BRITISH reality television star Jemma Lucy was left “shaking” after airport security thought she was being sex trafficked because she was carrying a stuffed toy.
The tattooed model, 28, was holding a cuddly toy of Simba from The Lion King when she was pulled over by security at Manchester airport, The Sun reports.
Taking to Snapchat, Ms Lucy explained she was initially paranoid that she was being arrested for a criminal offence.
“The weirdest thing has just happened, I’m literally still shaking the border security thing, they literally just stopped me and said, ‘Wait a minute Jemma.’
“Asking me questions about where I’ve been, who I am and all this s***, they won’t let me go through.
“I was absolutely shaking, thinking that I was getting nicked, thinking what the f*** have I done that I can’t remember and I’m getting nicked for it.”
With her huge stuffed Simba still in shot, the Ex On The Beach star then said she was stopped because of the toy.
“Turns out it’s all because I’ve got a teddy they thought I was being trafficked,” Ms Lucy said.
“They thought I was being trafficked cause I had this. Why can’t I have a teddy?
“So my heart is still racing. I can’t believe it’s a sign of being trafficked.”
Those who work in the travel industry — including flight attendants and hotel employees — are trained to be on high alert for signs of human trafficking. But their suspicions aren’t always correct.
In April a father staying in a Travelodge with his teenage daughter was stunned when staff called cops to report he was a paedophile.
Craig Darwell, 46, was treating his daughter Millie, 13, to a trip to an amusement park when he checked into the Travelodge hotel.
“We checked in and then I had to move my car,” Mr Darwell told The Sun.
“When I got back to reception the guy started asking me to prove I was her dad. He said it was company policy and I had to go on to Facebook to show messages I’ve sent to her.”
But while a humiliating mix-up for the father and daughter, Travelodge said in a statement to The Telegraph they take their “responsibilities towards protecting children and vulnerable young people extremely seriously.”
“Our colleagues are trained based on current national guidelines from the NSPCC, the police and other agencies and in the past, hotel team actions have led to successful intervention to protect young people.”
While it can go wrong, it is also this same commitment and training that can save lives — which was the case on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco in February.
Flight attendant Shelia Fedrick saved the life of a teenage girl who was the victim of human trafficking when her training and instincts kicked in.
“I’ve been a flight attendant for ten years and it’s like I am going all the way back to when I was in training. And I was like, I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn’t even know,” Fedrick told Florida broadcaster WTSP.
“If you see something, say something.”