Anne Majumdar

When two teenage girls were recently preyed on by an online predator in a potential case of human trafficking, help came from an unlikely source – an American Airlines ticketing agent.

Based at Sacramento International Airport, Denice Miracle thought something was up when the 15 and 17-year-olds approached her counter with one-way first-class tickets from Sacramento to New York but no identification.

The girls were flying from Sacramento in California

The girls were flying from Sacramento in California

She then noticed that the tickets had been bought using a credit card with a different name to theirs and which had been flagged as fraudulent.

“Between the two of them, they had a bunch of small bags. It seemed to me as if they were running away from home,” Miracle said.

“They kept looking at each other in a way that seemed fearful and anxious. I had a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right.”

Miracle called the authorities who found out from the girls that a man they met on Instagram called “Drey” had invited them to New York where he promised to pay them US$2000 to appear in music videos.

Even when Sheriff’s deputy Todd Sanderson explained to them the danger they were in, they refused to believe they were being preyed upon, until they learned their flights were just one-way and not return as they had believed.

American Airlines agent Denice Miracle and Sheriff's Deputy Todd Sanderson

American Airlines agent Denice Miracle and Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Sanderson

As further proof, “Drey” instantly vanished – he didn’t answer any calls and his social media profiles disappeared.

Sacramento International Airport general manager Aleka Turner described Miracle as a “true professional” with a “huge heart”.

“I’m proud of Denice and how she put her training into action to save these children,” she said.

“She is a testament to the critical role our frontline team members play each and every day in the operation and the lives of each person they come in contact with.”

American Airlines officially signed ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) last month.

“It was a formal recognition of our longstanding commitment to helping frontline team members identify and report signs of human trafficking,” the airline said in a statement.

“As the world’s largest airline, we play an important role in this effort.”

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What do you think of Miracle’s actions?