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God's Army Continues to Grow

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2024 12:00 pm

God's Army Continues to Grow

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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January 27, 2024 12:00 pm

Today, Robby speaks with Gabby and new member of the Lantern Rescue team Leo. Listen as he shares how his experience with law enforcement is a major benefit to Lantern's mission.

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

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

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

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Enjoy it. And as always, thanks for listening and for choosing the Truth Network Podcast. a lot of what we do is kind of human trafficking, but there is absolutely an awareness aspect and seeing us grow and that touches my heart in so many ways. Yeah, and along with Gabby, we've got a new team member. Leo is actually kind of really helping us in the domestic effort. And so, Leo, can you kind of explain to us, you know, and our listeners what your new role is and kind of your hopes for where we're going?

Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for having me. So I am a law enforcement officer in the US.

I have been for about nine years. My background consists of patrol, narcotics, SRT, or special response team, as well as intelligence. You know, through that work, I mostly focused on drugs.

But more recently, the last couple years, I started doing some human trafficking investigations and heading more along that route. And that was actually made possible by my interest in Lantern. Yeah.

So cool. And getting to know Wren, right? Yeah, absolutely. And that's how I learned about Lantern and was eventually brought on board. So I'll go back a couple years, I was in a pretty, you know, I'll say dark place in my life was going through a lot personally. And on top of that, it was kind of the kickstart of the, how do I put that the I don't want to say anti police movement, but the police movements as of late.

So that on top of things was, had me in a, in a spot. So I was thinking about getting out of policing, because of all that. And I had met Wren. And, you know, she said, you know, why don't you why don't you volunteer with us for a trip and see what it's like? And I thought, well, what am I what am I going to do with that, you know, just a local officer in the in the US?

What do I know anything international, but she talked me into it. And I went and I haven't looked back since. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life, to be able to participate in what I did. And, you know, I wanted to learn more. And it set me down a new path.

And I firmly believe that God sent me down that path. Yeah, it's amazing in a way he'd been training you. Right, right.

Exactly. But yeah, so since then, I have now kind of taken over domestic operations for lantern rescue. And, you know, I like to feel that I, I pushed that kind of harsh through the international work, I got to participate in and learning through that. And then also, you know, getting involved more domestically, I saw a huge need here in the state. So, you know, in the States, we have a ton of resources, you know, most departments, manpower wise are pretty good.

But what I find is, especially in the more rural areas, is that we lack the training and knowledge of how to combat this. So, you know, I pushed hard that this was essential to start trying to coordinate some of the resources that are available for law enforcement, such as lantern rescue and other nonprofits that exist. Right. And so one of the huge things, right, the opportunity, it seems like, you know, God has lantern in really everywhere in the world. So you got a chance to take part in training overseas, I'll bet a bunch, right?

Yes, yep. And I'm also a director of one of the overseas countries. So that in and of itself has opened my eyes and given me a whole new, you know, outlook and set of abilities to be able to address things even here domestically, the team that I work with overseas is absolutely incredible. Those folks, you know, they really steer the ship. And the work that they do is just phenomenal. I really can't put words to it with what they have to work with compared to us. And the work that they do and the victims they get to is just, it's powerful. It's inspiring to me. And God bless them. Yeah, I love the whole idea of multiplication.

It's such a biblical concept, right? That, you know, one person trying to compete such a gigantic issue is impossible. But as you guys multiply the force to different, you know, police forces out there, both nationally and internationally, you know, you guys multiply and multiply, you know, and I think at TC and Allen, and the amazing work they've done for years. Now is just, you know, bearing fruit again, even, you know, here in the United States. And so when you go in, I'm very curious. I've heard, you know, TC and Allen talk many times about the type of training they do, you know, internationally, where a lot of these guys don't even have handcuffs or a nightstick. What does that look like when you go to change, train some of these folks rural, I mean, here in the United States? So fortunately, domestically, we we don't have quite those issues. I mean, like I said, a lot of the officers, you know, that I work with, I should say most very well equipped, and they're very well trained in a lot of aspects of policing. But I think one of the things we lack is, you know, this knowledge of counter human trafficking. So, you know, what we're looking to do here domestically is the kind of a couple things I think that in order to combat it here successfully, we need to educate the community better, we need to get in and, you know, start working with churches more, we need to start working with schools and try and help develop or utilize already available education programs and and really, you know, along with churches, bring them into the international work, you know, stuff that may not necessarily be in our lane, but we can make connections.

I'm all for that. And so, you know, also along with churches and schools getting into businesses, and you know, even if that's like a 15 minute walk into a business, hey, like these, these are some things to look for, you know, with your customers or, you know, even posting national hotline or something in their window, but I firmly believe that getting involved with the community is going to be a key component to this, along with that, you know, like I said earlier, training law enforcement, but not just law enforcement. You know, when people think of the police and arrests and whatnot, I think it's overlooked that there's a whole process to that, especially with victim oriented crimes like human trafficking, CSAM, you know, sex offenses, you have the police, you have prosecutors that need trained, you have social services for victim aftercare. I think, you know, training all of these individuals, it all at once, you know, kind of under one umbrella, and not even necessarily, I'm saying through Lantern, but you know, there's so many nonprofits out there that are doing incredible work and connecting them with them. But getting them that training, you know, prosecutors, law enforcement, and social services, and then, you know, kind of the last thing we're looking at doing is, you know, forming, I don't want to use the word task force in the traditional sense of, you know, it's a specialized unit, and that's all they do.

Because, you know, in my experience, especially in rural areas, it's hard to maintain those statistically and financially. You know, when I'm looking at a task force, morally, I'm thinking more, you know, multi county effort, where you're pulling experts or professionals from each of the things I've talked about, you know, to essentially have a committee of folks that people in that area, or I shouldn't say people, you know, yeah, people, social services, social services, you know, that's all they do. And, you know, social services, law enforcement can call, you know, if they get a victim, or they have a traffic stop, and, you know, they're just not quite sure how to press that further. They contact these folks and, you know, say, how can I drive this? And how can I, you know, save this individual? So, in a nutshell, that's kind of what we're looking at domestically.

Yeah, and what an asset, right? Because, you know, what, you know, the Lord's been teaching Wren through, you know, her law practice, and that kind of thing to help you, right, see it from a standpoint of prosecution. Because again, if you can take one trafficker out, who knows how many victims you've saved that never got victimized, right?

Exactly. And I cannot say enough good things about her and the incredible work she has done, especially, you know, starting out here in the legal community. It's, it's amazing. And I just want to say, like, you know, talking about all these things, I'm certainly no expert. But, you know, through my experience with law enforcement, and now, the counter trafficking realm, just stuff that I've seen that I think we can improve upon specifically. Domestically and get to more victims. I agree. I think that so much that I've seen, just being with Lantern and a little before, is that so many people stick to what they think their version or perspective of what trafficking is, and what trafficking comes from, and who they exploit.

And they stick so hard to it that it's hard for them to see how diverse trafficking really is and exploitation in general. And that the more we're able to collaborate with all of those other resources, hear survivor stories, connect with other international NGOs and domestic NGOs and aftercare, we're able to learn more about what really happens and educate those communities better, and better assist them to prevent trafficking, but also to help protect others inside of that community from being exploited. Right. And a big part of that, Gabby, is really this radio show, you know, like the episode we did last week, with Wren talking with the school teachers and think about other school teachers. And now with what Leo's talking about, you know, I love the idea of, you know, there's one county connected to another county, because I know small counties can't all have an expert.

But if they all know, oh, if I got something like that in my county, you know, this is the team that's working on that. And I've got a resource, right? Absolutely. Resources matter.

You don't want to silo or recreate the wheel constantly. You want to utilize the people around you and learn from them and grow with them. That's the only way that we can fight this in the way that we need to. Otherwise, it just becomes a big fight, trying to fight, and everybody is disconnected and misunderstood. And we have to work really hard to stop that and to do the opposite of that and bring light into it. Exactly, which is where you, the listener, get to take part in this, right?

Because as you've listened to these episodes of Land and Rescue, right, God's shown you some light and different things to be on the lookout for, certain things to be aware for, even resources that you didn't know were available in schools and those kind of things, right? So you, you're a big part of this. Your prayers are a big part of this. Your gifts are a big part of this. We got to go to break. When we come back, we're going to get a lot more from our new domestic efforts with Lil and Gabby.

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 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 Lantern Rescue and this update that we've got, you know, here in the United States with Leo and Gabby. And Leo, wow, there was a whole lot that you got a chance to learn overseas with the rest of the Lantern team. And can you share a little bit of that?

Yeah, and I'll kind of touch off what Gabby was saying there prior to the break as well. I've had, you know, obviously, before I got involved, I had very minimal, you know, knowledge of human trafficking, specifically, since getting involved with Lantern Rescue, and then working with some other nonprofits, as well as, you know, getting to learn from law enforcement agencies around the world. It has really expanded my knowledge base, and I'm super grateful for that. You know, so from what I learned, I want to make it clear, you know, with law enforcement in the United States, like, they're amazing.

We're one of the best in the world, as far as, you know, the tactics and training and the knowledge that we do have. But our issue, specifically with trafficking that I've seen is, you know, kind of connecting the dots. And by that, I mean, connecting resources, such as other nonprofits, and even agency to agency. You know, like you were saying, you know, one county might have an expert in something that another county doesn't.

So you know, you connect those through a regional task force, and, you know, you have something going on there. So with what I've learned, you know, from around the world, I had limited knowledge, limited knowledge. But you know, with what I've been able to learn, I'll say one of the biggest things is common misperceptions with what trafficking is.

So I know that it's, it's always, you know, said, it's not the girl, you know, getting kidnapped, you know, by the white van or, or something like that. It's, it's so much more than that. And, you know, my, my experience going into everything was just, you know, dealing with prostitution. And I didn't really even think of it past that. But since I've got involved and have learned more, you know, I didn't realize there were various types of trafficking, like labor trafficking, sex trafficking, that familial sex trafficking is extremely common.

So as far as perceptions, just the basics, really learning the different types of trafficking, learning how those individuals, specifically like in sex traffic or familial are groomed, how individuals are extorted and labor trafficking. It, it blew my mind. I mean, really, that's the best way I can put it. And I would like to think that through, I've had a fortunate career, in my career, I feel like I've had, you know, a lot of different experiences. And I've been extremely proactive. I've had a ton of trainings.

So for, in my mind, I'm like, how, how did I not know that? This, you know, especially with how common prostitution is in the narcotics world, and really not thinking past that, that, you know, they are a victim, many times, and not just, you know, at what they're made out to be at face value, from what we've thought in the traditional sense, prostitution being like, with what Gabby was saying, to be able to trickle this knowledge down to other law enforcement officers, specifically in areas that don't typically deal with this, I think would be invaluable. No, absolutely. And one of the questions I have, Leo, as you were talking about that is, you know, I hate to be ignorant, but I usually am about a lot of things. So, is there a lot of labor trafficking in the United States?

Yeah, I would say so. And how, what does that look like as, as, as opposed to sex trafficking in the United States? So in the United States, specifically, I mean, we'll talk about like the immigration, you know, the mass immigration that's going on, and how those individuals can be exploited with withholding, you know, documentation for, you know, doing work, you know, like you always hear about in farms, factories, whatever it may be, you know, individuals that are, you know, immigrating here from other countries, and they have, you know, their passport withheld until, you know, a debt is paid, something like that. I mean, I think that's more common than what people realize.

And I don't think people quite understand the implications of that. That is human trafficking. And it's along with that, you know, when you have these kind of mass groups, sex trafficking can go along with that, because these people are desperate, like they're trying to survive.

And they'll survive by, you know, any means necessary. Right. And that, you know, obviously, unfortunately, the demand for all those things goes up. So the other term you use that, you know, I know I should know, but I don't, is that familial trafficking. What's that? Yes. So I mean, another, and I'll say that I didn't quite understand or even had the realization that trafficking, you know, adults trafficking family members and exploiting them, whether they be, you know, immediate family, such as own kids or, you know, relatives. Wow. Yeah.

And that has been an eye opener for me as well. So that the familial part is family. Yes. Yep. Well, see, I've heard a lot about the family trap. I hadn't put it together with that term.

So that's really helpful. But, you know, it was terribly horrible to think about. But a lot of times it's an aunt, it's an uncle, it's somebody that, you know, has triggered an angle to take advantage of their own family. Right. And that's what makes it so heinous. I mean, nothing is more sacred than your own family. Right.

Right. So for someone to exploit that trust, you know, is, is just crazy. And, you know, for these people that do that and they prey on family members, it makes it that much more worse because you don't trust.

Typically, the people you trust most are your family. So the way that these victims get groomed and is just, it's heartbreaking. It really is. But again, it's a it's another opportunity for our listeners.

Right. That is, as this stuff was trickled down to Leo about these different terms and these different things we're experiencing here in the United States, the now you know. And so you can shed the light, you know, with people, you know, and those kind of things. And so I know the other thing that I'm sure listeners want to know, Leo, I know I do is, you know, you've been learning stuff for the last two or three years. You know, what have you learned that you wanted to make sure your own family, your own nieces and nephews and sisters and brothers would want to know about on this subject? You know, one of the more recent things that I've started learning more about and got to hear about from some super smart people, folks that, you know, do this day in and day out is social media awareness.

And in the sense of sextortion, it's booming. And I think it's pretty common, unfortunately. Just be aware of your kids' social media. I know, you know, in today's society, we kind of we have a habit of overlooking kids' social media use and, you know, things like Snapchat or, you know, Instagram, Facebook, the normal ones. But just monitoring a little better about who kids are talking to, you know, I hear a lot that minors, oh, you know, talking to, you know, a boy from states away and they don't they've never met them. They don't know who they are, but it's like no big deal. Like that's scary to me. And I didn't realize how common that even was.

But even in my area, like we're seeing that. So my biggest thing is social media awareness. You know, that'll that'll be my thing of the day. Yeah. And the thing that I think about when you're talking about that, Leo, that I've learned, you know, just from doing recent episodes is that they often use their social media account as leverage to say, I'm going to send this out to your social media network, this picture, whatever you sent me. And they use the social media platform of the child as their leverage. Yep. Yeah. They will blackmail them and threaten to send it to friends, family, whoever it may be, to, you know, either obtain more illicit images from a minor. It happens to adults, too, from a minor or adults. And it's it becomes quite the vicious cycle. Yeah, absolutely.

And so, Gabby, I'm curious, are there certain protections or filters that parents should make sure they take advantage so somebody doesn't slip some picture on your kid's social media account? Yes. So the term your your y'all have been talking about is sextortion. Sextortion is absolutely huge right now. And I think it's only going to grow as AI imagery grows.

It will become a problem. I as a mom, I love bark. There are multiple different kinds of platforms you can use out there to help monitor devices.

The bark is a great one that we use. But as your kids get older, I think it's also important to understand that no matter what application you use, kids can find a way around it. And having important conversations with them and trust and good communication is really essential. Because I do not want it to go understated how much abuse coincides with exploitation and trafficking. A lot of domestic trafficking can happen from vulnerabilities like former abuse.

And the statistics we know is that a lot, a lot of kids are going to be sexually abused before they're 18. And so for me, like as a parent, I have to look at it not just as how do I prevent this abuse from occurring, but what do I do if it happens? And educating yourself as a parent on that and then sharing that with the other parents you know.

If you are any, if you have any kind of career where you work with kids, learning that in that way is also essential. Because you'll be able to give insight and also be a trusted resource for that, for individuals that are struggling with that. You know, even teenagers, you can see them like if they don't want to tell their parents because they feel like they're going to get grounded, but they're being sextorted or something else, having another trusted adult in their lives can really make a difference.

Especially when you know that sextortion can turn into trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Yeah, I hate we're out of time, but you know, all the more reason, Gabby, that right, you know, the other side is communicating like crazy about how to get this done. And so it's all the more reason that, you know, now that you've been given this information through this broadcast and other things that you get the word out on the other side of this. And certainly the word out to God in prayer and helping with the resources to help Leo and, you know, the whole team at Land and Rescue as they're connecting so wonderfully these days with other nonprofits and what God's raising up an army to protect, you know, those who can't protect themselves. And so we're so grateful for listening and for your participation. And thank you so much, Leo. You're awesome.

And Gabby, thank you so much, guys. Thank you. You guys have a great week. God bless. You as well. God bless. God bless. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-20 01:47:15 / 2024-02-20 01:57:51 / 11

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