Tim: Several months ago, a woman named Elizabeth Salgado was last seen walking down the center street in one of the safest cities in the United States - Provo, Utah - and she went missing. Somebody apparently took her, and that left a family in absolute shambles. I have two members of that family here: Elizabeth’s mother, Libertad Edith, and Elizabeth’s uncle, Rosenberg Salgado. Thank you both for coming on the show today. Can you tell me what happened, or at least what we know about what happened to Elizabeth, and how that affected you and how that affected your family? Rosenberg: First of all, just so you know, Elizabeth Salgado was a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She wanted to come here to Provo, Utah, because she wanted to be associated with people that they had the same religious beliefs, and wanted to progress in her life and be able to open more opportunities in her life, and wanted to be in a great place, safest place on earth. And she thought that this would be, like, the best place on earth for her to be learning English. Unfortunately, three weeks later, on the 16th of April, she went missing, and as of right now we don’t have any leads, nothing that can help us believe to be able to find her. We are working also with the police department. They said the FBI is also involved, but right now there are no leads at all. Our family has been suffering a lot. My dad died because of the stress that we haven’t been able to find my niece. My sister is having high blood pressure problems and the father of Elizabeth is having high blood pressure problems as well because of the stress that we haven’t been able to find my niece. So it has been a terrible experience for a family. It is something that we never thought this was going to happen to my niece, especially in a city that is so safe. I mean, to me, we felt like probably Utah was just the safest place on earth. Tim: Sure, yeah. You know, I’m so sorry. We’ve been working on this investigation as you know, and it is a difficult case. It’s like she just vanished in the thin air. You know, it’s something that we, at Operation Underground Railroad - we see this all the time. We see it everyday. It doesn’t do anything to normalize the situation or to downgrade the pain at all. But I want to ask, before you lost Elizabeth, what was your idea or thoughts on things like trafficking and this kind of crime? Was it something that even touched you or affected you or that you knew about? Rosenberg: Honestly, before my niece went missing, I didn’t even think that existed that kind of problem here in the...I mean in this country, or any country in the world, because I think it’s something horrible, you know, people they go through that. I honestly didn’t even think it existed, to be honest. So I wasn’t even aware of that until right now, that now we are going through this, and that I feel like I want to even help out more people to be able to rescue these people because it’s terrible that you are going through this experience as a family. As a family member, we are desperate, we are... I mean, you can’t even live a normal life - you can’t even sleep thinking where your niece is, what happened to her, and why are they doing this to an innocent girl. So it’s something that we actually didn’t even think that this problem existed, to be honest. Tim: Yeah...I’m so sorry. Again, thank you so much for being willing to talk. What we are seeking is a solution, right. The purpose of Slave Stealer podcast is to make people aware. Unfortunately, the way you learned about it was absolutely horrific. There’s no worse way to learn about it. Have you learned anything? Have you... Could you help us? Because we don’t claim to have all the answers, right. But we are trying to find those answers. And so I ask you, and in a minute, I am going to ask you to talk to your sister - of course she speaks Spanish and we’ll have you translate her feelings about this as well. But again, I am speaking here with Rosenberg Salgado, the uncle to Elizabeth Elena Salgado, who, in April, was apparently kidnapped. She vanished in one of the safest neighborhoods in the world, in Provo, Utah. Rosenberg, what do you think needs to happen to minimize this kind of crime? Rosenberg: To be honest, I mean I feel like if a lot of people that were contributing to be able to rescue more people and now that I am aware that this organization exists, I’m even trying to see if there are any companies that they can donate time and money for you guys to be able to help out and rescue all the people in the world that need to be rescued. Because it is just terrible that families...they go through this and I feel like if there are a lot of people trying to contribute just a little a bit, it can make a better world. Tim: Right, right, and I couldn’t agree more with you. If everybody knew how large this was... And they just don’t. It is hidden. But it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. It is billions of dollars into the kidnapping and selling and abuse of people, whether it’s slave labor or sex trafficking. People need to know because we can’t solve this problem unless everybody knows. When we talk about these numbers, millions and millions, it’s important not to let those numbers desensitize us in any way because each of those numbers has a story attached to that, right, like yours. There is pain attached to it. There is lives altered and changed forever because of that, and it is important to know and recognize that there is that kind of a story behind every single number that equals and adds up to millions. That’s the kind of pain and suffering we are talking about. I think that your story really will help people to see it and wake up. Now, in terms of Elizabeth herself, what can people do? What can people do to help you specifically? I know that there has been an award offered for information. Tell me about that. Rosenberg: Right. There is a $50,000 reward that whoever gives us a lead that will help us find my niece, they get the reward. And also, I feel that a lot of people... If they are on the streets or, you know, they can be looking around to be aware if they happen to see her. My niece went missing during the day. I am sure that somebody knows something or somebody saw something. We are just asking the community that whoever knows something just please have compassion on this girl and just tell us what they know. I mean, they need to put themselves in our own place, and if this was your niece, you would want the whole world to help you find her. You will want everyone to be looking for her. And if they even knew - I mean, you know - the pain we are going through... It’s just terrible. You can’t even describe what we are going through. I mean, I can’t even find the right words to be able to describe what we are going through because it’s just impossible to describe everything that we feel as a family...besides that, praying and also fasting to be able to help us to find my niece. I feel like if they see also anything suspicious in their neighborhoods, even if it isn't significant, it can be significant to us. Tim: Yeah. Rosenberg: Just whatever they know. Because sometimes people, they might feel, "Oh no, I mean, I don’t think that this is something that can help them to find her." I mean, you know, for people that they have the experience, they might be able to be, "Oh, yeah, this is significant so let’s try to look at this lead," and so whatever they know, they just need to tell the authorities. Tim: Thank you so much. I’d like you to please ask your sister if she has any message to the world. If she has the whole world listening right now and she wants to tell them about what she’s learned about this problem, or if she has a message she wants to share about Elizabeth or even to Elizabeth - what would she say and would she be willing to say it? And if could you please translate that. Libertad: Muy buenas tardes a todo los, a todo la comunidad y a toda las lugares en que me están escuchando. Rosenberg: Good afternoon to everybody, everybody who is listening to me. Libertad: Este, quiero decirle que antras corrido ocho meses desde la desaparición de mi hija Elizabeth Elena. Rosenberg: I want to tell you that it has been almost eight months that my daughter disappeared. Libertad: Es mos passado muchos desafíos. Rosenberg: We have been going through very hard times. Libertad: Ansi de muy llenos de sufrimiento, de angustia y de dolor. Rosenberg: A lot of suffering, a lot of anxiety and a lot of pain. Libertad: Es un dolor inexplicable. Rosenberg: It’s a...pain that is...that we can’t even explain. Libertad: Nosotros hemos hecho estan impossible... Rosenberg: We have done the impossible... Libertad: ...por buscarla. Rosenberg: ..to be able to find my daughter. Rosenberg: We have gone through events to be able to pass flyers. Libertad: En mos sido a Palo Alto, California. Rosenberg: We have gone through Palo Alto, California to Facebook to be able to see if they can spread up the word for her. Libertad: Y hemos tocado puertas. Rosenberg: And knocking on doors. Libertad: Es una búsqueda incansable. Rosenberg: It’s a tireless search. Libertad: No vamos a parar... Rosenberg: We won’t stop... Libertad: ...a encuéntrala. Rosenberg: ...until we find her. Tim: Rosenberg, could you ask her what she has learned about this problem in general? I imagine she’d never imagined...she never thought this would touch her life. Tim: And, if she knows, what she would do... If she were the king of the world, what she would do to help solve this, not only for Elizabeth, but for everybody? Libertad: Como reina del mundo, le pediría ayuda a todo los...a todo los medios de comunicación de cada país... Rosenberg: As the king of the world, I would like to ask all the countries to be able to help us find her. I mean, you know, the communication, like any probably news and all over the world to be able to help us find, I mean, you know, people who are missing. Libertad: ...para que difundiera sus photos. Rosenberg: So that they could spread out the word. Tim: Well, I think she hit on it, I think she hit on it. I like what she said. She said there needs to be more communication with countries, right? And that made me think of something that... I don’t know if you are aware of this. The House passed a bill last year. It’s H.R. 515 - it’s International Megan's Law. Megan's Law, of course, is a law that takes criminals who have been convicted as sex offenders - child sex offenders. And after they finish their sentences, they are not allowed to live near schools, they are not allowed to live in certain places. And that’s Megan’s Law. And most states have adopted that law. The International Megan’s Law does it internationally. So if we, in the United States, have a known convicted child sex offender and that person is traveling to Mexico, then the U.S. government will notify the Mexican government. And tell them: "Hey, this guy is coming to your country. You should know this." It also creates something called 'angel watch', the Angel Watch Center. And what it is...it’s a place where government officials and non-government officials like Operation Underground Railroad - we can all meet and talk and make sure we know who the bad guys are and be in communication. I mean, I think that, Libertad Edith, I think you have... I mean, that’s what you essentially said. And the problem is right now, if you can believe this, it has been sitting in the Senate for months and months and months and they can’t get it through the Senate to create what is a solution - the very solution that the mother of a victim has, on her own, naturally kind of brought out as one of the solutions to this problem. Here we have this and it’s sitting on these senators' desks, and they are not even caring about it. They are worrying about things that are far less important than the kidnapping and the abuse of children. To me, it is absolutely outrageous. And I want to ask you both if you would help me with something. We are starting a campaign to finish, once and for all, this bill and get it passed and get it implemented: International Megan’s Law, H.R. 515. Would you be willing to help us? Would you be willing to be witnesses in this and be a voice from someone who knows the reality of this problem? Would you be willing to help us be loud and get the Senate to pass this bill and get it implemented and use it to start saving kids? Rosenberg: Of course we will be willing because we know what it's like when you are going through this pain. So it’s been, it’s been very hard like I’ve told you before. It’s impossible to describe what we are feeling and I feel like if they pass this bill, I mean, it will be... It will actually help out the whole world. And I think, I mean, you know, when my sister was saying about having other countries communicating, I mean, you know, to be able to help us spread out the word so a lot of people they can be aware that this problem exists. Because I’m sure that a lot of people...they are not even aware that this problem exists. Tim: Right. Rosenberg: They don’t even have an idea that we are going through this right now. I mean, before my niece went missing, I didn’t even think that there was sex trafficking at all until now that we are learning more about, "Ok, what could have happened to her?" Tim: Right. Rosenberg: And so, you see all the options and now we are like, "Let’s make this world a better place, and let’s try to save everybody that is going through this." Tim: And you are now in a position of influence. I mean, you are in a position because of what you have been through. You are witnesses. Rosenberg: Right. Tim: You are witnesses in a way that most are not and you can stand up, and I appreciate you doing that. I know you both. I’ve met several times with you, and I know you are willing to do that and we appreciate that. Another question I want to ask you is have you seen social media make a difference in the search for Elizabeth? And is this something that you think we should be utilizing more, perhaps the police should be utilizing more? Because it’s all about communication, right? You start this investigation - I know because I’ve been on many of these. The first thing you look for is a witness. You need information: where is she? Someone knows. Who knows? It’s all about disseminating information, requesting information, finding information. How do you do that? I mean, we do it every day with social media. Have you guys utilized social media at all in your efforts to find Elizabeth? Rosenberg: Yes. We have tried to put a lot of advertisements on social media, you know Facebook and - everybody is always on Facebook - but I feel like the police and the FBI, they can also get... When these cases, they happen, they can actually spread out the word and have a connection also with Facebook: "Let's stop the crime." I mean, you know, let’s actually... "Whoever knows something about this person, please let us know,"or "If you guys have seen this person, just let the authorities know." I feel like that would help out a lot, because a lot of people... They are using social media, they are always there, they know what’s going on, and I have known that...I mean, you know, like for example - when on the news they are trying to find somebody that social, they put it on social media, and then people, they start commenting, and they say, "Yes, I have seen this person," or whatever. And that would help out so much. I mean, you know... So if the police...they can actually have also connections with all those big social media networks. I don’t know, I mean, I feel like it can be a big help. Tim: Well, let’s work harder to make sure we are utilizing social media to the best of its ability. We are building software here at Operation Underground Railroad that will help the police identify where these people are, who are the perpetrators of this most heinous crime, and it really is the way you need to attack this problem. So I want to thank you both for coming in, and this is by no means the last meeting we’ll have with you. We know we have so many things; we’ve talked about so many projects that we want to work on. Most important, of course, is the search for Elizabeth; after that is what else can we do, what else can you do with us to help others? Because like I said, there’s millions in this position. And just because we don’t know about it - because it is such a hidden world - doesn’t mean that it is not there. People need to know it is there and people like you who are willing to come out and talk about it - you are the best witnesses because you are going through it. You are going through this hell. So I can’t thank you enough for having the courage to come on and talk about this because we believe that what you are doing is saving lives. Rosenberg: Thank you so much for inviting us and we appreciate everything that you do to make this world a better place. I feel like if there were more people like you in this world, this world would be a better place. And if everybody can contribute to be able to rescue these kids that are slaves, if they can contribute to be able to help you out, this world would be so much better. And thank you very much for doing what you are doing. Tim: Well, thank you both so much. I have a wonderful team that makes it happen, and of course the contributions are what keep us in place. So please, everyone, check us out at ourrescue.org and help us. Help us so we can help people like the Salgado family. So thank you both so much - thanks for coming on and let's continue this fight together. Libertad: Y a Elizabeth Elena... Rosenberg: And Elizabeth Elena... Libertad: ...si me estás escuchando... Rosenberg: ...if you are listening... Libertad: ...quiero decirte hija... Rosenberg: ...I want to tell you... Libertad: ...que no nos vamos a rendir hasta encontrarte. Rosenberg: ...that we won’t stop looking for you until we find you. Libertad: Tenemos buscado por cielo y tierra y mar. Rosenberg: We have been looking for you all over the place. Libertad: Y desde el día que desapareciste... Rosenberg: And from the day that you went missing... Libertad: ...nuestra vida cambió completamente. Rosenberg: ...our lives have changed a lot. Libertad: Te amamos. Rosenberg: We love you. Libertad: Te extrañamos... Rosenberg: We miss you... Libertad: ...y queremos ver tu cara angelical. Rosenberg: ...and we want to see your beautiful face. Libertad: Necesitamos tenerte en nuestros brazos. Rosenberg: We need you in our lives and be able to hug you. Libertad: Sentimos a nuestro corazón... Rosenberg: We feel in our hearts... Libertad: ...un gran vacío... Rosenberg: ...an empty hole... Libertad: ...porque nos has te falta. Rosenberg: ...because you are missing in our lives. Libertad: Te queremos tener de resto con nosotros. Rosenberg: We want you back in our lives. Libertad: Te extrañamos mucho... Rosenberg: We miss you a lot... Libertad: ...y queremos volver a ser feliz como antes. Rosenberg: We want to be happy the same way that we were when you were with us. Libertad: Necesitamos encontrarte. Rosenberg: We need to find you. Libertad: Y a los que te tiene... Rosenberg: Whoever has you... Libertad: ...les pido por favor... Rosenberg: ...I’m asking you ... Libertad: ...que tenga compasión de nosotros. Rosenberg: ...please have compassion on our family. Libertad: Nos han hechos sufrir mucho. Rosenberg: You guys have caused a lot of suffering in our lives. Libertad: Y les suplicamos... Rosenberg: And we are begging you... Libertad: ...que la entreguen. Rosenberg: ...to please give us our daughter back. Libertad: Que lo consideren como si fuera el hija de ustedes. Rosenberg: To please have compassion on this girl like if she was your own daughter. Libertad: Le pedimos al padre celestial... Rosenberg: We ask our Heavenly Father... Libertad: ...que mandes de ángeles celestiales. Rosenberg: ...to protect her with her angels. Libertad: No le hagas daño. Rosenberg: Please, don’t hurt my daughter.
Tim: Welcome to Slave Stealer podcast! This is Tim Ballard and Mark Mabry talking about the darkest plague that exists on this earth today and seeking the solution. We have a guest on today that, I think, is part of the solution. I really believe - and I have, for years, believed - that the reason we can't put our arms around this problem and squeeze it to death - this problem of trafficking and human slavery - is because people don't know it's there. They don't believe it's real. Or they see something and they turn their head as fast as they can. And so, at Operation Underground Railroad, we have a unique approach, I think. We're not just waving this banner of darkness. There's a lot of organizations - and God bless all of them for what they're doing. The programs that are about awareness often are just waving a flag of depression and darkness, and you look and you're like, "Eek, oh oh yeah, here's my five dollars - now never contact me again," and off they go. They don't want to see it. That's not our message. Our message is light. Light. Light in the darkness. Because we provide a solution. We're going in and extracting. We are providing law enforcement with tools: digital tools, computer tools, training, undercover tactics - everything you would need to know to run an investigation. Mark: You're staring the bad guys in the eyes. Tim: That's right. Mark: And how many organizations actually touch the bad guy? Tim: Yeah, we touch the bad guy, we throw his face in the ground and put him away. That's what we do! And that is light - that's hope. And so, we try to push out that light. And one of the ways we do that is by showing people what we do. There's a team of cameras that follows us around, and we show people what we do. And when those traffickers go away, the world gets a little brighter. And when the next trafficker goes away, the world gets brighter still. And that's the light that we're building. See, Montel Williams - who is our guest today - he understands that. He understands that if you shine a light, people will get on board. If you shine a light, the bad guys hate that light! So they're going to go away. If they don't end up in jail, they're going to be so antagonistic to that light that they're going to crawl up like little bugs and go away. And hide. And Montel gets that. And he's the kind of voice that we need to be loud and proud and share this light. So that's going to be his message. Mark: He's a passionate guy. As you're saying, he blew up Facebook a couple of times this year, and Twitter. And even in our conversation with him, he starts out kind of a low simmer and then just crescendoes. And I think you guys will enjoy... Tim: Yeah, yeah. You don't want to get in his way, man. Mark: No. Tim: When he starts moving, you do not want to get in his... I do not want to be a trafficker in the path of Montel Williams when things get hot. And things get hot with this guy. Mark: He was a Marine, he attended the Naval Academy, he had a career in the military. People don't realize how bad he actually is. Tim: Oh yeah, no no. He's...he's tough as nails. Mark: And he delivers, so it's a great interview. Tim: Yep. Mark: Let's go to it. Tim: Alright, roll it!
Mark: Tim started to tell me about how you guys met, but his version was really weak compared to what I think yours probably is (no offense, Tim). Montel: It was literally the morning after the Stadium of Fire. I went up to the breakfast lounge in the place we were staying at, and literally, you know, Tim walked in the door and shut me down. And his speech was just ridiculous the night before. You know, I work on a lot of issues. I’m involved in things that most people don’t even have the slightest idea that I’ve been involved with for years now. Everything from...veteran issues, but I’ve also been deeply involved in trying to help heal some of the wounds that our veterans have faced from war. And those wounds are deep, especially when it comes to traumatic brain injury. And I was blessed to be able to get involved in a process...a study with a medical device that now is going to - over the next year to two years - prove out to be one of the first lines of defense, I think, for many symptoms of traumatic brain injury. We are in the middle of...doing one of the most comprehensive traumatic brain injury studies the world has seen at three centers of excellence. And I only say this because, you know, I’m involved in issues. And why? Because, you know, I got involved... I'm a board member of Fisher House. I was visiting our soldiers 3-4 years ago for...almost every three weeks, I was going down to see every new batch of soldiers that had flown in from Germany or from London, and just going down and visiting troops. So, you know, I’ve been moved by that issue, and then I’ve been involved in things from teen suicide prevention - it’s another issue that I’ve been in for, that I’ve been working on. And then to sit in that room and hear Tim discuss the mission - his emotional, moving story about saving children’s lives. Mark: Anything you remember in particular - like a line that he said, something that stuck? Montel: You know, I mean, I could say, sitting like...as I sit here right now and I think about what Tim had to say...you know, there was a call to action. There was a call to step up to the plate and understand what’s going on. And even though I understood as I was sitting at the table, I’m looking at the reactions of the people in the room around me, and you can look and see that some of these people...even though you hear about it, you see it on the news - it goes right over their head. It wasn’t until, I think, they caught the emotion that is involving what Tim had to say, that I saw the emotion start to well up in them. So again, I walk into this lounge, and I was again blown away. All I felt was that I needed to do whatever I could to help Tim make his mission more complete. So, you know, I think I said immediately - "Whatever you need from me, whatever you want from me, I’m there. And let's go." Tim: I think it was your birthday, wasn’t it, Montel? Montel: Yeah, as a matter of fact, it was on my birthday. As a matter of fact, it was on my birthday. It was the 3rd. That’s right. The night before was the event on the 2nd, and I had brought in four of [inaudible] dinner. One of the other award recipients was Master Sgt. Cedric King, who is a double amputee, a war hero of extraordinary proportion, who was on that stage. So it was very moving the night before to have had him come in and then to meet Tim. And then I wake up - it's the 3rd - and I told, you know, all the guys from the stadium...I said, "Look, I need to have at least that one day off." I was going to chill. Honestly, I think I worked for about an hour on the phone, just coordinating - trying to figure out who I was going to talk to as soon as we got past the holiday to figure out how we were going to come together. Tim: Man, it was an amazing experience for me. I mean, I was starstruck - I'm not going to lie - when you walked into the...you know, because the night before, I knew you were in the audience, and I'm like, ‘I wonder if I'll get to meet Montel.’ And then, the next day, I'm getting hot chocolate with my kids, and there he was! It was a small little kind of kitchen, you know, and there he was, face to face. And it was an emotional moment for both of us, I think. Montel: Yeah, yeah, really - an extremely emotional moment. And that’s part of the reason why I think I just really need to help and try to be involved. I have people who are of like mind, who think the way I do, who have been in my corner in my entire professional career, and especially the media. And, you know, those people are very vocal, and they want to be heard. And I think if I reach out to them and let them know that we are involved and we are going to now do some things that before today, I think, have not been done. Yeah, we call out some of these pigs - you know, there are so many shows and it comes and it goes. I want to really, really figure out a way so we get the message out there that is a continual message - in the face, bigger than, you know, the campaigns that they are running right now nationally to stop people from smoking. If you are so stupid that you’ll put a cigarette in your mouth right now and wreck your lungs, then I would rather take the money that’s being spent there to put a message out right now that our children are being exploited, raped, and sent around this planet, and you...really... If we can’t get to an understanding and get that in people’s faces, so much so... I hate the commercials that they have been running, you know, where you have the people who are in the hospital on the third lung, and they're showing me all the body parts of people who are ravaged by cancer because they are smoking. I want to show people the ravaging of what’s been happening with our children - get it in your face so hard that you say, "Enough, don’t show me that anymore!" and you do something about it. Tim: I love hearing this, Montel, because a confusion to me is why are we not seeing that, even in politics and in debates. It should be... I mean, this is the fastest criminal enterprise on the planet. Why aren’t we talking about it? What’s the reason, do you think, that people are shying away? Montel: Why is it growing so fast? Why is it growing so fast? Tim, I bet you, man, you’ve got this, man. Look, it’s growing so fast because of, I think, money. You know, we have the largest disparity of wealth in the world, but we have the largest number of millionaires, uber billionaires, millionaires, hundred... guys, people who have wealth, sitting around, that think that their wealth can hide them and keep them hidden from the truth. It got to be because dude, I mean, you know, the plane tickets cost money. To be able to buy a child, it costs money. You know, to be able to do this and not have anybody catch you: it costs money. And that’s what’s happening. And so why aren’t politicians talking about it? I don’t want to be a pig when I say this, but maybe some of them have friends or relatives or cousins that they know are the people doing this. Because that’s the only reason why this would not be... You know, it’s like all day long - I’m out here, I went snowboarding today, you know. This is the open season and it’s a beautiful day today, but then I realized I had this interview to do with you, and all afternoon I’ve been like...it’s been, you know, my heart’s pounding because I’m just so angry. And it’s just the same reason why, in the last three weeks, why all we keep hearing from our politicians is how quickly they want to send another American child off to die. They really...they want to go put 'boots on the ground, boots on the ground,' - you can’t even pay for the health care for the ones we have that have already put the boots on the ground! Tim: Yeah. Montel: But we want to put them on the ground. And yeah, we may need to, but let’s be a little bit more compassionate in our rally to send them off to battle. Now, if we're willing to do that, and these politicians are jumping up and down in every one of their debates to say those things, why do we not - in the same conversation and debate - talk about how are we going to help heal the delays in the treatment of those who have already served? We can’t say that because we know that we have...their friends are the ones who are part of the problem. So I’m starting to think that maybe that’s what's going on. We've got too many people of wealth who are hiding, just the same way as we have terrorists who are living double lives as Americans. And we’ve got rich people who can afford to do this - living double lives - they're right under the surface and we're letting them get away with it. And I’m open Tim - you know. dude, I’m not afraid. I am NOT afraid. I will take that shot, my friend. Tim: And we need you to take that shot - we want you to. And you know what we do. If these guys want to get into the market cause they want those kids, we meet them there and that’s where we can expose them. We meet them there - we’ve already done it dozens of times, hundreds of kids we’ve pulled out, over a hundred travellers or traffickers in jail... I think you and I were talking about this when we met over the 4th of July. It’s about shining those faces of those guys who are hiding - shine them everywhere, put them on billboards, make everyone know that you CANNOT hide behind your money. We will meet you in the dark place and we will expose you once you are there. Montel: I'm telling you... Call them out - that’s what we've got to do. So, you know what? You know, it’s going to be holiday season, we're going to take a little break, alright? I want to hit the ground running in January if we can figure out...like I’m working on some projects right now. You know, I'm working on a couple of projects right now that are media projects that... You know, if I do some things for some people, then maybe I can ask them to do some things for us. Let’s figure out a way then we can get something on the air - I mean, you know, ‘America’s Most Wanted,’ you know, whatever. Tim: Yeah. Montel: I got happy, I got tired. That did a lot of good in some cases because you did cover some of those cases of child abuse, but I really think that we need to have a steady stream - not just the TV show, but I’m telling you, like, I would love to right now in the middle of this live CNN... I’ve got CNN on and the second they go to commercial: bang-bang. I want to jump right to a commercial about a child that has been exploited - this is going on, and this is the guy who worked in Chicago at such and such bank, was a bank president, he lived in this neighborhood, this is his family, and you need to understand that this guy thought he was getting away with it, and he’s been doing it and now he's crying like a stuffed pig because he’s in jail, and he knows that when we let him out in the population that they don’t like little child molesters like that, and while he's crying like a piggy, he's talking about the fact that he’s been doing this for the last 10 years and got away with it right beside you. Tim: That’s right. Montel: How could you let this person live next to you?! That’s the story that needs to be told, man. Tim: Yes! Yes it is! Montel: And I want to help you tell them. Tim: And we need your help. We can get into the dark and shine the light, pull them out, but we need people like you to make it loud because we’re still learning how to do that. So we appreciate that. Montel: Well, just the fact that you're blogging right now, and the fact that people are going to tune in. Maybe they'll listen to me today. They'll say, I want to see what they're going to do. Montel, please, what are you going to do? You know, this could be a regular from us. Let’s come together every couple of weeks and let's talk about the plans that we put in place, the things that we can talk about. I also, you know, it’s like...you know, I think in some ways... I worked in intelligence my entire time I was in the military. I had top secret inside clearance - I can say that right now. I had one of the highest clearances that the military had at the time. I ran a couple programs. I get part of the problem that we are having right now when it [the military] looks at international terrorism. The problem is the fact that we keep giving out all the secrets. We keep telling them every level of encryption that we have the ability to break so they can find a new one that we can’t break. I don’t want to give them too much - I want to show America while you can complain all you want about the Taliban, you know...we're going to fix that problem. You haven’t even blinked at trying to fix the real one. Let’s fix this one, because this is the one that’s going to destroy us from within. We can see the devastation now in children as they grow older and older and now have the revelation of what was done to them. Those are the ones that weren’t even trafficked. Tim: Right. Montel: So, you know, I mean, honestly, America’s got a reckoning. And, you know, we can’t put one... You know, it’s like, you know, do you pick the worst problem and put that first, or do you fix the problems you have? I say we go after both of them at the same time, and I think America has got the stomach for it. It just hasn’t heard the voice loud enough. And I have a voice of couple of people that I think might want to bring this forward as part of their national campaign. Mark: I was going to ask you about that, Montel. I know, from your social feeds, you are a friend of Governor Kasich, and I about came out of my chair with glee the other night watching that debate, and I heard the words ‘human trafficking’. Montel: Yes. Mark: And they came out of his mouth, and those words have not been uttered in a presidential debate, in the last couple of debates. I need to go to do a word cloud or something to find out, but he did it. And so, we have a little segment on our show, called ‘The Big Ask’ with a K. And, I have a big ask for you. I thought...you know, when I heard him say that, I was waiting for somebody to wax poetic and do something lofty on trafficking, but of course they went right back to Donald calling Jeb not powerful, or whatever his word was. So, here’s my big ask for Montel Williams: I want you, because I know you are capable and I’ll be probably in tears by the time you’re done, to picture yourself on the stage, cameras on you - it is Montel Williams’, 'I want your vote for president, and my platform is human trafficking.' Can you give me that lofty speech that will make me hear the music coming in by the end? Montel: You know how they give you the highlights before the debates... Mark: Yeah, get me fired up a little bit. Montel: You know, maybe what I should say is that if right now we are living in a time in America where the entire focus of the nation...in some ways, I understand, because there has been enough fear-mongering to make us believe that the entire focus of everything we do as a government should be focused on terrorism. But, you know, America has to continue to survive, has to continue to grow, has to rely on its most sacred treasure, and that’s America’s children. Now, I don’t care what source you listen to, what side of the fence you're on: Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal. It doesn’t matter. If you are listening to all of your pundits, they will tell you at worst case, worst case in this country today, we have probably, okay...twenty, forty, fifty, let’s say there might have been a hundred terrorists who snuck in - they are under the radar, we need to put money in finding them. I agree. But, excuse me, we have 1.5 million children who are victims in 2012 to human trafficking, and we know that 85% of them have been trafficked for sex. And these are children, American children. So, I say that that’s a million and a half lives that from this point forth will forever be changed, a million and a half a year. In fifteen years, they got 20 million children who have to as they grow to adults, as they’ve been saved, brought back into the society and trying to be contributing numbers to that society. I say we got the Taliban under control. I don’t care if it’s two years, three years - it’s thirty years. This is part of America’s structure, America’s fabric. So, I can stand around and argue about who’s got more money in the bank, who thinks that they are tougher at fighting bad guys who are trying to hurt us ideologically. I want to find out who’s tough enough to turn in their neighbor, who’s tough enough to fight the fight of saving and preserving America’s future beyond the next five years. So, 2.5, 1.5 million...on the other side of ridiculous. The United States alone should be in the position to raise enough money to impact this, and we will send money everywhere else in the world. We will fight everybody else’s problem to try to force something down on someone’s throat that doesn’t want it, and we are willing to protect America’s precious treasure right here. I don’t know... If you want to protect America’s treasure, vote for me, if you want to continue on this normal...pick the other guy. Tim: You got my vote! Mark: Montel 2020, baby! Woo! Tim: I love it, I love it! And, now the good thing is that we are going to do something about this, and I hope we can have you back on the show many many times as we develop our plan and say the things we can. But let’s do this! We’re going to do this. Montel: Let’s do it! Now, you got me to say publicly, I make it as a public promise, man. I’m working with you - we'll get this done. Tim: Awesome! We love you, man! Thanks so much! Montel: Thank you, sir!
Mark: Montel for president, baby! You said, you know, the government is leading, but in terms of being loud about it, how often do you hear nationally-placed officials talking about human trafficking in prime time? Tim: They're not! And that’s where the leadership is lacking. There’s no strong leader in all of our potential leaders. It’s not even on their agenda and I don’t know why it’s not! I don’t think they all have friends...I mean, that’s an interesting point that Montel brings up - I don't think it's like they all have friends who are engaging in this kind of stuff. I mean, I’m sure some of them do. I think it’s a dark topic that no one wants to talk about. It hurts to talk about it. Mark: It’s weird because governments usually... These guys will go on talk shows and talk about something then not do anything about it, but this is the opposite. It seems that they are legislating and making a little headway, but they're not talking about it - it’s lacking the component that we hate the most, generally speaking, that is, the flapping gums of politicians. Tim: I think the reason... It’s not that they don’t know... Mark: Yeah they know, they just... Tim: They know it’s an issue. Here’s why they don't talk about it. Look, they're pandering, they are all pandering to voters, right. They need voters to weigh in. So, I really do think this: if they believed that the voters knew what was going on, they would talk about it. But they are saying to themselves, why am I going to introduce a new topic? - relatively new, right. Why am I going to introduce a topic that’s not going to help me get elected because the electorate doesn’t know? And if they don’t know, they don’t care. So let’s talk about things that we know they care about. So our job, more than try to convert or try to influence these candidates or elected leaders to do something... I think our job is to light a fire under the people - the Harriet Beecher Stowe approach, where she lit a fire under the people. They read her book by the millions, and they said, "What is going on?! I didn’t really know - I mean, I heard of slavery, but I’ve never seen it. I’ve never travelled down there, in the South, and saw it," and she lit a fire there. And then they got so loud that folks like Abraham Lincoln and others had to respond. Mark: Yeah. Tim: And the response ended slavery. So I really think a lot of this is exposing this issue, shining a light, letting the people see. When the people care, the candidates will care. Mark: And, it seems like Montel... He’s one of those populist heroes in the last two decades - had a huge show in the 90’s, he’s got total social clout now, he’s moved kind of into this activist realm, and he’s got tons, his hands on tons of pods, but it’s that type of guy that can talk to big groups. And the talk show people - Oprah, Montel, you know, from the heyday of afternoon talk shows that would make people cry every afternoon...that would be, seemingly, a way to engage people. And he could be that guy. Tim: Yeah. He’s going to be that guy. I mean, he’s that voice we are going to need. And he’s not going to be a ‘one and done interview’ - he is committed. I spent a couple of days with him, over the 4th... Man, I’m telling you he believes this. He believes in it, and he is going to help us. Mark: Yeah. Tim: He's going to be instrumental. Tim: This show is sponsored by one of my favorite companies on the face of the earth, Hylete. In fact, I’m wearing - let me stand up so you can see - I’m wearing Hylete shorts right now. Mark: Those are really handsome. Tim: I wear Hylete shorts pretty much every day, because here at the headquarters of Operation Underground Railroad is a CrossFit gym that is very fruitful for the foundation. All the money that we make in the CrossFit gym comes back into the foundation. So we’re grateful for the CrossFit gym, and we’re grateful to Hylete who’s been a proud sponsor, who’s been able to not only outfit some of our guys, but make some awesome contributions. They made an OUR shirt, Hylete OUR shirt - their clothes are designed for intense fitness, like CrossFit. They made a Hylete/OUR shirt that all the proceeds came back to us, and we’ve been able to make thousands of dollars, and we continue our partnership in the coming years. So thank you to our partners and friends over at Hylete. Buy their clothes, and go work out!
Tim takes on a recent initiative of Amnesty International to "Legalize" prostitution. His issue with their policy lies in the difference between "legalization" and "decriminalization". He argues that what they are proposing would endanger more children and ultimately undermine the efforts of many people to save kids from sex trafficking. Tim: Hi! Thank you for joining us! This is a very special bonus edition of the Slave Stealer podcast. If you have been listening to us for a while, you know that there are a lot of aspects to human trafficking. So many drivers, so many factors. Sometimes we don’t always get the chance to elaborate within the context or whatever it is that we are talking about, but one big issue that deserves more treatment is this current push by Amnesty International to legalize all prostitution. What they are trying to do now is go out to all the countries and influence them to legalize this work. Now, there is some merit to parts of their argument, but I contend, and I contend passionately, that this legislation, if it got that far, would absolutely devastate millions of children who would be caught up in the wake of prostitution. They would be caught up in the wake... They would be caught up as victims, they would be rapedthemselves. So after we spoke with President Vicente Fox of Mexico, we got on the topic of Amnesty International’s plan, and I think I got a little fired up, so I want you to go ahead and hear what I had to say. So, let’s go and roll that.
Tim: And, people don’t believe us sometimes - "Oh bull crap, we don’t believe that"- or they will see a trafficking case, we will show footage and they see what looks like a victim going willingly into this place: "Well, they walked in. They weren’t dragged in by chains." And, I get it, but it is also very offensive because I know that these kids are slaves. I see them before and during and after. We could have Elizabeth Smart come in sometime and talk about that. Don’t say anything like that in her presence because she received that criticism: "When you were in captivity, why didn’t you just run away? Why didn’t you tell the policeman who you were when he confronted you with your captors in the library that day?" And she will tell you that a child’s mind doesn’t think like an adult’s mind, and it can be very easily manipulated and really brainwashed and rewired to the point that when Elizabeth was rescued, she didn’t even admit who she was. She was still denying who she was as she was even put into the police car and taken to her father, ok. And that’s the thing people don’t understand about human trafficking, and so they misidentify the victims. Police departments have been doing it for decades. I think...in the last decade or so, I think they are trying to get out of this where they treat all prostitutes as criminals. They didn’t even stop to ask the question, 'How did she get here?' Maybe she is 19 years old, but did you know that she was kidnapped at 12 and forced into this life? And yeah, now she is acting out, and she is yelling and cussing at you, and she "doesn’t want to be rescued." But she is a victim, and she needs to be treated as a victim until you figure out what is going on. And a lot more needs to be done there, but progress has been made where these women and children are not being seen as criminals anymore but as victims, but much more needs to be done in that area. Mark: That is a legislative issue, obviously. Are those national statutes that need to be passed or are they local? Explain prosecution of prostitutes. Explain that whole dilemma to me, I don’t get it. Tim: There is some legislative there, but there is also a lot of just how you administer or how the law enforcement administers or what questions they ask, right. Because to be prosecuted for say prostitution, requirements within that statutes have to be met. And part of that is willingly, and it was your intent to do these things. And it is easy just to make the assumption, 'that was your intent, you wanted to do this, and so you’re guilty.' So sometimes, it is not just the laws. The laws can be clarified, sure - you can always, you should add a requirement and say even if this prostitute, this person you have brought in...even if they are an adult, you have to prove that they meant to do this, that they wanted to do this, that this was the life that they chose. Mark: They weren’t coerced. Tim: They weren’t coerced into it. Mark: Ok. Tim: And so the questions, but the questions... The problem is, even when you have decent legislation and decent statutes, you don’t have law enforcement asking the questions, digging deeper: "Who are you? Where did you come from? How did you get into this? How old were you when you got into this?" And if they would ask that, then they would see that there is coercion here. They are not going to bust out their pimps. Mark: No, they are scared to death. Tim: They are scared to death. Their pimps have been beating them for ten years, since they were ten years old. So, you have got to stop and ask the question. You need experts in the field - social workers, psychologists in the field - to be able to be there and take this victim aside and talk to them. Frankly, in my mind, every country, every jurisdiction - whether it is federal, state, whatever - they all need to have legislation that decriminalize prostitutes altogether, absolutely. Every prostitute, in my mind, should be treated like a victim. Mark: So, you are saying legalize prostitution? Tim: I am not saying... No, you don’t legalize prostitution at all. You legalize prostitution and that means that the pimps and the johns get away. Mark: Ah. Tim: You criminalize 100% for pimps, for johns. Mark: But you can’t criminalize the prostitutes... Tim: You don’t criminalize the prostitutes. Mark: I like that. Tim: Yeah, I mean, there is Norway and Sweden who have both adopted that, and it is very effective. What happens there, when you do that, is those countries and those cities stop becoming havens for sex, for paid sex. Because you are criminalizing the johns and the pimps, johns and pimps don’t want to work there. Mark: So what you’ll have are a few entrepreneurial women who are kind of like 'Ma and Pa' stores, but you wipe out the industry? Tim: Yeah. You would wipe out the industry because the pimps and johns can’t... They are scared to go there. Mark: Yeah. Tim: And this is a huge debate right now going on with the Amnesty International’s new policy this summer they came out with in August, I believe. They came out with the sex worker shield where they are basically wanting to decriminalize prostitution for everybody - pimps, johns, and what they call sex workers - and make it legal. The idea is bring it all out into the light, and then you can take care of the sex workers and treat them like legitimate workers. You know, it is all focused on helping the sex worker. That’s their choice - they want to be a prostitute, support them, help them. And to do that, you can’t criminalize the pimps who, in Amnesty International’s words... This is very controversial. I mean, this is Amnesty International who is supposed to be looking out for the victims. And they feel like sex workers - who they call sex workers, others might call prostitutes - have been victimized and demonized and not supported in their occupational endeavors. And the problem is, is by decriminalizing this - and I see this in my work - by decriminalizing the whole process so that the sex workers can be seen as legitimate workers, like any other professional in the world and be given all the benefits... Mark: I think the middle management and HR and marketing...they get all the departments wrapped around them: "Hey, go see the marketing guy!" Tim: That is right! Mark: "Make a brochure on this chick." Tim: That is the idea! That is the idea, like you are not letting them live their dream. Mark: Wow. Tim: And then the argument is this - let’s play with it a little bit because there is a strain of logic to it, right. So, the idea is you get them structured that way and then the government...because then my question is, "Ok, what about the kids?" Two million kids or more are being trafficked, sold. How do you protect them in this? Amnesty International says, "It is very easy!" All you do is you tell these jurisdictions and the police officers... These pimps get licensed; they are a licensed business. You go to them and they have to show that they are not selling minors: "We don’t sell minors. Here, look - it's all willing adults." Mark: "Look at our brochure!" Tim: "Look at our brochure! It is very clear." Mark: "No kids!" Tim: And I am thinking to myself, "Ok, you are talking about these underdeveloped countries that, at Operation Underground Railroad, we are filling up their gas tanks so they can drive from point A to point B. You are telling me that your police force is going to have enough resources, time, manpower, so forth, to go and regulate these legitimate brothels to make sure that there are no minors?!" Do you know how easy it is going to be if you are Fuego, right? Fuego, who is the guy… Mark: I remember Fuego. Tim: We met Fuego on the beaches of Colombia and... Mark: And you took his hat! Tim: I still have his hat. I still have his hat. Mark: That guy is such a douchebag. Tim: Can you imagine… Can you say douchebag on this show? Mark: Hey, if I put a little E next to the...we are now explicit. Tim: Ok. Mark: No, douchebag is not explicit. Tim: Is "Slave Stealer Radio" an R-rated show? Let’s just talk about this and figure that out. Mark: I think we are PG-13ish. Tim: I just want to know what I can get away with. Mark: In context, we’re probably considered like an X-rated show just given the general theme, but we don’t really get explicit yet until we get you on the wrong moment. Hopefully we edit that out. Tim: Ok! Mark: Yeah. Tim: So, Fuego... You imagine Fuego, right. How hard is it going to be for Fuego? This is Amnesty International’s plan - Fuego should be a legal vendor as long as they are adults. The kids will be safe because they are safe with Fuego, aren’t they? You spent time with Fuego. Would you trust a 12-year-old girl to Fuego? I mean... Mark: Friendly guy. Tim: Here is what is going to happen: he will line up his 18-year-olds and 20- year-olds, and he’ll say, "Here’s all I got!" And those cops are not going to go the two miles down the road into the little storage facility, right, or the tractor trailer with the ten 12-year-olds and the three or four 9-year-olds. Mark: And they are not going to check his phone to see... Tim: No! Mark: ...you know, all the 10-year-olds with pagers. Tim: Right! He will have those, he will sell those. They are premium! You are going to sell those for $1000; these 18-year-olds you are going to sell for $300. He is going to have those. The infrastructure to sell those little kids is now supported by the state. And he will be able to make money, he will be able to invest whatever he makes legitimately, he will pay his taxes and everything else. He will be a businessman! He is going to sell the premium because it is too easy and now you have just supported his infrastructure. How are you going to protect those kids? Amnesty International decided to ignore those kids. Those twelve kids in the back of the tractor trailer down the road - they have ignored them. And now, guess what? You have created an absolute sex haven. And let's say that they decriminalized it like this everywhere in Cartagena. Every gross tourist from America, Canada, and Germany, and everywhere else - they are going to go to Cartagena, they are going to enjoy the adult sex, and then they are going to make a deal with Fuego on the side and say, "Hey, where do I get the 11-year-olds?" "Well, you come to this other place down the road." And it is a booming business. I am absolutely just astonished and sickened that Amnesty International could be so incredibly short-sighted and idiotic that they don’t see that they are completely neglecting the children. They are creating safe havens. They are making it so easy for the johns and pimps to rape children. Mark: That is pretty inflammatory. Tim: It is inflammatory! Mark: You just called them idiotic. Tim: They are idiots! Mark: What if we need their help? Tim: Well, we won't need their help. Mark: Ok. Tim: But do you know who does need their help? Fuego needs their help, and apparently he is going to get it. Mark: So, an entire industry... You might shut down an entire industry. There might be jobless Fuegos all over Colombia, all over Mexico. Tim: How sad. Mark: Have you ever ordered the 'Sin City'? Tim: No. Mark: Smashburger. You go down, and it is kind of like In-N-Out burger. You can show up and there is the menu, right, there is a Smashburger menu (and they are not a sponsor of this show), but you can order the ‘Sin City’ which is not on the menu. And it is kind of a niche thing for people to go in and they give you the wink and they say, "I’ll take the Sin City." Tim: It is like In-N-Out burger, it is the same thing. They have their Animal Fries, Animal Burgers. Mark: Yeah, the Animal Style. Now, I see prostitution becoming like that. Tim: That is exactly right! Mark: Under the Amnesty plan. Tim: Absolutely! It is exactly what it is. Mark: I’ll take Sin City (wink, wink). Tim: It is exactly what it is. Mark: She is in the back alley. Tim: It is exactly what is going to happen. Mark: It is a brand extension. Tim: It is exactly what is going to happen. And we know this! I know this! I know these guys! I have negotiated with them undercover, I sit across the table from them. And if it was legal to sell, for him to sell adults - which it is not in Cartagena frankly, ok. But if it were, if we all follow Amnesty International, and if they make it legal, and I am sitting across from him... Think about this, just play it out in your head - I’ve been there a hundred times. "Hey Tim, come to my office with the sign that says, 'Beautiful women for sale,'" right, because this is a legal business. I walk in there... I mean, we have set him up, he is totally legitimate. And you don't think we are going to have that little 'Sin City menu' talk? Absolutely we are going to! Because he is going to make double or triple off this sick, horny American who is sitting across from him. Mark: Yeah. Tim: Right? It is so unbelievable! When I saw Amnesty International’s policy, I thought there is no way, there is no way they are going to vote. Sane minds will prevail here. And they didn't. Mark: Who voted for it? Tim: It is the board of Amnesty International. This is a powerful organization that has done good in the world - they are all about human rights. They have done good in the world to protect innocence. Mark: Well, traffickers are humans. They have the right to traffick. Tim: Traffickers have rights too, I guess. Mark: Apparently. So now... Tim: It is unbelievable. Mark: So now, Amnesty International, for the uninitiated like me, Amnesty International now goes and lobbies the UN, they lobby Washington, they lobby... Tim: They lobby countries all over the earth. They will be going and saying, "You need to decriminalize prostitution!" And don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in decriminalizing prostitutes. They should all be treated as victims, absolutely, even if they are saying, "I’m here because I want to be - arrest me!" No, we are going to treat you like... We don’t know your story. I agree with that, that’s right. But what they do is, because the sex worker can’t provide her service if johns are scared to come buy them. So, who they are really protecting are the johns and the pimps. And they say that in their legislation, or in their proposed legislation. They say that... They don’t call them pimps, they are very careful with all the wording, but they call them 'security': 'security for the prostitutes'. Mark: They call them security? Tim: They need to have their infrastructure, they need to have their security, which means that there could be other people helping and facilitating in their business. So, it is unbelievable. Now, will there be a prostitute that would benefit from this? Will there will be a prostitute that would say, "I truly do want to be here"? Absolutely! I believe there are prostitutes who want to be there. And might they say, "We need this policy so that we can sell ourselves freely and be sex workers by choice," and all this, and this would help them. Yes, that would help them, but you have to weigh that against the twelve 12-year-olds who are sitting in the tractor trailer down the road from the legitimate brothel. Mark: Whom you have seen. Tim: I have seen them! They are everywhere! There are 2 million of them. And you have completely thrown them under the bus because you are so worried about the few prostitutes who want to be there, who love their job, and whatever. Mark: The company guys. Tim: I can’t say I am completely unsympathetic to that - maybe that is what their choice is and I am a libertarian in that way. I want people to be able to choose. But it is a balancing act and when you are choosing that over the children who will now be raped because you have provided the infrastructure for them to be raped, you are in the wrong. I mean, it is so clear that you are in the wrong. I know from our perspective, you know, we spend a lot time in the trenches and we see this. Perhaps the folks from the Amnesty haven’t. I have to assume they haven’t seen this, and see how easy they are making it now for children to be raped.