HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s a first known incident at the Huntsville International Airport. An elaborate plan to traffic a 21-year-old comes to a sudden halt. Airport officials coming to the young woman’s rescue crediting their “see something, say something” protocol.
It all began in the airport’s parking garage. A mother was upset because she couldn’t find her car. She just dropped off her daughter at the airport for a modeling gig and was emotional. That’s when an airport official ran into her and to try and calm her down she began asking questions. That’s when she realized something wasn’t adding up.
“Young girls, big dreams. They want to get out of a small town, she had bought in,” said Huntsville International Airport public relations and customer service manager Jana Kuner. The young woman’s modeling dream comes to an end inside the Huntsville International Airport. “She shares with me, ‘wow they are sending me a lot of texts.’ The texts were, where are you? Who are you with? Have you boarded the plane?”
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed the people on the other side of the phone were human traffickers. Kuner said she walking back from the parking garage on the way to her office when she learned about the young woman headed to Phoenix to meet with a so-called modeling agency.
She said something didn't feel right. So, she brought in a public safety officer and tried to warn the woman about the possibilities of human trafficking. “We weren't really able to discourage her from going.”
They were able to set up an escort in Phoenix to follow her to the modeling agency. Kuner even spoke to the people over the phone who claimed they were okay with the plans. But before take-off, the traffickers canceled their plans and no longer needed the woman to fly out. “People who don't have anything to hide or have no reason to be fearful of the police don't cancel.”
Kuner credits proper training and always keeping an eye out. “How does it hurt to bring in public safety and let them look into it. What is the worst thing, they investigate and don't find anything? They did their job.”
And like what most heroes say Kuner believes she was just doing her job. “I am always open to God using me. That doesn't make you a hero. I think that makes you somebody who was just in the right place at the right time.”
Kuner said she has been in touch with the young woman multiple times. She is doing okay and is home with family.
For more information on human trafficking prevention visit the Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign website.