This is Andy Thomas from the Masculine Journey Podcast where we discover what it means to be a wholehearted man. 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.
The Truth Network Podcast is brought to you by Masculine Journey. 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. Oh, we've got a show for you today on Lantern Rescue as we have some wonderful updates.
Really, you know, victim-intense updates that we want to share with you today, right? Mark and Wren are both with us. So, Mark, what do we got?
Hey, yes, sir. First of all, I'm so excited to be on the show because it's been a while since I've been on the show and particularly a while since Wren and I have been able to actually have an hour connected where we were not doing something different, working in different directions. And here we are on the show together.
So I'm really excited about that. And yeah, we've been so busy and that's part of it. I mean, Alan, TC, Wren, myself, and then even other people that we've been introducing into our podcast. You know, God has given us so much favor. We are working nonstop. I wanted to say, too, how much I appreciate Truth Network and AFR and our partners who take our show out.
And here's why. I was with some gentlemen in the southeast of the U.S. recently and they asked what I did. And I said, hey, you know, I work in the countertrafficking realm. And they said, oh, we listen to this show on the radio and it's called it's called Rescue Laner Rescue something.
You know, they were there Laner Rescue. I listen to it. I listen to it all the time. And I was like, that's pretty cool. And they're like, yeah, you should listen to it.
That's happened more than once, actually. And I thought, that is so fantastic, because they were excited about the show and what God was doing through Laner. And I didn't have, you know, I just got to be excited with them, you know what I mean, without even saying anything.
So that was pretty cool. And I'm glad we have this available to our ministry, our organization, that our radio partners actually do that, you know, and give us this space. Because, you know, Ren and I and all of us would all say, look, there's not a day on this earth that we probably deserve or should have a radio show. You know, but we're excited to have it. And like you said, for the, you know, for the sake of the victims and for the sake of the work. This show is really important because we are fighting a criminality that is growing. It's such a fast rate.
It's such a fast rate. And, you know, we finish one case and turn around and there's just another one with, you know, multiple victims. And it doesn't matter if there's one or if there's a hundred victims, we're trying to address it and we're trying to attack it and we're trying to fix that problem and bring justice to it. So, thanks. I guess what I'm saying. Oh, you know, we, you know, it's the listeners that make all that possible, right?
And tell other people about the show and spread the word. And, you know, we're so grateful for that because, you know, that's what God's doing. So that's awesome. Thank you, Mark.
And Ren as well. So I'm going to update real quick, if I could start us off. And I know we've had a show or two about a case that we had in the Caribbean that resulted in a large number of victims. And and so it had a large number of victims.
And just, you know, for those who listen faithfully every week, forgive me if I recap a couple of things. But I wanted to just again share how proud we are of the country and its people that worked with us, because this was a nine to 10 month investigation. And in correlating with the investigation, we had training.
You know, we had TC and Karp and Allen and Jack. I mean, we had so many people, myself and Ren, all of us. We are just training everybody that we needed to train for this operation to go safely, because honestly, it was probably the largest one in the in the Caribbean that I'm aware of. Now, there's been some by DA that was larger in headcount, but this was 14 different locations.
And, you know, that is that's quite the takedown to to perform. And so it took a great deal of surveillance. It took a lot of undercover work. It took a lot of digital exploitation by one of our partners in CPTF, the National Child Protection Task Force. And, you know, they joined hand in hand with us, along with the attorney general's office of the country, the SWAT force, some of their units, such as their investigative units, both electronic and otherwise.
And now everything wasn't perfect. Don't get me wrong. OK. It is there. There is still a lot to improve and do. But operationally, we want to give it about it.
We want to give it an eight out of 10. OK. And I want to. Yeah, go ahead. I just wanted to say while we're while we're talking about it is I want to give credit to the locals. That really I mean, we allude to it.
Right. The training. We were training the locals. We we participated in this raid. But, you know, the locals, the whole idea of Lantern Rescue is to train the locals to save themselves.
So I just really want to give credit to the locals. Law enforcement really was the muscle behind this operation. We see other organizations that do operations in other countries. And the way their narrative goes is you would think it's just three white guys that ran in and single handedly rescued 100 victims in another country. And the reality is, yeah, we were there and we helped.
But the locals are really the ones, the local law enforcement is really who put a lot of work into this. And I just want to make sure that they're getting credit. We were reviewing. We reviewed the operation from, you know, every every standpoint we can, including just, you know, the actual tactics that were done.
And I'll tell you about one. One was a 10 story hotel. Right. And so the one of the units we trained was responsible, you know, with our people to do that hotel.
And the evaluation process of how to safely go through 10 levels, 10 floors with a limited number of people. That's important because, you know, well, life or death is that's why it's important. So they they did such a good job. They did a great job, you know, and they did it well and effectively and so proud of them. So proud of them. So, yeah, like Rens said, we're we're thrilled to have such good partners in that particular region and so glad they did a good and safe job.
Nineteen people have been arrested today. We've had to open we've had to open this particular network. We've had to open the investigation in another country. And so people realize this particular network was multi country.
Probably not. Well, I'd say we're almost 99 percent certain, you know, ties to a terrorist organization and it's still got a lot of work to do. So operation we give it an eight out of 10. Moving forward, we're still at ground zero again.
You know, you feel like you did so much and you see the rest of your 83 victim. But then you realize this network's even it just continues on and bigger. And that's that's something everybody needs to know. Like overseas, the criminality, they've just got a free range.
I mean, they are just doing they got access to do anything. And that's why it's so important when we come into those countries, those countries even know it and they're going, we know, but we we we need somebody to help us. We need a catalyst like you guys to partner with us to to actually get this work done. And so we bring that hope and we bring that impact and we are that catalyst to move forward on those cases. So we've got eight more cases in that region.
Plus, we just opened up one in a nearby country and we're going hard at it. OK. I know Ren and Tammy and and Jamie got to share about the victims and we kind of wanted to to go into an update of how that's going with that, with those girls. And some of the stories of that.
I don't know how much time do we have on this before the break. So for our listeners, they understand we have personal testimony from our victim care specialist, plus the office, plus our own teammates, including Ren here and their interaction with the victims and supporting them. And then we also, you know, we have interviews for prosecution, say, and we have some girls who do it. They also just share their story.
Right. And so this we come back from the break. I think we have a break coming. Ren is going to share one of their stories. She's just going to read you. It's been translated and she's going to read to you the thought and the things that some of the victims have gone through.
OK. Yeah. What a what a awesome thing that we can actually hear in their own words. So when we come back, we're going to hear that. In the meantime, you know, be sure and check out Lantern Rescue dot org for all sorts of important links and resources on how you can be praying and helping in this fight against human trafficking.
We'll be right back. Lantern Rescue is a USA based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Lantern specializes in sending former U.S. 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 is grown into the second largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated one hundred and fifty billion dollars in annual activity. Lantern Rescue is 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 Lantern Rescue dot org to see how you can support them financially.
Welcome back to Lantern Rescue. And as promised, we know you have this in their own words from the victims that were there in the Dominican Republic Republic. And so, Ren, you've got the story right there.
I do. Yeah. So this story is from a twenty five year old victim from the recent rescue. And this is her story in her own words. It has been translated. So this is her own words and we'll go ahead and get started.
So this is from her. I arrived here, here being the Dominican Republic, on July 1st through a friend that I met in a bar in my home country. She told me that in the Dominican Republic I was going to do very well because I am pretty and they're going to pay me a lot of money.
I thought if I did well here, why couldn't I do well in the Dominican? I told her that I did not want to travel because I felt that it was a deception. So when she refused me, she began to threaten me. When I refused her, she began to threaten me and told me that if I did not travel to the Dominican Republic, they would disappear me and kill me. But they already knew where my mom, dad and my children were at. I was very scared and I proceeded to get the passport.
I already knew what was coming. Another friend lent me the money to get a passport and a ticket to come to the Dominican Republic. And they all helped me with the passport application and process. When I arrived in the Dominican, I knew that the person was going to pick me up at the airport because when I arrived, I was picked up by a skinny tall dark skinned man in a red car who told me I came from your home country and you took me to the hotel. When they took me to the hotel, I had an argument with the driver and told her where was the apartment. She said I was going to be living in an apartment and where was I going to be working since the deal was an apartment, not a hotel. At the hotel, I paid for a one night stay where they were offering me a job but I said no because of the anger I had with my friends.
After the discussion, I went for a walk on the seashore in front of the hotel. There, a couple approached me and they offered me a job and told me I was going to be fine. I let myself be convinced and I went to get my suitcase and they picked me up at a store that is on the corner of the hotel in a gray car.
The job lasted approximately one hour and 45 minutes. Then I arrived at a house that had two levels. When we arrived, they told me to go in because I went in thinking that it was a normal house or business that was going to work but it was not like that. When I entered, they locked me in a room and they took my passport and document. They told me that until I paid my debt, they would not leave, not let me leave. When they told me that, I was in shock.
I said, well, what debt? They allowed me to call my friend on the phone but they were in front of me, threatened me so I wouldn't say anything. They told me if you speak, we will damage your face and kill you. When the first client came, it was a fat man and told me that I had to go to bed with him and behave yourself because if you don't, we will damage that pretty face and we will kill your family. In the room where I was, many men entered and took off my clothes and abused me. One of them hurt me really bad because he was being rough and abusing me.
This particular victim had feminine issues that were caused in part by the abuse that they suffered because of their trafficking. Because in the place where I am, in the men, men are very rough and mistreated my intimate parts. I felt very dizzy because the place I was in, they did not give me food, only orange juice sometimes. And sometimes they would bring me to eat but I didn't eat much because it all tasted strange to me. In the room, they had me and always kept me busy, sleeping without strength. The house I went in was ugly. It was never cleaned and occasionally a woman would come in to rearrange things and would call me. She saw me and called me a poor thing but she never helped me. Anytime the owners entered the room, they would laugh at me and throw things at me and I was very scared and cried and asked for help. The fat man kept coming into the room that abused me the first night and would have abused me again and said that I could pay the debt I had with him and then I could go home. If I didn't eat, I could pay the debt off faster but it also made me weak. Nothing matters to me anymore. I just wanted to pay the debt off that I never understood I had to go back to my home country.
Sorry, I'm trying to keep out some information that is a little too identifiable about where she's from. One day the fat man went into the gray car to pick us up and there were three more girls from my home country who were also being brought to the house where I was. He later told us he was going to take us to the airport to go home but on the way to the airport we stopped for lunch and we were hustled into another van and allegedly was taking us to the airport. Along the way we kept picking up more and more people and we were told that we were now being taken to Haiti and that they were going to sell us into Haiti and we all started screaming and trying to get out of the car. More men arrived and they started to fight with us. They had guns and told us that we can't go.
They hit us in our faces and in our bodies and used their guns to get us back into the vehicle. Shortly after the fight with these patients this particular victim was recovered and brought into our aftercare facility and brought into the ministry. We're not going to go over exactly how she was recovered because it is a little operationally sensitive but they were moving her to another location. Her with a lot of other girls which is common with trafficking victims so then we moved around so that it's not as obvious to law enforcement to thank people in the same area. So this whole interaction happened with her being threatened to be taken to Haiti.
The vans and a bunch of other women were being picked up along the way and shortly after that is when our rescue team was able to make contact with them and to recover that particular group of girls that were being taken to Haiti. So after that she's been in the aftercare facility with us and is in recovery and her concerns are now she's going to be going back to her home country because she doesn't want to go home. She has children back in her home country.
She's going back to her home country and she's going back with nothing and now she has these horrible stories and scars and nothing to show for it when she was promised this job that she was supposed to be getting money for. So that's that girl's particular situation. An update on that girl. I have actually an exciting update.
I know we'll maybe do more of this. She actually we provided some necessary needs to her obviously medical and otherwise but then also some a way to move forward with a business idea that she had and that's what we do with a lot of them. After they get the care and some of the necessary things and I look forward to talking about that in another show but just so people know after hearing this heart wrenching story from this poor girl. She is a survivor and we've got her in a good position job wise and other things. Yeah that is exciting because that's the other end of it. That's so critical right? So Ren you have another story?
Yeah we do. So and we've got a lot of these stories like this we're just going to selectively share them over time because the victim's a little bit of privacy and to give them each their moment to share their stories. So this particular victim was 28 years old and she wrote, I was a victim of the catalyze case. I arrived in the Dominican Republic and was there for approximately four months. They put me up there. I accepted but not under the conditions that they had me in. They locked me up. They made me work from 8 in the morning to 3 in the morning.
I couldn't stop serving any client. All of my money was taken from me. I paid a debt of more than $4,500 then they threw me out on the street. Then I got another place where they charged me $1,500 to protect me but I never understood where the protection was because I never felt safe.
On the debt of the $1,500 I paid off $700. As a result of all the abuse I got sick. They did a female procedure. Because of that I thought I had a baby and that they had taken the baby from me.
But it wasn't. It was a cystic fibroid. This particular victim was suffering from some issues that required medical treatment. If you want to help me because the truth is I'm leaving with nothing but no longer want to continue in this life. I have a baby and I want him to be proud of me. I have never told this to anyone, not even my family because I'm just so ashamed because of the consequences of my bad decisions.
I want you to help me in whatever way you can. So that's from another female victim from this race. Her story is common. Where some of them have agreed to work in this industry, in the Dominican Republic or in other countries, but not under the conditions that they actually end up working in. So they will agree to go work because it's so hard as an American to picture how to understand that they're coming from third world countries where they have nothing and they have no prospects of opportunities. And to them this is all they know and it's how they think they can make money.
So she had agreed to go work. She thought she was working and they were going to give her most of the money and she would just pay a small fee to them maybe and that she would be safe and it would be kind of like an exciting kind of fun thing to do and that's not it at all. From the previous girls' case, you can hear how they will take their documents, they will beat them, they force them to work, they take all of their money. They give them these debts, they say, okay, well, we got you to this country, now you owe us $4,000, $5,000, whatever the price is. They pay us back for your home and for your passport and for your ticket and all that and that money just keeps going up and up and up and they're never paying these girls.
They're not giving them anything. Even though she, and she's even beating herself up over it, she said, I made a bad decision. Well, she made a coerced decision. This wasn't something that she went into with her eyes wide open knowing what was going to happen. This is something she was tricked and she was coerced into. Yeah, it's an unbelievable thing when we hear that from people who aren't familiar with how they extort those young girls in all these stories. It's similar, right? But I guess that's kind of the way the enemy works. Once he gets his hooks in you, then he just keeps leveraging the one little bad decision into more and more huge, horrible things that he tricks you into, right?
Yeah, absolutely. And they, they convinced them that because they went with them willingly that this isn't a crime somehow or that, you know, they can't call the police because, Oh, what are you going to do? You came with me willingly.
I didn't take you. And they, they keep reiterating this to their victims and making them think that they chose this life and that somehow it's their fault. And it's absolutely not. In this particular case, I mean, the network was really seasoned at what they did. They identified and targeted girls who were in college, who live with a single mother or grandmother, knowing that that girl likely had student loans, was the hope of joy of the family, hoping this, you know, this girl would get an education and be something.
Like we've mentioned before, a lot of these were, they were in university, they were getting, one was a police officer, one study to be a civil engineer. Like these are girls who were trying to do something well for their family and they were targeted. I mean, they were particularly pointed out and targeted and they were selected in that way. You know, even in that one victim story where the girl came in that network and then she went on the beach and she was trying to escape that first encounter with the traffickers. And then another couple came to her, that couple was actually still in that network. That's how good they are. They let that girl think she was leaving their network to get into a better position, but actually she was still in the same trafficking network. I mean, there's so much criminality and farce activity. I mean, they're good at it, you know, uh, because if you do the math, if that girl who's the girls who are forced to 15, uh, customers a night at roughly 80 to $120 a night, I mean, we're, we're already over $2,000 per girl per night, you know, 80 per customer.
Thank you, man. Yeah. And that, that adds up. I mean, they are making a lot of money on these girls if they can just keep them healthy and keep them working for five, six, seven months. And, um, man, it's, it's, uh, this, this is how it works. So people don't understand like, yeah, 80 to $120 a night. They're, uh, 15 customers a night.
You've got, you know, 10 girls in one location, five in another 20 in another. I mean, it's a, it's a full criminal organized crime network. Yeah.
And I think, you know, Ren, as we, as we close out this show, you've said it before and you know, it really seems to ring true as, as I was thinking about it is it's on both sides of the equation. In other words, these girls get into something, not realizing, yeah, it looks a little risky, but boy, you know, it goes downhill really quickly. But the men that are lured in to pay the money to, uh, you know, I can't help but think, you know, they think they're out there doing something, but they're doing something absolutely horrible.
Right? Yeah, absolutely. Um, it's, it's so hard to like try to not hate the Johns. Um, but yeah, I mean, they're, they think that they're paying for someone that's a willing participant in this. And there's definitely some of the girls will be, um, the girls that I've talked to that are in recovery, um, they will play, you know, the part they will pretend that they're at least not completely disgusted by their customers. But for the most part, you definitely know the customers definitely know that the victim's not willing that they say the victim. Um, but then, you know, there's some that pretend that they want to be there. So the Johns are kind of brought into it as well. They're these, um, captive audiences and the traffickers will play on their, their desires to abuse these women. For me in those environments undercover, it is clear to me, every, every girl is, is against being held there against her will. I mean, there's such depression and sadness.
There's such a thickness of the evil, you know, you're, it's like you're walking through a dark cloud, you know, in those environments. And here's the sad thing under surveillance, the majority of the customers for nine months were Americans. Absolutely. They were. That's the part that's just unthinkable, right?
It's just all these, go ahead. You know, they think they're going over there and it's a, it's a joke. It's a vacation.
Oh, let's go to the Dominican and, and have a good time. And they are willfully blind to what they're actually doing. Like if they, you know, and they, they have to be, they're just willfully blinding themselves so that they don't have to carry that weight.
Right. So you can see it's a gigantic, just unbelievable evil we're facing on all sorts of levels and all these people, you know, our battle isn't against flesh and blood, but it sure seems hard to look at it that way. But we, we thank you so much for your prayers and thank you guys for this update. I know our listeners want to know, you know, what can we do? We can, we can pray, we can support. What are some other thoughts, Wren? Yeah, praying, support and sharing the podcast, you know, sharing on social media, sharing with your friends. You go onto our social media pages and just get the word out there.
Even if it doesn't resonate with someone the first time they hear it, it's just over time eventually people, we just need more awareness to this kind of stuff and people to understand that it's real. Yeah. Thank you guys so much for this update. So such critical information. Thanks, Mark. Thank you, Wren. Thank you, Robbie. Appreciate you, man. Thanks, Robbie. Thanks, guys.
I look forward to the next one. No worries. No worries. It happens. All right. Thanks, Wren. Talk to you later. Thanks. Bye-bye.
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