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Operation House

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
March 9, 2024 12:00 pm

Operation House

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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March 9, 2024 12:00 pm

In 2023, Lantern Rescue conducted Operation House. That resulted in the rescue of 16 minors, all females who had been exploited for sex trafficking. In this episode, hear a follow up on  survivors from this case.

To learn more about Operation House, go to https://lanternrescue.org/operation-house/

Text PRAY to 336-234-3302 to join Lantern's Prayer community.

 A warning: this program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised.

Join us as a Liberator at https://lanternrescue.org/liberator/ 

If you or someone you know has experienced exploitation call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) at 1-888-373-7888.

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Hey, this is Jim Graham from the Masculine Journey Podcast, where we explore relationship instead of religion every week. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds.

Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. So, amazing opportunity we have today on Lantern Rescue. We get sort of an update on something we've talked a little bit about before, but Operation House, and it was certainly quite an operation, wasn't it, Gabby?

Yes, it was. It happened earlier in the year, last year in 2023, and it was a large operation we had where 16 minors were rescued. And, you know, during the investigation, they had found out that two traffickers, the ones that were arrested, were grooming these girls online and then extorting and manipulating them into becoming victims of sex trafficking in, like, tourist resorts.

Americans were involved in the purchasing of the girls, and it was a pretty hard case for everyone. And, you know, just hearing about the follow-up has been really cool. Micah recently got to speak a little bit more into this case, and we would love to hear him share just how that touched his heart.

Yeah, Micah? Yeah, when we were down about a month ago, we had the opportunity to meet some of the victims that were rescued from Operation House. And, like Gabby said, the operation last year, but a little bit of detail, what was happening was the girls got to share just a little bit of their rescue, but the process how they got there. And this is something that I think is important for any parent or anyone who is a guardian to learn to be observant and to pay attention, but in this case, the traffickers were pretending for most of these girls to be younger boys, their age group. And at the time, we're talking about 13-, 15-year-olds, and they made fake Facebook accounts and were just interacting to girls and building relationships and then started sending pictures back and forth, and as a trafficker, these were all fake pictures. Not themselves, real pictures of little boys, but, like, they were already using victims to advertise. And in return, they asked these girls for pictures back, and as they started building relationships, the girls would get more and more brave and start sending more and more pictures and nudes of themselves, and then the trafficker would turn around and say, hey, we got you now, like, this boy doesn't exist, but we have these pictures of you, and unless you listen to us and do what we say, we will use these pictures against you and show your families what you're really like and show it to your schoolmate friends and your neighborhoods, and then nobody's going to want to talk to you again because you're disgusting and you do something as hideous as this. And so these girls felt entrapped, and there's a fear there, and so being young and vulnerable, a lot of them gave in, in a sense, and they're like, what do we do to keep this quiet? And they were told to live their normal lives and pretend they were going to school, and they would leave to go to school but never show up at school.

And so the morning of, they would have breakfast with their family or parents, hug and kiss and go by, after they're going to school, and end up meeting somewhere else and being picked up. And like Gabby said, they were taken to resorts or other areas, and a lot of times Americans would come down and get the oldest trafficker and rent these girls. And as a parent, it just tears your heart to hear that fear that these girls couldn't even ask for help or go to the parents because they're so worried about what their parents would think of them or other family members and that fear. And fear is real and that's what these traffickers work on. They work on the vulnerable and that's why trafficking is growing because they can work on fear and really trick these kids to feel that way. And so, in this sense, the girls felt locked and stuck in and so they would be rented out. And they would get noticed when they show up again, and how what happened to them, the traffickers really didn't care. They were being rented out, they were making the money, and the girls were not getting any of this money back.

And they're just being tricked to keep following in this pattern. One of our operators in the area got wind because two girls actually escaped and ran away and confessed and they were able to get a hold of one of our operators out there and they were able to use the information to get a better location where this is happening and what to look for from the traffickers. And the girls had really good descriptions of how they were being transported and what the traffickers look like. And the operator was able to identify these traffickers and so they found out there was a lot more girls involved than they knew, but they were able to fake a party. And so they rented a vacation home in the DR and pretended to have a bunch of men there ready to rent these girls and so they made a very large order and about 12 girls showed up that night and the operator and the local police there were able to rescue these girls on site and catch the two traffickers, which is huge. And they even afterwards were able to find two more girls within the same neighborhood already being sent to another area so it became about 16 girls are rescued, give or take. So it was just incredible to hear how Lantern was able to help in this process and how that kind of worked and to see what happened and to see that there's a lot of background work, a lot of undercover work needs to be done, but how many layers there is to it and just getting little bits and clues and everything to follow through and then rescue these girls through that process. Yeah.

Wow. And you know, for others, we were able to meet 12 of these girls that were rescued while we're down there and we met at a local restaurant and people sit down and have this dinner with them and hang out. And at first it was hard because I'm like, man, I'm a young man coming down here representing the church just to see how things are working and they just came out of something. So I try my best or the language barrier there and I got my smartphone out and just started talking about myself.

Cause I didn't, if I started prying questions on them, I knew they'd be uncomfortable. And so I just started sharing my story and it worked out. We were at a local pizza shop down there and the one girl did ask if I was married and had kids.

So I said yes. And so I actually FaceTime my wife and kids and they were making pizza at home and it was at that moment where, um, all walls were broken, like any, any hindrance and the girls just opened right up and we're like, Holy cow, this guy has a family and his kids and he's loving on them. And they just really opened up at that point and it was just neat to see them having a good time. Um, I mean these girls at this time, cause from last year they're now 15, 16 years old. And so they were just like regular teenage girls kind of teasing me a little bit and was like, well, you have a little bit of gray in your beard.

Oh, why are you old? I'm like, well, my kids give me gray hair and they thought that was hilarious and they got to meet my kids and just interact. They'll talk. But then just to hear them laugh after knowing what happened to them was such a huge relief and that there's hope for these girls and that they are recovering and there is a process that can help them. And it just felt good to be apart and just to be able to communicate with them.

Cause that's something, that's why we, cause it's not just about getting the numbers or rescues, it's about what happens afterwards too. And that's where our church wanted to get involved and help out. And it's so important to support these victims after the fact and to be able to be down there with lantern and with some of the operators just to do a followup really meant a lot to see, um, the love of God in action and in reality. And it wasn't just someone writing, Hey, we love you. It's like, Hey, we're showing up again and we're going to learn your names and we're going to meet your needs and we're going to pray with you.

And how are you doing? And that just meant so much to these girls. And it was just neat to see them light up when they, they knew that, um, the, some of the counselors that come back and some of the operators and people involved the lantern and they just loved on us and just thank us over and over again.

Like, thank you for caring. Thank you for being there. And we know how dangerous you guys are in these situations too, but, and the parents were there. Some of the parents showed up, um, and they were just hugging on some of the staff there too. And it was just a very emotional moment. It's full of tears just to see like, Hey, your life matters and God loves you is going to continue to speak into your life if you let them.

And it's just like, we are here to help support you guys and love you guys back. Yeah, it's absolutely beautiful. And so that's, when you say the DR, you mean the Dominican Republic, right?

Is where you guys were. Yeah, I apologize. I meant the Dominican Republic. That's okay.

That's okay. People don't necessarily just know what those aren't, what that means. And I, what language do they actually speak? So, um, it's Spanish, um, and they do have their own dialect, but overall it's like the standard Spanish and then they have their own slang in there and they were making fun of me for that as a normal teenager would, um, very interactive and they would, they wanted to know what was trending in our area too. And they want to know our slang. Um, cause they were teasing like, how come Americans always say that's cool? And uh, cause it doesn't make sense interpreted in their language. And so I try to explain to them and they just thought that was hilarious. So they were trying to teach me their slang too. And I, of course I'm still trying to learn basic Spanish, so I had no idea what they're talking about.

And uh, they just wanted me to repeat the words just to laugh cause they knew how bad my Spanish was. Yeah, I understand. And so are they still pretty much staying with their families or are they staying there at the, at the treatment place or you know, how does that work for them? So in this case it was interesting. Um, a lot of them were able to go back home, um, that the parents weren't involved with this process of trafficking them and had no idea. And so, um, after being vetted, they were able to determine that they actually were in safe homes. It's just educating the families more and getting them more, um, involved in their kids' lives. And so a lot of them are back home.

Um, maybe not, um, in the best neighborhoods, but they're, they're in a house and they're with their parents and they do have the freedom to go about their lives. So they're getting more acclimated back into society too, but they, um, Lantern has counselors and people to help with aftermath. And so these girls and their families are in contact often and really get a chance to do follow up and just make sure, Hey, is there an issue or how are things going or how are you mentally?

Or can we pray for you about anything? And so that's what I love is just the fact that we can follow up and just be a part of them. They'll help out that way. Yeah, absolutely. Well, we've got to go to a break.

I know like me, you're just absolutely fascinated. We come back, we're going to find out more on how you can be praying and some updates about other things, other activity down there. And so we'll be right back with a whole lot more Lantern Rescue with Operation House Update. Lantern Rescue is a USA based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Lantern specializes in sending former US special operation law enforcement and intelligence personnel to partner with host nations and assist them in creating specialized units to combat ongoing security problems such as genocide, terrorism and human trafficking.

As a nonprofit charity, they offer services free of charge to their host nations. Human trafficking has grown into the second largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated 150 billion dollars in annual activity. Lantern Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Lantern operates through a trained international network in order to rescue women and children from sex and labor slavery and facilitates holistic aftercare services. They're gearing up for operations right now and you can go to lanternrescue.org to see how you can support them financially. Welcome back to this Operation House Update on Lantern Rescue and Gabby, there's a whole lot going on. There is a whole lot, you know, I just want to say thank you to everybody who has listened this far and followed along with Lantern.

If you're wanting more details on this case, I just want to put it out there that you can go to our website to look up. We have a story written and in that story we have a really special quote that just resonates so well with me and it's from the lead operator of this case and he said, "'These girls went home at night. Not every victim is in chains. Some go home and then they go back to their traffickers the next day. Some can be even trafficked out of their own home.'" And it just resonates with me so much because working with Lantern, I have learned that every trafficking case, every scenario, every survivor story is so different and their needs are extremely different, too.

There's not one thing that you can do to help them. It's really just learning to listen and adapting and praying and growing alongside of it to expand and figure out, you know, what the best way is to support. And I know Micah experienced some of that, too, while he was there with a couple of the girls and it's just a testament to the heart inside of Lantern and how we wish to grow and to listen well. Wow, Micah, and so you had quite an encounter with one family, didn't you? Yeah, and I want to open up with, I want to read a scripture. It's in James 1, 27. I'm going to read it from the New Living.

It says, "...pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father meets caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." And there was a point during our dinner, one of the girls was holding a baby and she was trying to eat her pizza and the baby was fussing a little bit. I was like, hey, do you mind, can I hold this baby? And I was thinking it was a sibling and she handed the baby to me and she proceeded to tell me that this was a result of her getting raped during one of the parties that she was trafficked at. But while she was pregnant, she was rescued and she was rescued early in her pregnancy and she was told she had the option if she wanted to have the baby aborted. But being rescued so encouraged her and transformed her life. She told me her goal was to raise a child that would make a difference in the world just like the people who rescued her made a difference. And as I'm holding this baby, I look down and it's just a beautiful life. And the fact that at this time this girl was 13, she was pregnant, 14 when she had the baby, she chose life to help make a difference going forward. And to be able to, one, hold that child that there's a promise for this kid's life and this mom wants to be a blessing back to the world because she's been rescued. I just broke down.

I'm in the middle of a pizza shop and I'm sobbing. And it was just a really sovereign moment and it just really touched me and the other team there. And I was able to get a picture of the baby not because it was a show and tell thing, it was like because I wanted to pray for this mighty warrior. And it could be another Moses we're praying for or another amazing leader and like we read in the gospel and it's going to come to life because there's a promise spoken of these kids and these girls, their faith is increased so much that they're believing that good can still happen and they're challenged to continue to pass that on. And I was just so encouraged.

This is the heart of Lantern. We're not only just rescuing these victims, we're here to see long term and we want to see souls and people come to Christ and then for them to turn around and also make a difference and impact their surroundings. It just so touched me. It was a tough moment, a very emotional moment, but at the same time it was one of the highlights of the whole trip. Yeah, I can't even imagine thinking about a 13 or 14 year old girl, but you actually have seen and experienced that in a completely different culture like that.

It's got to be just life changing. Yeah, and it really helped focus that there is a need set out there and like this girl, she decided to give birth, but like she's still struggling to get the things she needs. And some of the girls there, and you'll read in the article too, they were victims of some STDs and some of them had to get surgeries and they'll never be able to have a kid because of what happened to them. Others are having emotional and physical scarings and they're dealing with this and so there's such a need, prayer need, but these kids have medical issues now. And so I think that's where I think the church around the world can help and help support and as we continue to support Lantern and have these needs that want to be addressed, we can help pay for some of these medical expenses or help even with formula for this baby or even clothes. Or these girls who are going back to school, it's not like here in the states where education is free if you have the option, they're still paying so they're struggling to even pay for their schooling. And so this is an area where I feel like the gospel can be spread from people who just want to continue to share God's love and help support and just be a blessing to these girls and others, victims like this around the world. We're not just speaking about the Dominican Republic. This is what's happening worldwide and so I just love this fact that Lantern's helping after the fact where they can and where they can't because of guidelines or bylaws, they can go out of their scope.

This is where the church can step in and really be huge support. Absolutely, and we just want to remind you that the website is actually lanternrescue.org. It's lanternrescue.org. And then how is the article titled, Gabby?

It's actually called Operation House. You can go to updates and you can see that article there. And if you have been moved, like many, by these kinds of stories, you can actually sign up for our prayer to come in. Text PRAY to 336-234-3302 and you can get those updates directly to your phone as operations have just happened and or there are survivors that need immediate prayer.

And we are trying to get those out because we know how much of an impact it makes and we know that each one of us has one of those stories that just clings to our heart and makes us want to move forward in that. Wow, can you give that phone number again? And that's at the website as well, right? Absolutely, yes.

It's on the website, but it is PRAY to 336-234-3302. Wow, what a wonderful thing to be able to do. Just text that and then you will be getting the updates and urgent prayer requests because a lot of times there's operations going on right that minute and people are hurt and things like that. And so some of those updates are vital, right Gabby?

Yes, absolutely. A lot of times, because of the nature of the updates, we are able to give minimal information and later more information will be shared through our newsletter or through our website and social media. So if you really want the most amount of information on our stories, it's good to follow the podcast and our social media and just stay up to date. But if you are very interested in praying in those immediate moments, that is absolutely the best way. Yeah, sometimes it comes across and it's not clear what you're exactly praying for, but at least you know that this is an opportunity to pray and what a great resource that is for our listeners and other people that want to support Lantern.

And so Micah, is there some other part of that, the last trip that you wanted to share? Yeah, I think we're continuing to look at how the church in general can help out and I think I shared this a little bit last week on helping Lantern come up with, our church is going to get involved, but then once we kind of have a footprint and show how easy it is and kind of lay out the track, churches who contact Lantern who want to get involved will already have that set up. So obviously Lantern has their own rescue process and churches aren't stepping away with that, but after the aftermath is huge and just to be a blessing and one of the ideas that we're looking into is a lot of times when they get the green light for the rescue, they only have a little bit of time and they go in there and thinking, like in this case, they were rescuing 12 girls and have found two more after the fact at 14 at night. So when they go to that transition home, the transition homes don't know what they're expecting. And I think a need that we could be a blessing at is to have duffel bags already packed for age appropriate victims.

So should they get there, they can get out of that clothes they are told to wear for their clients and get into like some sweat pants and a sweatshirt or T-shirt and have a stuffed toy and a book and just be able to feel normal. And so that's an area that it's been on my heart, we want to be a blessing and help in these transition homes. And I think worldwide people can bless that way and help pitch together, even either give financially through Lantern or help get the supplies and contact Lantern and figure out how to get them shipped to the areas of need. I think that's huge and I think that'd be a huge blessing and it just to help these victims feel like, hey, there's someone that loves you enough, this is all free, take this.

And as you go back to transition home and go to your bed at night, just feel the love and there's people around the world are still caring for you. And so it's definitely a vision I've been sharing with Lantern we want to help out with. Absolutely, we appreciate you so much Micah and we love when not just individuals get involved, but communities, whether that's churches or businesses, because it shows like a team that wants to support us and partner with us. And you know, where we are so focused on very certain things, we are so excited when other people have ideas that can bring in and partner with us in that. So yes, if you are a church and you want to partner with us in some way, please feel free to reach out. Yeah, or a business, right? Or they know any organization. Yeah, absolutely.

Easy enough to just go to lanternrescue.org. Well, Gabby, as you know, as of right this moment, how can our listeners be praying in the last few seconds we have? They can be praying for a few operations that are going on right now in the next couple of weeks.

And for the survivors of one that just happened, details are not completely out about the one that just happened. They will be coming out on prayer texts in the next few days, but there were matters involved and they can just be praying for the peace and the healing for all involved in those cases. For the ones waiting rescue and for the ones that have been rescued, that God just fills their heart with that peace as they are going through all of the really hard motions of the investigation process and getting into aftercare and support and all of the steps it takes. Healing is absolutely your journey, but we know that God is faithful and He remains faithful through it. So just continue to pray that with us. That's so awesome. Well, Micah, Gabby, we are so grateful. And keep up the great work, guys. God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-09 12:21:54 / 2024-03-09 12:32:22 / 10

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