0:00:00 – Speaker 1
nextTalk, sponsored by NextTalkorg, contains content of a mature nature. Parental guidance is advised. Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim On AM 630, the word. Mandy is the author of Talk and Kim is the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents’ cyber parent through open communication. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and subscribe to our weekly podcast at NextTalkorg. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:36 – Speaker 2
Today we are talking about some heavy topics, but super-duper important, because it’s important that we are aware of everything that’s out there. That’s what nextTalk is all about that, even if you don’t understand something or it makes you nervous or stressed that we have to have conversations about what’s going on in our world with our kids. So I’m pleased to invite Chuck Paul here today. He is the outreach specialist for Centro Seguro. It’s a drop-in center. I’m going to let him tell us a little bit more about himself first. They will dive into what he does and how it applies to you. So, chuck, tell us a little bit about your background.
0:01:10 – Speaker 3
Well, thank you, kim. So I started out in the military and after the military I went to go work on the US borders. Us customs agent In the front lines.
0:01:19 – Speaker 2
Yes, did that for ten years.
0:01:21 – Speaker 3
So, having been in the military and then it worked on the border, I got to see human trafficking where it was involving foreign nationals and I thought this is really a problem that we have in other countries and we have to keep it out of our country. And I thought you know, just like many Americans, that this is something where, when it comes into the United States, people are exploited, but it’s really at foreign nationals that it happens too.
0:01:43 – Speaker 2
Right, it’s out there, out there.
0:01:46 – Speaker 3
After I left the US customs service, I eventually went to go work for the Texas Department of Family Protective Services. I was a special investigator for this area for 12 years.
0:01:54 – Speaker 2
0:01:54 – Speaker 3
For ten of those I was assigned to the San Antonio Police Department Special Victims Unit as their Special Investigative Liaison with the FPS. So while there I started to see cases where young people would be recovered I mean the missing persons unit, the youth services unit. They talk about boyfriends, older boyfriends, older girlfriends, setting them up with dates with these Adult men, and I knew what that was. But I had to pause and I also had to grieve too, because I thought this is something that happens in another country. This doesn’t happen in my backyard, in my city.
0:02:25 – Speaker 2
It was probably shocking and a little overwhelming.
0:02:27 – Speaker 3
It was very much so. So as I began to look at these cases and I began to look at where we have missing youth from Now mind you, I worked in the FPS I started to research missing foster youth and there was some misinformation out there that there were several foster youth that were missing. There were foster youth missing, but the numbers were skewed because of the amount of the way the information was collected and, a matter of fact, the information wasn’t really being collected and there was no central database that was tracking that these are youth or foster care and there wasn’t a system at the time with the FPS that says tell me how many kids are missing from placement. That just didn’t?
0:03:02 – Speaker 2
It’s interesting. So you found a hole, so I found a hole, yeah.
0:03:05 – Speaker 3
So I started researching and doing research, using the database for DFPS to research the placements for youth. Placements mean where they are in their status of placement Are they placed in a foster home, are they placed with a relative, are they placed in a group home? And I looked at the ones that said unauthorized placement, or some of which that said runaway, and I started researching individually, calling those case workers in our area. Where is this child really at? Tell me a little bit about this child. So I was able to come up with a complete list of actual youth that weren’t where they were supposed to be.
0:03:35 – Speaker 2
Oh my goodness, they were slipping through the cracks. Slipping through the cracks.
0:03:39 – Speaker 3
Wow. So I sent that information up to my boss and my boss’s boss and I came up with a policy that said we’re, for now on, whenever one of these youth are not where they’re supposed to be, the case worker has to contact the National Center for Missing Exploited Children. Make sure there’s a police report number on them, because that wasn’t always happening. Wow, make sure the police have been reported to Make sure a special investigator has been assigned to go look for them. Basic thing, sure. And I sent that up to my boss and he sent that up the chain. They thought it was a wonderful idea, so we implemented it here in Bear County. Awesome, wow. And that caught wind up at the state level. The state level heard about it, so they ended up implementing it in 2015 for the entire state of Texas.
0:04:17 – Speaker 2
0:04:17 – Speaker 3
So that’s now a policy that’s statewide. So I was actually on a team of three individuals starting at about 2014. That all we did was we started working these cases of finding either we’re missing from a real estate company we’re finding either we’re missing from foster care and working these human trafficking cases. In particular, the human trafficking cases were involved foster you.
0:04:34 – Speaker 2
I bet that that is a breeding ground for people who are looking for kids to exploit, because they’re in that in between zone and nobody was looking for them until you made this policy.
0:04:45 – Speaker 3
Right, no one was looking for them, so that did make them a high risk category group. Yeah, and what we ended up finding out was that children that are on runaway status, regardless if they’re in foster care or not, we would have these youth we call runaways, youth that were homeless and youth that we call throwaways, and the scariest group is the throwaway group. The throwaway group was actually youth that were thrown out of their house. They weren’t in CPS custody, they weren’t in juvenile justice custody.
They were usually with their parents and then, for some reason, their parents threw them out, and often one of the reasons their parents threw them out is because the child was beginning to sell states that they identified as LGBTQ.
0:05:19 – Speaker 2
Wow, and they were thrown out for that.
0:05:21 – Speaker 3
They were thrown out. Oh wow, I’ve had youth tell me I’m. This happened to me because I’m gay.
0:05:25 – Speaker 2
Oh, my goodness.
0:05:26 – Speaker 3
And In many cases we would start to research those youth and we’d find out actually what it was is that the child had been molested early on, usually by a, not by a parent, not by someone else. Yes, the parents had done what they were supposed to do as far as reporting it to law enforcement, but the child really didn’t have the therapy to deal with it Absolutely Nothing to process through.
They were beginning to question if this happened to me, that must make me yes. And then they’re thrown out. They’re thrown out, oh gosh. And then what happened was no one was looking for them because there was no police report.
Right, there was no, so that made it very scary. So as we started to find this information, we were starting to get involved with Sherrod Hope International and other groups, so about 2011,. We really started to get active with the Albany Air Coalition against trafficking back when it first formed. I was part of the first group that formed it and now that started with like nine people and today it’s like 81 different agencies and almost 300 people involved with that.
0:06:18 – Speaker 2
That’s amazing, Um, the collaborative effort. But at the same time, it just breaks my heart that we need such a collaborative effort. I mean, that’s huge. It’s a huge amount of people and resources, meaning that the problem is huge than I think most of us realize. Right.
0:06:31 – Speaker 3
And what we do is we break up into groups. So the the Albany Coalition against trafficking has law enforcement, has education groups has churches, has uh ministries, has uh nonprofits, like what I work for now.
They’re all part of the Albany Coalition against trafficking and then what they do is they break off in a subcommittee. So there’s a subcommittee that works in legislation, there’s a subcommittee that works in outreach, a subcommittee that works on training, a subcommittee that works in facilities, and what we find is by getting our whole community involved because this is a problem that affects everyone, no matter who you are that we’re actually able to start addressing the issue on a holistic approach. Because the reality is is that this is really based on a breakdown of the family unit. That’s the fact. This is based on a breakdown of the family unit. If you’ve got youth that are not getting what they need at home, there are individuals out there that will exploit them, and oftentimes we find today that the exploitation begins while the child’s still at home, actually many times standing right next to their parent.
0:07:28 – Speaker 2
Online Online. Yes, Chuck, I want you to speak to the parents right now. I know we’re talking a little bit about your past and how you came to where you are, but I think in this moment it’s important for them to really hear what you’re saying, because this is kind of the crux of what we talk about at nextTalk is that this is happening in your own home. It has changed. The landscape of parenting has changed. Your kid can be standing next to you and they are being groomed to be taking from your home or to walk out of your home and go and join someone where then they will be exploited. You see, this, this is what you do in your career now. Yes, it is not rare?
0:08:02 – Speaker 3
right, it’s not rare, and what parents need to understand is that this is not their child’s fault, right? These individuals that are actually hunting? They actually have a term for them. They call it body hunting, and they make money off of this. As a matter of fact, the average trafficker here in our city, with a stable of four youth, can make over $600,000 a year.
0:08:21 – Speaker 2
Oh my goodness gracious.
0:08:22 – Speaker 3
This is a $150 billion a year international industry. Wow, child pornography produced in the United States alone is a $3 billion dollar industry. And these traffickers diversify in this. We call them traffickers, we call them pimps. These are exploiters, is what they are they diversify. One child, they may use it one day. They have that child do pornography, stripping and escort services all on the same day.
0:08:45 – Speaker 2
Oh, my goodness.
0:08:46 – Speaker 3
And they have a system. They actually have a system that they utilize. They use a system that’s based in Freudian science called Fractionization, seduction, where they start out with creating initial intrigue and they start out by small, short, little bleeps about themselves. Things that great gain the attention of youth that are out there, so they cruise through the chat rooms and the websites and the, wherever.
0:09:08 – Speaker 2
What about, like online gaming, the talking Online gaming. Oh my goodness.
0:09:12 – Speaker 3
And they’re waiting for that youth that’s mad at their parents, that’s mad at their friends, that feels lonely, that feels like they’re not connected. We know that many youth I remember being 12, 13- years old myself.
0:09:21 – Speaker 2
Absolutely, we all go through that. Yes.
0:09:24 – Speaker 3
So they start out with an intrigue. They have these little intrigue points like this they have a great character online, or they have a website or videos on there about themselves, or they have some kind of little blurb about themselves. They create intrigue Just enough to start a conversation with your child. And then what they do beyond that is then that we create rapport and they have a status, that they go into the rapport stage.
Recreating rapport means that they’re going to create a conversation between their child and them by asking questions or hey, I hear you’re sad, tell me about that, I really want to know and then everything your child says they’re going to empathize with and they’re going to have similar experiences and they’re going to agree and they’re going to create a rapport, and that rapport building process is going to build and build and build and build until they’ve gotten into the affection stage and where they’re starting to create an attachment through an affection stage because they have shared experiences and shared likes and shared dislikes, and they’re going to build on that.
Bunny hunting these guys that do this and girls that do this, they can do it over a period of weeks, days, months. They have fake identities, they go out and they use cat fishing all the time where they create a fake profile. I wanted to talk to a child at one high school. I go to another, I go to a nearby town, find another big high school and I go, pull the photographs of the football player over there or someone who’s popular over there and I start creating a contact using that. It’s very simple.
0:10:53 – Speaker 2
Oh my God. Well, we are always talking with parents about having this conversation with your kids before they are in that situation, and they say, well, how would that happen to my kid? We’re a good family, we’re a middle class family, we’re doing everything right, but if you’re not talking to them and talking to them about the dangers that are out there, this will take them by surprise. This will blindside them. Just like you said, it’s not your kids fault. They’re being groomed in a scientific way to respond to this terrible person that’s out there trying to get a hold of them. So you have got to explain to your children what is out there and give them good examples so that they can recognize it when they see it. Because you want to be that safe place for your kids, you want them to say, hey, I’m talking to this person and this is what they’re saying, so that you can walk them through that, because if they don’t tell you, it’s very easy for them to get sucked in. Smart kids, it’s not your kids fault.
0:11:44 – Speaker 3
No, it’s not, and that’s very much the truth.
Children that are connected and protected, children that are connected within their community, that are connected with their parents, connected within their church we connected within their school, that are engaged with responsible adults and responsible friends, these are the children that are least likely to be exploited, because they’re not spending all their time talking to their secret friend online, or maybe even a friend that you. They’ve got a profile that says Kimmy and it’s actually a middle-aged male that they’re talking to, because they know the language, they know the terminology and they will build that rapport. They will build that affectionate attachment over a long, long period of time, if they have to. What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to get the child to feel as though that no one else understands them, but their friend yes, and they’ll even say things like. They’ll text the child and say why didn’t you answer all my texts? I text you five times and you answer right away. The child respond while I was talking to my mom or doing homework and they’ll say well, apparently your mom is more important than I am.
0:12:42 – Speaker 2
Oh, that manipulation.
0:12:43 – Speaker 3
So we can’t be friends. Oh, and this is the beginning of the sequence, that was a true enslavement, which is true mind wash is what’s going on where they’re beginning to fractionate, which means to separate out, fractionization, seduction the child from all other connections. Oh, so the child literally feels as though the only connection they have is that person.
0:13:06 – Speaker 2
Yes, I can see it. I mean we’ve heard the stories from parents right here in our own town, in our own neighborhoods, you know. nextTalk, we’ve gotten the calls in our own schools of kids who have been trafficked and that is the process. That’s what it looks like, and it’s still hard to hear to this day, because I can see how easily any kid could fall victim to that.
0:13:27 – Speaker 3
Any child good parents, good neighborhoods, going to church has a good school they don’t care, because the fact that the marginalized youth, the homeless youth, the throwaway youth, the runaway youth there are not enough of them to feed the sick and twisted appetite that is human trafficking in the United States today. So they have to go after the child that’s at home on their phone at the dinner table with mom and dad there and maybe the parents dad had a tough day at work, mom had a tough day at work they’re trying to discuss their own tough day to address that and make sure they don’t take that into their household and just for that moment is all that person needs to get that foot in the door.
0:14:06 – Speaker 2
Oh, my goodness, that’s hard to hear If you’re just not tuning in. This is nextTalk Radio, Saturdays at 2 pm. nextTalk is listener supported. To support the work we do here, please visit NextTalkorg.
This is Kim, and I have the pleasure of speaking with a special guest today, Chuck Paul. He is the outreach specialist for Centro Seguro, the drop-in center. I want him to delve into what exactly you do as the outreach specialist and what Centro Seguro is. I wish I could say that better and cooler, but I just cannot get it out.
We have been setting up kind of the situation at hand here in the first part of the show, which is human trafficking, and that it is not an issue out there overseas, somewhere not close by. It’s in our own backyard, our own schools, our own homes, your child possibly and that is the premise of everything we talk about here at nextTalk with creating that safe place for your kids so that they can talk to you about anything. You have to be having these tough conversations with them so they know what’s out there. They need to see that there is a threat. They need to understand what it looks like so that they can come to you and share it with you if they see it. Human trafficking is real, it’s happening every day and the numbers are staggering. Chuck is here to talk to us. Yes, about that, but also some of the programs that you guys offer to support these kids once they have been exposed to this.
0:15:27 – Speaker 3
So Centro Seguro was actually born out of the Alamary Coalblish against trafficking, coming together with groups and discussing what the issue was, and one of the main issues that we ran into was we would have a youth that was either runaway, homeless, throwaway or youth that had been exploited and we had really no safe place to take them to Because of the behaviors that they would display after that had happened to them let’s say, trafficking. They would often run away, they would feel as though they’re still connected to the trafficker, they would feel as though that they weren’t really exploited but they were in love and parents from good households, good neighborhoods, and parents that didn’t have any resources from bad places they all had the same problem is that they couldn’t keep their child safe. So often what would happen? Unfortunately, because there was no other systems this is our juvenile justice system would have to step in. So then you have a youth that something’s happened to them, or maybe they just have a constant runaway issue that are going to detention centers.
0:16:23 – Speaker 2
Wow, oh my goodness, and this is happening all across the country.
0:16:26 – Speaker 3
So the thought was there has to be something else. So the governor’s office created their child sex trafficking team and governor Abbott created this team and they specifically started to go around and talk to groups like the Alamary Coalblish against trafficking about what are we going to do to change this system. And what happened was during a T-Noise conference. That’s the Texas Network of Youth Service. So these are all groups that provide services to youth throughout the state of Texas.
During a T-Noise conference here in San Antonio, I was there, the governor’s office was there and Roy Moss Youth Alternatives were there. Now Roy Moss Youth Alternatives has been around for 42 years in the state of Texas. They were the very first place here in San Antonio to provide a place that basically youth that ran away, youth that had at risk, they needed a safe place to go. They gave it their bridge facility. They also did foster youth placements there. So Roy Moss was there. So Roy Moss sat down with the governor’s office and Dr Julie Strench and Bill Whitaker from Roy Moss Youth Alternatives sat down with the governor’s office and this was discussed. What are we going to do? We’re already serving this population, but what are we going to do to prevent this from happening, but also provide a safe place when they are exploited it does happen.
yeah, so this was central school. That was born out of this. So central school was born out of that concept, but there was only funding for eight hours a day. Well, what ended up happening was is that Bear County Jewel Justice, partnered with Roy Moss, youth Alternatives and the governor’s office and there were some connections with the Kronkowski Foundation and the Kronkowski Foundation came in and through the introduction and said we’ll fund the other 16 hours a day.
0:17:58 – Speaker 2
Amazing, what a blessing.
0:18:00 – Speaker 3
So central school became the very first 24 hour, seven day a week facility in the entire United States of America.
0:18:07 – Speaker 2
0:18:08 – Speaker 3
Specifically for runaway, homeless, throwaway and traffic youth.
0:18:11 – Speaker 2
0:18:12 – Speaker 3
It’s the only one in the state of Texas.
0:18:13 – Speaker 2
0:18:14 – Speaker 3
Other places followed afterwards all throughout the country. So what is up happening now is that with central Segudo is that now we have a safe place and we are the safe place here for this area. We are partnered with the Safe Place Network Program, which is a national program. We now have a safe place for runaway youth, homeless youth, youth who have been thrown out at risk, youth and youth who’ve been exploited.
Okay, it’s a non detention facility, it’s not a jail, it’s not a locked down facility Right, because locking up a child who’s been victimized just says you did something wrong.
0:18:44 – Speaker 2
Yes, it’s like a double victimization, correct, it’s awful.
0:18:49 – Speaker 3
So now a police officer here in this area there are over 35 law enforcement patrol officers, different departments that do patrol, and just in Bear County alone we don’t think about all the school police, no we don’t All the small municipalities, the college police, the university, the hospital police there are over 35.
So these officers let’s say they identify somebody that’s either been exploited or at risk of exploitation, or runaway or just on the streets they can now bring them to central Segudo. We’re on the very first few minutes there. We’re gonna do a start, a full assessment. We’re gonna get a portrait of that child’s life, not just why you’re here today, but what’s been going on in your life as far as whether or not you’ve been a victim of exploitation, whether or not you’ve been a victim of crime. We’re gonna look at all the victim of crime act qualifiers on them to see if they’ve ever had anything bad happen to them.
What’s your family dynamic? What’s your support system? What does your family look like? What resources do you have available? What do you really need? What’s your educational system look like? So we’re gonna get a portrait of this child’s life and during that portrait, we’re also gonna do what’s called a see-it tool, which is a tool to screen, specifically for human trafficking. Okay depending on where they fall on that scale. They can come in as no concern, possible concern or clear concern of Trafficking or even confirmed.
So if they come in as clear concern or above, we’re gonna contact who at one of our sister partner organizations was the Baptist child and family services common thread program. They’re gonna sign an advocate to that child and that child’s family that could work with that child and their family until that child’s 25 years. Oh, wow, that’s incredible and as a funded paid-for program amazing and that advocate is a paid advocate. That is their job Advocate for that child, work with that child.
0:20:27 – Speaker 2
I mean, I was reading a little bit about what y’all do and you know you meet them right where they’re at and provide the services they need to heal and move forward, versus, like you said, revictimizing them by putting them basically in youth jail. I mean even just basic services shower, food, a safe place to be, counseling resources, all of that that’s. That’s an incredible service that you all provide and I think that speaks to the the bigger picture here that if this is such I’d love for you to share some numbers real quick, like because I think that will impact our listeners. If this is such a big problem, we have got to find a way to restore these youth and restore these young people and not just Revictimize them or put them back out on the streets, and that’s what y’all are doing.
Yes so what? Just to kind of give an impact for our listeners. What kind of numbers are we looking at here?
0:21:12 – Speaker 3
So last year alone we served for one, the first year of Central School’s operations we had. We had guessed that maybe we’re gonna serve about 60 kids in the first year. We served 260 over 260 youth last year. Wow, and what we ended up finding was is that 50% of the youth now, mind you the population we deal with, homeless runaways, sure we’ve been thrown out, kids who we believe have been at risk for traffic, your traffic. 50% of them came in as clear a Concern for trafficking.
Wow we found that they averaged eight vocal qualifiers per youth. Oh my goodness, an average of eight. That means anything from being robbed to sexually assaulted, to beat up to bully. We found that the top four qualifiers, the crop four indicators that we found with our youth, was bullying, sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence. Okay, but those four factors seem to be a common fact that we see all went over again, and this is not necessarily something that may have even happened in the home. So, as we get, when we started to look at our numbers where they were they lay was this was something that took the air out of the room we found that 50% of our clear concerns were males.
0:22:17 – Speaker 2
Oh my goodness, I would not have expected that 50% are boys. Wow, oh, my goodness.
0:22:23 – Speaker 3
So everyone has been focusing to girls. Yes, with girls. Yes, we’re finding out that it doesn’t matter boy or girl. Yeah, whether a child identifies as gay or straight, it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter. These exploiters don’t care.
0:22:36 – Speaker 2
I they’re just looking for someone that they can lead out of their place essentially, and they’ll do whatever they can.
And you said the demand is so high that the exploiters they’re coming into our neighborhoods and looking for any kid that they can get, because you can’t just focus on the runaways, you can’t just focus on the homeless, and that’s the first time I’ve heard it put that way. That’s very impactful. I know that human trafficking numbers are very high. I don’t know if you have a statistic on that, but I know overall that those numbers are very high.
0:23:05 – Speaker 3
So the numbers are being worked on right now as far as hard numbers, so there was a lot of estimation numbers that were out there and this was based on projected data. So now what’s happening is is that because we have facilities like Central Segudo, because there are now five other drop-in centers in Texas, they’re not 24 hours yet, but they will be eventually.
We’re starting to get real hard numbers as far as you know actual cases. So last year alone here in San Antonio we were part of we had 40 confirmed cases that Central Segudo worked with of human trafficking here in San Antonio.
0:23:37 – Speaker 2
Wow. So that’s 40, that we just that’s confirmed, just confirmed yes, exactly, and we know that that number is probably much higher than that too.
0:23:44 – Speaker 3
Yes, we do Absolutely. So the projected numbers, of course, are much higher. But what we’re trying to do now is we’re trying to get real hard numbers so we’re able to give hard facts to our population. Sure, and that’s what’s coming, so that’s being reported up to the governor’s office, and it’s actually been reported at the Serrat Hope International Conference this last time around.
0:24:03 – Speaker 2
Well, you know as hard as it is to talk about these things. It’s very important that parents know the facts. They hear from experts who are on the front lines and who are meeting these kids and serving these kids and they really are kids and so we need to not only be having these conversations in our homes, but we want to be able to help with these kids. Tell us what we can do and how we can contact you to help support what you’re doing.
0:24:26 – Speaker 3
So if you’re a young person and you need help, or if you’re a family that has a runaway youth or an officer that needs some place safe to go, you can call our 24-hour hotline at 210-340-8090. That’s man 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are located at 3103 West Avenue. We are the safe place. So that means that a young person can actually text for help to the number four help, Okay. And they can text that I need a safe place to go. No.
And it will pop up on their text. The response is where are you? Here’s where the safe is placed.
0:24:56 – Speaker 2
Oh, that’s incredible.
0:24:57 – Speaker 3
We actually have a partner, a corporate partner now, which is Quick Trip. And you notice they’re going up and around San Antonio. Yeah, so they are a corporate partner and they’ve been a part of the National Safe Place Program throughout the United States. So now if they’re moving into our area, they become our corporate partner. So a young person can go to a Quick Trip store, say I need a safe place, and they’ll take them in the back, give them a sandwich, give them some to eat and they’ll call us to come pick them up.
0:25:19 – Speaker 2
Incredible. The work you guys are doing is so important. Thank you for being on the front lines and doing what you’re doing. I’m sad that we have to have these conversations, but it’s imperative that we all know what’s going on and figure out a way to help these kids Appreciate you being here, chuck. Thank you, kim, thank you.
0:25:34 – Speaker 1
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim on AM630, the Word. You are not alone, trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and podcast at NextTalkorg. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
Transcribed by https://podium.page