the input and my gut was telling me the situation was not good. Upon landing Dad stood to retrieve his luggage. After he got his bag down his daughter leaned into him to wait for the line to move.
That did it!
When she leaned into him it was very suggestive and not the way a daughter behaves with her father! I looked at my daughter and she looked mortified. As we were walking to the exit my husband said “we need to let someone know.” The dad got stopped by a flight attendant to discuss his phone again and the daughter got off the plane. Dad looked panicked and he yelled at her to stay put. When I exited I stopped very close to the teen and asked “are you okay?” She looked panicked and said “yes, I wasn’t supposed to get off the plane”. I asked again “are you sure you are okay” she started to cry and said “I just wasn’t supposed to get off yet.” We went straight to airport staff and told them something was “fishy” with them. We watched as they got pulled aside but have no idea what happened because we saw them later heading to catch a connecting flight. I assume he had a “real” passport made in Mexico and was able to pass the initial sniff test.
Our collective family gut felt someone got away with something very bad.
This terrible situation reeked of sex trafficking . It haunts me to think that we couldn’t help this young person. It terrifies me to think of her and all these young people who are kidnapped into the sex trafficking business.
This horrifying thought has led me to partner with 3 Strands Shop and 3 Strands Global to help provide a solution to this ever growing problem. We may not be able to do a lot individually but if each of us does something to help maybe we can bring an end this disturbing and growing problem.
Please take a few minutes and click the links above to garner some insight into these great organizations!
If you are interested in helping this cause there are several ways available:
And the way I chose to help is with utilizing my retail background.
If you use promo code NewBubbles you will receive 10% off your purchase.
If you own a boutique or know someone who would be interested in carrying this line please contact me at: DebbieC@3strandsshop.com.
I will be expanding the products into new areas in hopes of continuing sustainable employment for survivors and those at risk.
Story of the Red Seed
The original red seed came from the Sandalwood tree, native to Cambodia. Sandalwood trees produce colorless pods that eventually dry up and fall to the ground. But inside these dried pods are beautiful, glossy, red seeds. To our artisans and survivors, these seeds represent the beauty in each of the survivors who have been freed from human trafficking and those waiting to be rescued. Our current red seed mark on 3 Strands products, began in Cambodia with the vision of one red seed, which reminds us of the beauty within every survivor.