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Law Enforcement Update

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
April 8, 2023 12:00 pm

Law Enforcement Update

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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April 8, 2023 12:00 pm

On today's podcast, Ren, Jay, and Whitney discuss how Lantern is working with Law Enforcement in the U.S. to raise awareness and better train them on what Human Trafficking looks like stateside. 

A warning: this program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised. Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) at 1-888-373-7888. Learn more at .


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The following program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised. 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. Hey guys, thank you so much for joining us today at Lantern Rescue Podcast.

We're excited for what we have coming. Today we have Wren and Jay on the line with us, and man, we're getting ready to open your eyes up to something just that we as general public don't understand or know or see, and so we're really excited to have Jay kind of bringing that forward for us. And if you don't mind, I'd love for you to kind of give an intro to Jay and then we'll let him take it from here. Yeah, absolutely.

So Jay is a law enforcement officer in the United States, and we've been working with him for a little bit and he's helped us to get some work going in the United States and to get in with some police departments and do some training and he's also had the opportunity to train with Lantern domestically and internationally. So I will let him tell more about himself. Yes. Awesome. Thank you.

Hey, how's it going? Thank you. Thank you for having me. Absolutely, Jay.

We're excited to have you on here. And you know, I don't know how much of our audience really understands the domestic aspect in which we work. And then furthermore, and I know you're going to go into detail about this, but really what it looks like on the law enforcement side of things stateside when it comes to trafficking and the lack of knowledge and what knowledge is there or isn't there. So if you don't mind diving into that for us, I think we are all ears.

Yeah, absolutely. So I've been a law enforcement officer for about eight years. My background consists primarily of narcotics work, like I've done undercover stuff, interdiction work. But I mean, obviously also patrol and all that.

And I'm currently an intelligence officer. With that being said, I like to think it's a pretty extensive background for eight years, but I really had no even base knowledge of what human trafficking consists of. My knowledge set with that was your typical stereotype of prostitutes or, you know, little Susie getting picked up in the van on the corner. Yeah, I think sometimes we that is it's almost we should do a MythBusters rendition one day because I do think that's what we we think of right on on the normal side of things.

We assume that it is and Ren has said it before the little girl getting picked up in the Target parking lot and swooped away to be chained in somebody's basement. But from the law enforcement perspective, is that how you have seen trafficking or what? What is what has been the commonality there? I mean, again, I'll speak off my narcotics work. And primarily with that, it was I hate to use the word standard, but like your standard prostitution, basically sex for drugs or obviously sex for money for drugs. So what differentiates for our audience and our listeners is I think this is an important piece really to kind of scale out what trafficking looks like. What differentiates a prostitute from someone that is in sex trafficking or trafficking being trafficked? Where do you see that that difference in the law enforcement side?

I mean, there's there's some with with the knowledge I have now, I'll say this prior to having any knowledge of Landon or really, like I said, a very minute knowledge of trafficking in general. I'll start out with similarities being a prostitute from what I understood would be in an in this on their own doing or their own choice. Like they have a drug addiction, so they're selling their body to support that addiction.

That was my base understanding. But there's I mean, I also understand and understood that there are prostitutes that are solely in it for the money. In my experience, especially with the drug work, that's not as common. It typically was drug related or something along those lines. But I think, like you were saying earlier, the misconception is that it's it's not always that they're they're in it on their own choosing by digging into it. Especially now, there's there's usually someone behind that as a trafficker narcotics trafficker.

Can you share with our listeners just because I want to break it down for them? But what would be a narcotic, a narcotics trafficker? What would be like a drug dealer? Would that be our common term or understanding of that? Yeah. Yeah. So I guess, you know, layman's terms, a drug dealer, right?

Whether that be, you know, your fentanyl, heroin, crack, coke, marijuana, whatever it may be. Yeah. Drug dealer. Right. And so in those situations, they are like pimping out women for drugs, I assume? Right.

And I mean, I'll even speak just to my experience before and after. There were times when there would be females in residences with narcotics traffickers or a.k.a. drug dealers. And at the time it was like, well, you know, they're there on their own doing their own choosing.

But, you know, after being educated and educating myself, I come to see it now as, you know, they're a lot of times maybe not there by their own choosing. And the narcotics or drugs are being used as a tool for, you know, coercion, manipulation, whatever it may be to keep them there. And then at the same time, they may be used to appease other traffickers or narcotics or drug clients, users. Yeah. And you're right. I do think, you know, there's such a stigma around prostitution.

Right. I think from being on this side of things, we, without knowing again, like you said, without having any knowledge base prior to coming into Lantern or knowing about the trafficking world and industry, you know, we just come into an assumptive that these people have chosen this life for themselves, you know. And in some cases, you know, maybe that was the beginning for them, but it's so often not the ongoing situation for those girls or men. And, you know, I mean, I know you probably see both sides of the spectrum. It's definitely not just a specific gender in that situation. But I do think that stigma is out there. Right.

That that is a lifestyle they've chosen. But sometimes I think they get so deep in. Absolutely.

I agree. And I mean, if you even look at it from a domestic national level, we're kind of really facing a battle now with areas in the country that are legalizing prostitution, like specifically out west. And I think a huge part of that is the lack of understanding of everything behind that. Just with, you know, what you just said, it's your stereotypical prostitute and it's their choice, it's their body. But, you know, the general public and even law enforcement, to an extent, isn't educated in the sense of, you know, it's just not that, you know, they're not just a prostitute.

There's a good chance that they are a sex trafficking victim. Wow. So how well, let's let's start here. How did at what point did your mindset change or did you become more knowledgeable? And how did you see that change the way you approached situations like that?

So probably several years ago now is actually when I got in touch with Land and Rescue. And through them, I, you know, gained an interest in learning more about it. I strive to be better at my job.

I strive to be a better person, better father, better man. And after even just learning a little bit about, you know, sex trafficking, labor trafficking, the way that trafficking victims are groomed, all just the baseline things, I was astounded. You know, I can attest like the area I'm in, I wouldn't say it's, you know, rural, but it's also not a metropolitan area like New York City or L.A. So even law enforcement in our area, we don't get a ton of training on this kind of stuff. So the training you do get, you kind of take it upon yourself. And when I linked up with Landon and started hearing about, you know, not just domestically, the misconceptions, but what's going on internationally, I was most certainly taken aback. When you learn just the differences, it's like you look at the world in a different lens, you know, and the people that are so often overlooked and most vulnerable in a lot of situations, it gives you a different lens to even view them through so that you are able to kind of see, hey, there could be something else to this story, you know?

Absolutely. And something I wanted to talk about is that Jay hasn't touched on quite yet is one of the things that he's pretty well known for is his interdiction work. And interdicting drugs that are going, you know, through roadways.

And he's so good at being able to detach like body movement and just knowing when someone isn't being truthful. And how amazing would that be if we had interdiction on main roadways in America, but for human trafficking, had officers that were trained to identify the signs of human trafficking and able to interdict it in transit. Okay, so let me ask this question because I know our listeners are probably wondering the same thing.

How in the world do you catch that in the two seconds that someone drives past you? As far as like drug work? Any of it. Because that's amazing to me. I have had hundreds of hours of just narcotics training alone. And like I really just kind of made that my trade craft. And through that, I mean, I've seized hundreds of thousands of dollars, I've seized a ton of guns, a ton of drugs. But I mean, just just doing it, not only learning the craft, and then applying it through that you just it was almost second nature. I can just kind of drive, you know, through my area and I see something I'm like, boom, you know, that that's it. And then obviously, look for, you know, the legal, legal ways to get that stopped.

Right. Well, and I'm sure there's a lot of things that run very similar throughout that and especially on the trafficking side as well. I could imagine that a lot of those same people and same things you pick up on for the narcotics piece would be very similar in the trafficking aspect as well, you know, because those two worlds tend to run together. And I can absolutely attest to that, because I mean, even still, to this day, my my knowledge is is nothing compared to what the folks, you know, a lot of the folks Atlanta have it's it's astounding. And I mean, they just put on a training in our area for law enforcement. And I was learning stuff at that. And, you know, looking at some of the folks I work with, I'm like, thinking back, oh, man, you know, I can think of specific cases where I had a stop or an arrest where I'm like, I could have I could have charged some of this stuff.

And I just I didn't know. And they agreed, like, oh, man. And it's it's a horrible feeling to know that there there were victims there. And, you know, as a law enforcement officer, when you have a lack of knowledge and you feel like you're failing them.

So that that it was a gut punch. Yeah, I can imagine. Well, I hate to stop us here.

And I have a feeling our listeners are probably on the edge of their seats, because truly, this is an area we haven't touched base on and how close to home this one hits being, you know, discussing it domestically. So I look forward to learning more in the next part of this and after our break. So for our listeners, while we're on break, please feel free to check out lantern rescue dot org and follow us on social media, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

We look forward to hearing from you. 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 was 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 to see how you can support them financially. Welcome back to lantern rescue podcast, we have a very unique show today.

If you missed the first half, I would encourage you to go back and listen to it. But for this piece, we've got Jay and Ren with us. And Jay's really been talking to us a little bit about a lot about what the misconceptions in trafficking have been when it comes to law enforcement stateside and really just areas that we can continue continue to grow and learn in law enforcement arena. And really, I love what you touched on before we ended. You know, I know you said that really you weren't aware of what trafficking really looked like prior to being introduced to lantern rescue. So how humbled we are to know that that was a piece of transitioning and learning, you know, what that trafficking piece looks like domestically as well. And I know you said it got punched you and you realize there were stops that could have been made that went undetected because you just didn't know. And so I can I can imagine those probably still haunt you to some extent, you know, they do. There's, I mean, 110% sense of, you know, that's when you wish you had a time machine and go back and be like, you know, hey, ding dong like this is something you could rectify here.

Right. And I know that we probably have law enforcement officers listening in on this podcast that are probably wondering, OK, well, what are some areas that I can begin, you know, looking for and paying attention to? And Ren, when we were at break, you had mentioned something really interesting. And, you know, I wasn't even fully aware of this, even as as the part of the lantern team. But, you know, this is not uncommon to have law enforcement come to you guys with questions on the operations side.

Can you tell me a little bit about what some of those questions might be or where you've seen, you know, people coming to lantern for for encouragement on what they can do better or what they are doing or not doing? Yeah, definitely. So we've gotten questions from officers in the field on patrol and they they do a stop and there's one guy driving and he's got three girls with them and the girls don't speak English and he's the one that handed over all the driver's license. And that's that's a great time for us to get involved. And that's a great thing that the officers are picking up on now that they might not have before. In fact, they didn't before. So they'll call us and say, you know, do you think that's fishy?

Do you think that's weird? And we'll kind of talk them through that. And so we have that. And then we also have the end of people wanting to charge different things now. So when they see a commercial transaction that's going on, for example, if a if a girl's, you know, a minor girl, 12, 13, 14 is being told by an adult, hey, if you give me I'll give you money for these images or someone else is selling shoes at their underage girlfriend. Now we're looking at, you know, is that a form of trafficking?

Is that some way that that can be charged there as well as, you know, there are charges for withholding documents specifically in the trafficking realm. So people are trying to learn more about these charges and what they can they can do and that they're being more empowered under the law. And they're looking for those cues. They're looking for that stuff on the on the traffic stops. They're looking for when they're interacting with the public, just, you know, walking around town, what they can identify as warning signs for this isn't normal. And it's not stuff that they were really picking up on in the past.

I'm blown away by that. The word empower that you said. That's exactly what I thought of was you were you're beginning to describe that as really.

This puts the person that we would see as the victim or exploited in a place of empowerment to know that, hey, if I come to somebody about the situation or if I speak out on something, I actually have a voice in it. Right. There's a place that I can go and there's there's prosecution possible and there's there's things that can be done. And I think so often people that find themselves in that place feel like if they speak out or if they, you know, wink twice or whatever it might look like that there's nothing that can truly be done about it.

But there is. And that's hopeful. Yeah, absolutely. And it's really important to take those cases as far as they can go and really show the people behind it that we support them. And we're going to do is everything that we can to give them justice. And it's going to look different in every case.

Every case is so different. But human trafficking is so diverse. You know, we've seen in our own county, we've seen labor, sex trafficking, CSAM production, and we're not in a big area.

So we know there's more out there. So but now we have we've started to create this culture of awareness within our law enforcement and within our local community that's really, really starting to explode and starting to create some waves. And even just to tack onto that, mentioning CSAM imagery, just I mean, from my experience in our area, the culture around that has, I think, changed with the viewpoints of it. I mean, it was a horrendous crime. It is a horrendous crime. But just looking at it in the sense of that, you know, oftentimes that's child trafficking, that's child sexploitation. And looking at it from that rather than maybe like a more traditional viewpoint of, you know, that's, you know, just child pornography as it was tagged before. Right.

And a no touch offense, you know, that kind of thing. Obviously, disgusting. But just the way, you know, that Lantern has come in and kind of changed that sense of, hey, this is this is like trafficking. And it's, you know, kind of eye opening. It was eye opening for me. I know it's eye opening for a lot of other people.

Just what CSAM in and of itself. Yeah, that seems like it's become a whole new ballgame. I mean, and we're I think we're we're trying to catch up because technology moves so quickly.

We spend our time, you know, catching up. But I got to say, I think Lantern's doing a heck of a job and and putting the right pieces in play to try to tackle that piece as well. So, well, I do want to ask you and, you know, I know, Ren, you mentioned earlier that Jay has helped out with some of our international operations and I just got to ask, have you seen areas of overlap between what you do domestically and then what you've kind of done internationally with Lantern as well? Yeah, absolutely. You know, when I got asked to be involved internationally, I'm thinking, how am I going to do that? You know, local policing is one thing and then taking that and applying it to an international level, you know, just sounds overwhelming. So I, you know, it was explained to me, you know, what what I could what what I could do with what I do know, and I know I obviously jumped on the opportunity and more than happy to help with what I could do. And then I know we'll we'll probably have a podcast coming soon about that actual training and admission and I'm excited to hear all the things that happened for that. But did you did you feel a special or a more emphasized connection with some of the law enforcement you guys worked with overseas, knowing that they probably have stepped into the same place of, hey, we don't really know what this looks like or how to handle it, but we're here willing to try. Yeah, I 110 percent. I mean, just the experience I've had overseas.

They look at the U.S. as kind of the gold standard of policing, I think. And, you know, that's how it was received going there. And it was it was incredible. It was humbling to me and I think it was humbling to them. And, you know, we both learn from each other.

So I know I didn't mention earlier, but I've been on our our local SWAT team for about five years now. So, I mean, that experience applied, obviously, to being able to go overseas and help out with that. But, yeah, the transition really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be other than language barriers.

It was it actually transferred over pretty well. And I, you know, like I said, I was able to, I think, provide some or help provide some some significant training for for officers from other countries. And, you know, in turn, I learned some stuff, too.

So it kind of went both ways. I was educated in the trafficking realm. And, you know, I think like hopefully tactically and some other other things, I helped educate them as well.

That's awesome. I think sometimes we, you know, I'm sure our listeners hear all the great things that we do, but it's encouraging and important to also stay say that, you know, so much we gain so much from those opportunities as well. They're learning experiences for us and our operators just as much as they are for people in that country as well.

Learning the culture and the differences allows us to be better here on the home front. You know, and, you know, it just it humbles us. You're right. That's a great term to use for it.

Ren, can you add anything to that? Because I know you work on the domestic side and international side. Right. And so what are some of the things that and I know you've talked a little bit about them before, but what are some of the things that you see a significant overlap in?

Yeah. So a lot of overlap is also like I was talking about earlier, empowerment of survivors to come forward, but also of the law enforcement to create the charges and to be confident in charging these crimes. And I think a lot of the crimes go uncharged or unnoticed because people are second guessing themselves. Well, what if I'm wrong?

What if it's not actually trafficking? And giving them that empowerment to know you're right. And if you're wrong, we'll just withdraw the charges later. You know, it's OK.

It's OK to charge it. It's OK to pursue this, to investigate it, because I'd rather you be wrong and then be innocent than you be wrong and not charge it. And now that person's being victimized over and over again. So there's a lot of that. Now, the trafficking looks and I know Jay has recent experience with this trafficking looks different overseas. One of the things I opening when we take people overseas for the first time is it's basically an open air market in a lot of these towns for trafficking.

You'll see kids, you'll see 13, 14 year olds walking the streets like you would see someone walking the streets in New York. That's what we were talking about earlier in prostitution. So there's there's an overlap in the sense of the policing and of the competence to charge them and, you know, feeling empowered to make those charges. And then there's the difference in what trafficking looks like domestically versus internationally. But although you still come back to the same home base of the standard of policing, your core values and what you're going to be implementing in your policing methods. Absolutely.

I can imagine that that that it definitely does look different. But the empowerment piece is so, so strong, you know, and I do think that that is something that has been implemented well overseas as well as that prosecution piece. And that is what makes us different, you know, and I think it's important to say that that, you know, making sure that there's investigative work and pieces that come together. Not every investigation closes by the kick down of a door. Right. That's really only the beginning.

It's gathering information, making sure prosecution is something that can occur and that that's what creates the sustainable model that Lantern operates in. Absolutely. I think that is very vital. Well, we are almost at time and I hate to even cut this podcast because, man, this is just so different for our listeners to hear. And I know we always we talk a lot about what we do internationally, but I hope that it resides well with our listeners to know that, hey, we're here on the home front, too. And we're here to empower, you know, victims and law enforcement that are stepping into this this new world of trafficking and see Sam and that ever changing technology aspect. But we're here for it and we're not backing down and we're going to fight just as hard here as we are there. So thank you guys so much for joining today. And Jay and Ren, you guys are such a blessing to have in the knowledge base and what you guys are doing and encouraging other law enforcement officers. And I would encourage our audience to to continue to keep our law enforcement in your prayers constantly because they fight on the same front lines we do. So thank you guys so much for joining today. And we look forward to hearing more about the domestic efforts and and even more about what you experienced overseas in a podcast coming. So if you have not checked Lantern Rescue out already, go to our Web site, Check it out. It's been revamped and new, and we're excited to share just a little bit more about our heart for what we do in the three areas that we operate. Thank you so much, guys.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 14:34:03 / 2023-04-08 14:44:57 / 11

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