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Look Up At the Stars

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
October 30, 2021 12:00 pm

Look Up At the Stars

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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October 30, 2021 12:00 pm

Haley, a sex trafficking survivor, returns for a second week in a row to courageously share more of her story of abuse, discuss the aftermath and healing process, and more on her providential friendship with Lantern volunteer Casey, which has helped her to cultivate a budding relationship with Jesus Christ. Haley is joined by Casey, Mark, and Ren.

A warning for listeners: this episode contains sensitive content, including accounts of sexual abuse and suicide. Discretion is advised.


Hey, this is Mike Zwick from If Not For God Podcast, our show. Stories of hopelessness turned into hope. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds.

Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Those 60 days my dad was in jail, we snuck to church. My grandma was always super religious, so she would pick us up and take us. For me, church just started to become a safe place. I might not have understood what was going on or what was being said, but I knew I was safe inside of those walls and safe with the people around me. That kind of grew. My dad tried to break it in every way possible, like burning Bibles.

If I brought one home, anything you could think of, he would do. Welcome to Lantern Rescue, a ministry program dedicated to bringing light into the darkness of human trafficking. It's time to light the way to freedom. This is Lantern Rescue. We tell the stories, we talk about rescues, and we empower you to do something about it.

William Wilberforce once said, let it not be said I was silent when they needed me. This is Lantern Rescue. We are so honored really to have Haley back with us. And to kind of bring you back up to speed, we've got Wren with Lantern Rescue. So Wren, share a little bit about what's going on.

Yeah, absolutely. So we have Haley on the podcast, and she told her story about what happened to her as a child and the familial human trafficking, sex trafficking specifically, that she had to endure. And we just wanted to talk a little bit about how this is a thing that happens. It happens all over the world. It happens in America, and it might have happened to someone that you know.

And we want to make sure that people know what this is, that this is happening, and if it's happening to you or someone you know, what to tell authorities and what to call this so that you can get the help that you deserve. So what happened to Haley is what's considered familial sex trafficking. So she was groomed from a very, very young age, starting at four, to become a pawn for her father to use to exploit for himself, and then as well as to other people to get money, drugs, whatever that might be. So what makes it human trafficking and not just familial sexual assault is that transaction that happened with other individuals that he was exploiting her for profit, sexually exploiting his own child for profit. So that is familial sex trafficking, and it does happen, and it happens more frequently than we'd like to admit. So it's very dark and it's very hard to look at, but it happens very young.

Children are groomed very young. They're taught this is normal. They're not supposed to say anything, that they're somehow at fault, that they're wrong. And it goes on for years, and people always wonder why didn't you say something sooner? Why didn't this? Why didn't that? And there's no answers to those.

No one can answer that. The point of it is is that people are twisted and they're sick, and they abuse these young innocent children and convince them that this is how it happens. This is normal.

This is what's going to happen to you now, and you can't do anything about it. So it's incredible that Haley has come forward and she's spoken about what happened to her, and it's just awe-inspiring. It is amazing. I'm so proud of her and so proud of Casey for everything that they have done, and for the healing that Haley's gone through.

It's truly incredible. So we just wanted to highlight that this does happen, what it's called, and if you see any of the signs in someone else in your life, to get help and to tell authorities what it is. Yeah, because if you listen to the previous episode, right, you're like, oh my goodness, I don't want this to ever happen to anybody, anytime, anywhere, you know, that's just, it breaks our heart. And so back with Haley, I know, you know, one of the more traumatic things that happened to you when you were 15, apparently, is your dad's trial.

Yeah, definitely. So the trial itself wasn't until I was, I want to say 17, maybe 18. So it started, I first reported it when I was 15, but then I went to court once a month for three and a half years against him. So when he was first arrested, he was in jail for three days before they decided that he was safe to be in the community, and that he wasn't a flight risk.

So they released him and he went home. And as long as he went to his court date, he was fine. So once a month, I would go to court against him. And the court process is such, such a long process. It started with, like, there's so many different smaller court dates that you have to get before you actually get to a trial. And so many, like, he could offer me, like, a plea deal, and then I'd have to accept it or deny it. And it went back and forth. And then he would fire his attorneys and hire new attorneys.

So the process would start over again. So altogether, I think it took four and a half years because he was found guilty on March something in 2020. But then it wasn't until June of this year that we went back to court for his sentencing, because they're two different dates.

And COVID kind of messed it up some with him, like missing dates and that kind of thing and them not being allowed to, like, transport prisoners to court and that. So, yeah. And so how long did he get? 15 years.

Are you kidding me? Yeah. I guess, you know, like, oh my gosh, like, oh my gosh. And you went through all those years of having to testify. Were you doing that in like front of your mother and other people? Or they closed the courtroom for you? No, so it was an open courtroom every time we went, including the trial. So I at the trial, he testified, I testified, and my mom testified against me. So it was very interesting.

But anybody who wanted to walk in, like any of his friends or anything were welcome into the courtroom to come sit and watch. Wow. And so did you have a support group of some kind to helping you? Yeah. Luckily at that point, me and my foster mom were super close.

So she went with me along with the maternal side of my family, excluding my mother. Oh my goodness. And how would you prepare for that emotionally every, for years?

Yeah. It was definitely an emotional toll throughout the years, especially because when you're in the court process leading up to a trial, there are certain like therapies and treatments you're not allowed to do because they're afraid it'll mess with your brain and mess up your testimony. So like the therapies that are proven to help PTSD, I wasn't allowed to actually go through because of the court process. So I was kind of just going to court once a month, just like waiting and waiting for it to be over.

Oh my gosh. And so you can kind of get a feel for how important, you know, Casey is to your case at this point in time, right? Like, so Casey is, as you became aware of these things, you know, can you kind of share, I mean, what do you say to a friend as you realize that, man, they've been through all these things or where does that take you? It's, it's hard to find the things to say. And what I've realized is it's a lot less of really saying anything and more just listening and validating and reassuring and loving because there's not, there's not anything I can say to her to take away what happened.

So it's, it's a lot more of less talking and more listening. Wow. Yeah.

Job's friends could have used your advice. Just saying, I don't know. So it's absolutely, so this court thing, you know, it's just like, I, I would have no idea that somebody would be in for such a battle as, as, as you have been through with that kind of thing. And so your stepmom, did she have some faith? Were you guys praying that you were getting my foster mom? I mean, your foster? Yeah. My foster mom was actually a pastor. Oh, yeah.

Yeah, it was definitely even when I moved in there, it was a little bit of like culture shock because I came from my background and my foster mom was a pastor and my foster dad was a police officer. Oh, God to the rescue. Wow. Yeah. Wow. And so what a, that's just amazing to me.

How cool is it that God provided that for you for such a time as this? And so the other thing that I know that I personally am very curious about is that I know in my own background, you know, certain things happened to you when you were young and you thought that that was just normal. Like, doesn't that happen to everybody? And, and, and that's something for healing really, for almost everybody listening, chances are there were things that went on in your youth that you thought it was normal to be tied up to a post and need water and, and, and that kind of stuff is crazy.

Yeah, definitely. I definitely always, until I was older and old enough to realize that this, like, this was just my life. This was normal. And my parents would tell me that all dads did this to their daughters and no one was allowed to talk about it. So in my mind, like if I went to school and saw other girls there, like it was happening to them too. And we just weren't allowed to talk about it.

We weren't allowed to bring it up. Yeah. Yeah. Like interestingly, like when I was 13, I attempted suicide and I thought it was normal. Like that's just football, but it, it, it wasn't normal. And so it's, it's, it's a good thing to see in your own life, you know, where, where is that going on? And, you know, wow, to realize that somebody that's been through some abuse, they don't realize that it wasn't normal.

And so part of the healing process is, is to see that. But the other thing that happens that really is terrifying, but I know it is in my own case, is we tend to find our own self at fault. Like I was, I was, I was, I was at fault. Like I was, I'm at blame for this stuff coming at me. And you know, it must be something I did. I must deserve this kind of, you know, can you kind of take us in the, I can't even imagine in your own story what that looks like.

Yeah. There's a lot of like, if I would have, then this wouldn't have happened, or if I would have done this, then I would have been safe sooner. I try to, I try to stop those thoughts when they come on. But even today, it's like, well, maybe if I was a better daughter, maybe if I loved him more, maybe if I loved my mom more, like all of those thoughts come in.

It's like, if I, if I did all these things for him, maybe he would have actually loved me, maybe he would have actually taken care of me, maybe he would have protected me. Yeah. And so, you know, you can just see, you know, if you're listening like me, like, wow, God, we need you.

This is way over anything that I can even begin to process. And yes, it's going on in Haiti. And yes, it's going on in Ecuador. And yes, it's going on in all over the world. But oh, my goodness, it's going on here too. And God, we need you in all these different places. And we need prayer. And so, Mark, I'm curious your thoughts as you hear this. You, you are right. There are, there are literally millions of girls like Haley around the world who are suffering at the hands of their family members being sold.

And our teams intercept those every week. And we're fortunate enough, our prosecution process is within 24 hours. You know, I hate to hear this, how long it took, but I understand it from my own children's situation. So I, I have, I do have another question for you. Because we're going to get a lot of response from this. There's going to be a lot of survivors. And there's going to be a lot of sufferers who are probably going to reach out and want to connect to you. You know, there's going to be some in the midst of it, and there's going to be some on the other side of it.

And they're going to want to connect to you. And have you connected with other survivors? Is there someone that I know Casey means the world to you? Was there someone that helped you? Maybe that was your foster mom that helped you know that you can be a survivor. You know, sometimes in the situation you describe in your life, I mean, I've met girls in the Middle East and stuff who didn't know surviving was a possibility anymore. They just completely lost, they've just lost all hope, you know, and maybe you hit that spot or, you know, what, what puts you into a place where you had hope?

Yes, I think there's been a couple people in my life who have helped me get to that point. Right after everything happened on my 15th birthday, I tried to kill myself. It was right before my junior year in high school. And I was taken to the hospital.

I was put in a psych hospital for seven days to, like, make me safe again or whatever. And I remember when I went back to school, I had a teacher there who was like my school mom. And we still stay in contact today.

She cares, she cares deeply about me and I care deeply about her. And I remember, like being not like afraid, but like, I really have to face this woman right now. So I remember trying to walk past her into her classroom and she pulled me out and she was like, no, you can stay out here. And I just remember her looking at me and telling me, I have too much of a future plan for you, for you to be doing these things. And I think it was in that moment that I was like, there is somebody here that believes in me. There is somebody here who's going to help me have a future for myself. So I think it really can just be one statement from one person on one day that can really help you and you hold on to it for longer than they would think you would do. Oh my goodness.

I know you're thinking, how could we go to a break right now? But that's where we're at. So, you know, when we come back on the other side, we have more in Haley and Landon Rescue today on this difficult situation we all need to be aware of. Landon Rescue is a USA-based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Landon specializes in sending former US special operations, 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 service to the United States and 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 in annual activity. Landon Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Landon 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 operations right now and you can go to to see how you can support them financially. The following program contains sensitive content, including accounts of sexual abuse and suicide. Listener discretion is advised. Welcome back to Landon Rescue. And again, we've got Haley with us and this story that we've been telling for a couple of episodes. And, you know, I'm thinking all the listeners are like me, like, man, God helped me to know where I fit in this, right? As you're praying through this and thinking through this, you know, sometimes God says, send me. Well, certainly he's sending you to pray. He's sending you to see, you know, how I can connect with ministry or maybe even resources. But to get to that, Haley, what kind of resources were there for you when you were, when you're in this situation? So I had very little resources available to me.

There wasn't much around me at that time, just where I was, like I wasn't in a big city or anything where there were a lot of things happening, but it was also super hard because there's little to offer child victims in that situation because a lot or most of the resources when you're a minor have to go through or need your parents' approval. But when your parents are the abusers, it becomes a lot more complicated than that because they're obviously not going to sign off on something that's going to save the child. Right. Or point in the direction of their guilt. And you can see the need, you know, maybe there's lawmakers listening that need to think through, you know, wow.

Or maybe you know a lawmaker and maybe you can pray along those lines that, you know, these resources are certainly like some we're all involved, you know, what can we do as we think through what could we do for somebody else so they don't necessarily have to go through this. So getting back to that question of, you know, that one teacher that, you know, is really it's outstanding to me that she was the one that spoke into you and I can't think how many times, Ren, you've said, you know, if you're a teacher, if you're a Sunday school teacher, all those kind of things that to be aware and essentially to care because at the end of it, it seems like that was what mattered is you didn't sense anybody cared. Yeah, definitely.

Yeah. And so was there somebody else that was like that along the way that came that that you would remark on? I think she was a major one throughout my high school years. She helped me get to the point where I was able to graduate college and high school.

Actually, she was always like fighting. You graduated college? I graduated my associates when I was 17. Did you really? Yeah. Congratulations. Yeah. That's awesome.

Yeah. So I graduated my associates a month before I graduated high school. So I did then like at the same time and she was a big part of that too, helping me figure out what classes to take, how it was going to get paid for. Like she helped me figure all of that out because she knew how desperately when I graduated high school that I needed to go away to college. I needed to go to a four year college to get away from my family. And so she was, I mean, she helped me apply to schools, helped me with my financial aid.

She did all of it. And I will forever be thankful for everything she did for me. But I think as I got older, she was still there. But more recently, I think Casey has been a big one and helping love me and helping me spiritually. It's different to go to church with somebody who actually cares about you and to walk in and know you're safe there and know that you can actually focus on what's going on.

I'm interested in that, Casey. So her foster mom was a pastor, right? So obviously she had instruction, but I can sense from her, you know, the original prayer was that you could be a light. And so you talked about listening, but what is it like to actually engage with her in church and those kinds of things? I realized in that moment when listening was all I could really do and that I didn't have any or many words to help get through, but I know who does and I know where we can go. So it was something that Haley really wanted to do and something I was excited to do to take her to church and kind of go deeper with it and really start understanding and reading the Bible and not only reading it, but understanding it and finding encouragement and life in it. That was a huge honor and something that we're still doing 6 a.m. Yeah, because I years and years of trauma to just try and use therapy when we have the best healer that can be like fast tracked using God.

Here again, I know that, you know, Mark is saying, you see where we pick these volunteers? But I'm sitting there going, how cool. What are you studying?

I mean, I'm sure like everybody is like, where would you go? How did God lead you in this? Which books are you going through? Right now, we're really trying to focus on God's love that he has for her and understanding that Haley's situation is incredibly hard. And I've had I've really struggled with the promises of God.

And obviously we know that he doesn't allow like there's things out of control and he didn't allow any of these things to happen. So we're just working on realizing that God has love for her. And once she can grasp the understanding of how much he loves her, the promises that he gave her are going to be easier to believe in. And so where do you find that?

Where do I find that? Yeah, what verse or what verses? Let's see.

Well, I can just tell you mine. I'm hoping that you'll take, you know, because I'll never, ever forget when I realized that the Song of Solomon, right, goes all over the place. But where it originally went was that there's this beloved and it's Jesus and he's coming after me, his church, right? And so as I went there, you know, I remember when I was a young kid, I fell in love with this girl, like 12, 13 years old. And I'm almost like in these days, stalked her, right? Like wherever she was, I wanted to see her.

I wanted to, you know, hang out on her neighborhood or be on the street where she lived. And so when I read that verse in the Song of Solomon, it says, he's peering through the lattice trying to get a look at me. In other words, Jesus is stalking me. You know, that's how much he's in love with me, that he's, he's as in love with me as I was with Sue Truesdale.

I mean, he wanted to get, and he just wants to get a look at me. And, you know, what a promise that really me, I mean, does he not know all the shenanigans that I was in? And yet I do know in my heart that it's there. And I hope, Haley, that you do and that you guys are doing that because I couldn't agree with you more that there when you can read it and you know that God wrote this stuff thousands of years ago to let you know that he's going to be there for you in those kinds of things. And I'm curious, Mark, what your thoughts on the, like, when you've got these victims, where do you go in the Bible? Mark- You know, Jeremiah 29, 11 is, is all throughout Hobby Lobby and it's on house walls and everything. And sometimes we make fun of the verses that get marketed so well, but the reality is they're so powerful, you know, that God does has a plan and purpose for Haley and, uh, and that still being, uh, revealed. And, you know, also what I would tell her is I tell everybody the actual secret sauce and all that is that God is going to be glorified. And that's, that's all of creation's purpose, you know, and, uh, what happens to us, what passes through him sovereignly and what he allows to happen to you, even though it breaks his heart and what he allows to happen to our, you know, the victims that are rescued, um, it's, God is going to have his honor and he's going to have his glory in it. And that might be judgment day when, uh, those are cast into the lake of fire. Uh, but if we, uh, if we're willing to, to be that voice and Haley, you're being willing, so willing, and it's amazing to see you take this step and we are honored to be part of this step. I tell you what, I'm just looking here like, man, God can, man, can he be glorified in this. Darrell Bock Right.

Cause you think what Satan meant for evil, but if you could, I wish the listeners could see the relationship between Casey and Haley and see, you know, this is what love was supposed to be. Right. Right. And this is how connection can be. And, and, you know, it's just, it's absolutely, um, no doubt.

Right. And Haley, you as a, you as a, uh, a survivor, um, you are, we're just honored to be part of it just as the hundreds of girls that I've rescued. I mean, we're not, we're nothing. We're just part of something that God is doing with people who he has allowed tremendous persecution, but he's restoring them and bringing them through that. And, uh, we're just honored to be part of that. And so, you know, um, Casey and her husband and the commitment they've made to help you is, uh, it's, it's amazing because they're going to be the ones who are blessed by it.

You think you're being blessed, but in reality, your life and your overcoming nature is, is really a blessing. Yeah, it is. And Mark, you had a question. Yeah, yeah, sure.

And yeah, for that time, I can tell you, we, we could probably go another episode and there's a lot still going on that I, that I have asked Casey and Haley, please come back in a few months and do an episode. Um, Haley, you mentioned that it sometimes it's the one word of encouragement, the one phrase, the one sentence that comes at you that gets you through that day. Um, and as I mentioned, there are going to be survivors and they're going to be sufferers who are hearing this right now. What is it you would say to them? What is it you would say to someone who is in the suffering that you experienced? I would tell them that there is someone out there in the world that will care for them and protect them and fight for them. And even if they don't see it right now, it's all around them.

And there is somebody always fighting for them. Yeah. Wow. Like I was thinking about when you said you were counting the stars, you know? Yeah. There's somebody and it's just a beautiful thing. Yeah.

If you don't see anyone, look up to the stars. Yeah. Wow. So, you know, again, if you're listening, you know, you, you have a responsibility. God wants your heart, right? He wants it, you know, where can you fit in? What can you do to reach out to land and

You know, how can you contribute or, or how can you start a resource for people that, you know, that doesn't require parents for, for people that were in Haley's situation? You know, I don't know what God has, but he's, he, you know, he's calling and, and, and how cool is it that, that he can be honored? You know, we each have our own abilities and talents that God's given us to engage. And so we'd ask you to prayerfully think, wow, what's my response to this God? I got to hear this. I got to see, you know, how, how brave, how, how beautiful you are in the midst of what is unthinkable. And what's my response. So thank you for listening. That's one response. And we just can't tell you how much we appreciate you joining us today on Land and Rescue.

This is the Truth Network. Say, what would you do if you were a new Christian and you didn't have a Bible? It's Michael Woolworth, by the way, from Bible League International. And you'd probably say, well, I'd hop in my car. I'd go to a Christian bookstore or have one shipped to me.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-29 16:42:30 / 2023-07-29 16:54:24 / 12

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