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The following program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised. Previously on Lantern Rescue. I remember every night for years before that I would think like if I could send a message out to the victims of human trafficking, what would I want them to know? And it was always the same message. It was always, hold on, I'm on my way and I'll be there as soon as I can. And then, you know, me and Mark came together in the way that we did and we started Lantern and we started the team.
And now that has changed from I'm on my way to we're on our way and we'll be there as soon as we can. 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. So I'm so excited about this episode today. Ren, we've got a really special guest and God's doing big things, right?
Oh my gosh, yes. So I'm super excited to introduce everyone to Teresa. Teresa is, I'm honored to call her a colleague and she's also just a friend of mine too. She's amazing, I can't wait for you guys to hear from her. And she's doing, she's really blessed us and given us some incredible resources and work here at Lantern.
So I'm excited for everyone to hear from her today. Yeah, so Teresa, you're just back from India. Nepal specifically was an exciting project over there. Yes, it really was.
Oh my goodness. So I had an opportunity to go over to Nepal and to Northern India as a result of Lantern Rescue with Ren and all of their efforts. And specifically what my role over there was is to go over there and train both police officers and also prosecutors on how to basically conduct investigations into child sexual abuse material and human trafficking investigations that are more in the digital sphere. So I was a prosecutor for nine years before I end up joining the National Child Protection Task Force and I specialized in this area. So having the opportunity to be able to go over there and also teach other individuals what I've learned over the years, it was an amazing opportunity and they were so receptive and very, very excited to actually get a lot more training specifically on the digital sphere. That is just really cool. And Ren, I would imagine that the connections from Lantern really helped set that up with the Indian government, am I right?
Yeah, definitely. The Indian and Nepalese government, we do have teams that work over there. We work on a border station a lot and are able to intercept some of these cases and work with the prosecutors and law enforcement there to get these cases up and running. So we've been really blessed and we've been able to find a great avenue to help expand their knowledge in this sphere.
Because as we know, and we've talked about in the episodes before, without the prosecution, without adequate prosecution and prosecutors that are committed and know what they're doing and law enforcement is able to provide what prosecution needs and what they're looking for, we can't keep these cases from beginning to end and we're really taking away some justice from the victims in these countries when their case kind of falls flat because the prosecutors might not have known what they were doing. Yeah, that's so wonderful. And what's really neat is you've taken the National Child Protection Task Force, kind of international, Teresa, with these opportunities that Lantern has provided for you, right?
Yes, absolutely. So originally, when we were founded back in 2019, we, our co-founders, Kevin Metcalf and Kevin Branzetti, had more of an idea of something that would work with exclusively within the United States, maybe assisting other Five Eyes countries such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, etc. And as we have grown and as we have made our connections with all of these wonderful organizations such as Lantern, who are doing such great work in other countries, we are now able to start assisting with investigations pertaining to missing and exploited persons all over the world. So we are so fortunate and thankful we are now traveling to Asia and Europe and South and Central America, not only to assist in these investigations, but also to be training other members of not only law enforcement, but the prosecutors there on the best way to sort of build their cases, and make sure that they are essentially not only getting the right person, but also having as much of a slam dunk case as possible. So that way, they are putting the bad actors in prison. Yeah, and always, it seems to me that when we talk to the folks at Lantern, the local people there, like in your case, you got a chance to meet these prosecutors and officers there in Nepal and northern India.
Can you tell us a little bit about their enthusiasm about receiving this? So Nepal is unfortunately one of the most trafficked countries from that region of Asia. So they have already been dealing with human trafficking for many, many years. And a lot of their work has been so dedicated in trying to help these individuals from essentially having their lives taken from them, and being put into indentured servitude in one way or another. So they were always very enthusiastic about that. In addition to that, as the internet has really started expanding, and honestly has just exploded, specifically in Nepal, there are actually more internet connections via mobile phone devices than there are people who are living in Nepal right now.
So in terms of internet saturation, it has absolutely hit. And now they're starting to encounter a lot of the problems that we have been dealing with in the United States in terms of people attempting to extort and groom and abuse children online. And they're now dealing with that learning curve, but we're able to come in and help them in terms of conducting those investigations and give them the tips and tricks that we've learned over the years, and specifically how to do that in a way that is the least traumatizing for those children as possible. And it was, I'll be perfectly honest, I have never had a group of law enforcement or prosecutors be as attentive as those folks were. They had such wonderful questions. They were so enthusiastic. And honestly, we are really looking forward to continuing to help them in the future, because they understand that this is the problem they want to address immediately.
Right. And Wren, this is something you see time and again, right, that God is providing people all over the world to come up against this evil. Yeah, it's so cool to see stuff like this just fall into place and to have people like Theresa on our team that are willing and able to go to these countries and teach. And she's got such a specific set of skills and such a passion for this field. And then to go over there and to give that passion and skills to other people that are motivated to do this work and are willing to change their government and change the way that they do things. And they're open to that. And that's a hard thing to do. These people that are local to these countries, this is their whole livelihood.
This is all they've ever known to accept help from a foreign organization and to accept that maybe their way of doing things isn't the best way. That takes a lot. And it's really incredible to see that development from day one and how they take to the training and how they apply it later on. It's really, it's just, it's amazing.
Wow. And so as far as that training, you know, I know you can't tell us everything, Theresa, but I know our listeners are curious is what are some of the kinds of things that you're teaching them? Well, a lot of the information that I start off with is actually different parts of the internet and computers and using a very basic vocabulary because for a lot of people, regardless of where you are in the world, technology seems very, it's very foreign and it's something that a lot of us are not comfortable with. So in order for us to be able to understand and prosecute these cases, we have to have a good understanding of how the technology works and then a good basic vocabulary. The next step, what I work on is actually talking about ways you can gather information regarding a number of different kinds of investigations and how to do it safely for the officers so that way they don't necessarily expose themselves or any of their personal details to individuals who may be bad actors. And then what I also talk about is the different ways that you can essentially establish who the bad actor is because one of the challenges that I was constantly receiving when I was prosecuting these cases is how do I establish that the defendant is the one that is behind the screen, the defendant is the one who's committing these crimes. So I essentially go through and I talk to the prosecutors and the officers and tell them, these are the things that you should be looking for in order to establish that this is in fact the bad actor. It's not someone who's hacked into an account or if they are a situation where they're trying to hide behind some sort of privacy software.
These are the ways that you can essentially get around it and ensure that you have the right person. The other thing that I'm... To jump in there for a second. I know you guys both know exactly what you just said, but I imagine most of our listeners don't know it in culpritory.
I'm not even sure I'm saying that right. Evidence means... What are those two kinds of evidence? Absolutely.
Oh yes, no problems and thank you. So in culpritory evidence is basically evidence that is establishing guilt of a criminal act. Exculpatory evidence is evidence that shows it may not be this person who has committed this act. So there is an obligation from law enforcement to look for both in culpritory and exculpatory evidence and then provide that to whoever ends up being criminally charged because that is essentially the obligations that have been established by the Supreme Court of the United States in addition to the US and state constitution. Right, which from a sense of biblically, it's getting the whole story out, right? I mean, not just a piece of the story, but obviously filling in some details so that you can kind of get some context for what's going on.
Exactly. You always want to make sure that you are dealing with a sense of fairness and justness because that is what the justice system is supposed to be. And it's one of those things that Wren and I have specifically been discussing as we look at our work in Nepal and continued work there about how to ensure that we are leaving behind the hard fought and learned lessons that have happened over years and years of American case law. But in terms, just to circle back really quickly, one of the things that I do really emphasize as much as possible in all of my trainings is a new standard that's kind of for everyone who works in this field is very focused on. And that is when you are conducting these sorts of investigations, regardless of whether it's human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, that you have a survivor or victim focused investigation and that you are always being very sensitive to their experiences and you're trying to engage in an investigation that cuts down on the trauma that that victim experiences as much as possible. We in the United States have had a descendant focused investigation tactic honestly, as long as we've had criminal investigations. And what we are learning now is by actively working with the victims and their families from the very get go, instead of trying to bring them into the process later, not only do we end up having stronger cases, but it ends up being less traumatizing for the survivors of all of these different crimes, and really trying to put more of an emphasis on a way that we can work with them instead of treating survivors as the enemy or as someone that is standing in the way of necessarily getting justice for a case, because sometimes that can happen. Wow, that's just an incredibly kind, incredibly kind and clearly, wow, we can see where God is in this. And I know our listeners are anxious to know how they can pray, how they can get involved.
We're going to talk about that when we come back. But right now we're going to take a break and we'll be right back once more with this update from India. 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 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 really fabulous episode of Lantern Rescue. We're hearing from Teresa with the National Child Protection Task Force, which has gone international, as we're talking about in India. And we talked about the training, and, you know, one of the really spectacular things I'm just learning about, Teresa, is this PRC, or this is definitely something our listeners would love to hear about praying for.
Absolutely. And I would really love to give some more attention to them. So PRC stands for the Peace Rehabilitation Center, and it is based out of Nepal. And it is run by a woman, or it was founded by a woman named Ashanta, but everyone calls her Mummy, because she has now become the mother for thousands upon thousands of children that she and her organization have helped save from being trafficked in one capacity or another.
And PRC, along with other members of PRC, Suman and Sanjita, they were able to arrange for us to be able to do our trainings in both Nepal and in India. And they did such an amazing job, and just about this organization. So they actually help out, and they help identify potential human traffickers. They provide not only safe spaces for these young women—it's generally young women, but they do have some young men that they help out as well—to be able to talk about the situations that they're in, and do it in, again, that very trauma-informed, really sensitive way. And once they're able to identify individuals who are in the process of being trafficked, they will do everything they can to get them out of that situation. And one of the things that I was able to do is I was able to go to one of the homes that they have for young women.
And again, I'm just going to refer to as Mummy, because she just has everyone refer to her this way. I went to her home, which is actually on the same property as PRC's headquarters. And I got to see the home and meet, oh gosh, I want to say 20 young girls, and learn more about them. And what is so remarkable about PRC is that they provide food, clothing, shelter, and they also help them with various different skills, but also education. They ensure that each and every one of these children are able to get a good education, because as we're finding time and time again, the best way to combat trafficking is with a really solid education. And they provide all of these services to these young men and women until essentially they're able to strike out on their own.
There is no time limit. And that's one of the things that Mummy thinks is so incredibly important, and something that PRC really stands for. This is not a situation where you can put someone in a safe space for three months and then kind of set them out into the wild, because the chances are they're going to continue to be vulnerable. And so their whole mission and their real big focus is to get them to a point where they can be self-sustaining, and they're able to complete that education and be safe.
So not only are they setting them up for success, but they're providing them with every single possible resource you could think of to ensure that whatever traumas these young individuals have received, that they are in a good place where they can be supportive and loved. And I have to tell you, the property that they have is amazing. And I actually kept on referring to it as the Garden of Eden. They grow so many beautiful fruits and vegetables and plants, and they basically are able to grow almost all of their own food on the property.
And I was actually able to eat, I was able to indulge in a lot of fruits that they had in season. But I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful and comforting place this was to immediately step onto this property and to feel the love and the care that they have for these children, and actually be able to sort of meet with the young women one-on-one and see the impact that this has had in their lives. I cannot begin to speak highly enough about PRC and their mission. Wow. Peace Rehabilitation Center. And so can you take us into one of those lives, a little bit of one of those girls that you met, and tell us a little of the story?
Absolutely. So I won't go into explicit details, but what I will say is that almost all of the stories that they have were basically the exact same. These are a number of individuals who are in extreme poverty, where they're coming from, even if it's a larger family or smaller family, and unfortunately, the parents can't care for them. Or alternatively, there are young women who end up going, and they're told by a friend, a family member, or basically an acquaintance, that, you know what, I can get you a job or I can get you work in Kathmandu. Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. And very frequently, young men and women will travel to the capital in order for them to get a very good education. So they encourage them to come to Kathmandu, or they will encourage them to, they say is going to be Kathmandu.
And they'll say, look, we'll get you set up with an apartment, and we'll be able to get you a job, and then you'll be able to go to school. And whether they make it to Kathmandu or not is really up for debate, because sometimes they end up on the border with India, because they're going to go and be sold as domestic labor or in for sexual servitude over in India. Or alternatively, they end up being brought to Kathmandu, exactly what they're told to do. They end up going and working in the adult entertainment district, and they're told originally that it's only going to be part of their time so they can continue their schooling. And in reality, it ends up being a situation where they are working in these bars and restaurants full-time, mainly doing domestic work, and then it will gradually involve to them being sexually exploited there.
And unfortunately, if they don't comply, they are subject to intensifying verbal, emotional, physical abuse, and then sexual abuse. So these are young women who PRC has been able to identify very readily and get them out of that situation and get them what they were promised originally, you know, having a good education and being in a safe space where they can grow and have a future. Wow. And so, you know, what a unique thing God really provided, you know, this lady who, you know, not only is understanding, you know, the needs of all the ones that she has, but then, you know, obviously all those have all sorts of information on how the system works and how these people are getting entrapped. And, you know, she clearly is an asset. Oh my goodness. Yes. I'm so sorry.
I don't mean to cut you off. She absolutely is. And she and her organization are so amazing.
They actually just, less than a month ago, published a handbook for judges and prosecutors specifically about human trafficking in Nepal and how to best handle those cases. And in terms of Mami, I was able to sit down on her one-on-one on a number of occasions, and she essentially has said that she was called upon by the Lord specifically to do this work. And she considers her success and a lot of her accomplishments due to her faith. And I really think that having more people be aware of all of the work that she and her family and her organization are doing, I think that's really going to strengthen her and encourage her. Wow.
I know I'm encouraged. And Ren, I guess you've had connections with this as well. Well, I was now able to go with on this trip. I was still occupied with some stuff here in the States, but I did get to hear a lot about it. And it's really an amazing organization, the PRC and then all the training that the team did while they were in Nepal and India. It's been really incredible, and we're really looking forward to where our relationship is going to expand in the future and additional training that we're already in the works with for another trip here, hopefully in the very near future, to get back to Nepal and to continue this work and really get to follow up with these people and expand on their knowledge.
Wow. And it's fascinating how God has just provided these different folks in different countries. And so, Teresa, as you look forward to, you know, to where your organization is going, have you got other countries you'd like our listeners to be aware of that they can be praying for along the lines of praying for mommy?
Oh, absolutely. I would really strongly encourage them to be praying for Nepal, for India. I would also say, honestly, the United States of America. There are a number of individuals that we are still trying to assist back home, but we are so grateful for all of the support that we are getting.
And as we're able to continue to talk about some of the work that we're doing, we do have to kind of keep it under wraps just because we don't want to tip off some of the bad actors. But, you know, definitely for Nepal and India, please keep that in mind. And also just for the people and all of the children that are in the United States. Oh, man. Yes, absolutely. As you know, obviously we have a lot of the perpetrators that are here in the United States that are consuming the stuff that's going on in Nepal and all those things. So, Ren, have you got some words along those lines as you've been working on that?
Yeah. So, you know, Asia in general, to include India and Nepal, are large producers of CSAM. And we will see here in the United States, we will get cases where someone is arrested for possession or distribution of child pornography, you know, now known as CSAM. And we'll find these images that were produced in other countries, and they've made their way here.
And that's where Nic Meccan is really beneficial. I mean, they're beneficial for a lot of ways, but we're able to submit them to organizations like Nic Meccan and identify these victims. And if they choose to, they have the opportunity to come and be heard in court all the way from Nepal or India.
They're able to come and be heard in the American justice system and get their moment of justice and their moment in court to speak. I hope you're as encouraged listening today as I am. And again, Teresa's organization is the National Child Protection Task Force. Of course, Ren with Land and Rescue, and then Mami with the Peace Rehabilitation Center in Nepal. Wow. Thank you so much, Teresa and Ren for today. It was just a wonderful episode. This is the Truth Network.
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