Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jared Hudson has spent a great deal of time targeting human traffickers and rescuing victims from their captors. The movie "Sound of Freedom" has put a spotlight on the issue of human trafficking, and Hudson has a unique perspective on the subject of the film.
The movie is based on the real story of Tim Ballard, who worked for the Department of Homeland Security until he saw a greater need and started Operation Underground Railroad (OUR). The organization works to dismantle child trafficking rings.
Hudson worked with OUR and saw firsthand the work being done overseas.
"That is what you see in 'Sound of Freedom' and 'Taken' is people are kidnapped, people are stolen," said Hudson.
However, what he saw led him to start his own organization to rescue human trafficking victims at home. That is how the Covenant Rescue Group was formed in Alabama.
With the help of his wife, Hudson gathered experts to fight human trafficking. They work to bring hope and justice to victims.
Already this year, Covenant Rescue Group (CRG) has made 34 arrests within 34 jurisdictions. However, just as in the movie "Sound of Freedom," Hudson has realized issues the government presents to those trying to do the right thing.
"One problem with the government is all the red tape," he said. "The government is the true definition of arrogance because they claim to do things they can't do. We think the government is going to fix our problem but where we live, we are the people, we are the king of this nation. It's not your rights, everybody talks about rights, it's your liberty. And with liberty comes responsibility. If you want to fix something, fix it yourself because either the government doesn't have the bandwidth, they're lying to you or they are not able to do what they say."
Hudson has not let the challenges stop him and his group from fighting to protect people and arrest those involved in human trafficking. Throughout his work, he has identified key issues that play a part in making human trafficking possible. He also has suggestions on how to protect your family.
It happens here
While it is harder for perpetrators to victimize children in the United States the way they do overseas, it does happen. Experts say the easiest target for human traffickers is illegal immigrants because they often are scared to contact authorities for fear of being deported. Other times, they do not have the means to call the police.
Under the umbrella of human trafficking, Hudson said there are various types of black-market businesses, including the child sex trade, prostitution, labor trafficking even organ harvesting.
Regarding kids, some children are sold by their parent or guardian, and some have been impacted directly by their parent or guardian. Many times, Hudson said parents who sell their kids are living in poverty.
"Government is impoverishing people by enabling and creating a victim mindset," he said. "It's a poverty-based problem where parents are willing to sell their kids just to get money. A lot of times it's drug-related; not always just to get food but you do see that."
As impoverished children age, Hudson said it is common to see teen girls selling their bodies to make money. Hudson said an example of that was in the 1990 country song, "Fancy Don't Let Me Down," by Reba McEntire.
"Reba McEntire has made millions off of a stupid song like that and really all it's doing is elevating human trafficking here," said Hudson. "That poor girl had to whore herself out just to make a living at a young age when she was a young girl. And that's what we see here going on stateside."
It could be anyone
While many think of pedophiles as old men living in their parent's basement and not working, Hudson said that is not always the case. In fact, the worst of the worst could be working with you or going to church every Sunday.
He used the recent arrest of a former Alabama State Department of Education employee and former aid to Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth. Marty Decole "Cole" Wagner was charged with the sexual abuse of a child under 12.
"That's a guy that's pretty high up in the government," Hudson explained. "That being said, media does this and it's a problem: Just because somebody in your family does this or someone in your work does this, somebody you're associated with does this, doesn't make you bad. That's what the leftwing media always does. They say, 'Well, this person did this and they're friends with Trump,' or whatever it is. The point I'm trying to make is, look how close this guy was to Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and look at what he's doing … it's people in your everyday life. People you go to church with, people you work with, people you would never expect."
Protect your family
But there is something parents can do. Hudson said many of the cases he deals with started with a smartphone.
"You want to protect your kids? Then protect your kids. God gave them to you for a reason," he said. "There is no reason a child should have a smartphone and have access to the entire world.
Hudson said children involved in exploitation cases often had phones with preventative and parental controls, but that doesn't matter.
"I always think, 'This wouldn't have happened if you didn't give them flipping smartphones!" he added. "You are not your kids' friends. You are your kids' parents. I am not called to be a friend with my kid. God called me to be the parent.
"If you're a parent and your kid is going to have a cell phone, you better be as deep into that cell phone as you are into yours because that's the biggest problem. That's all we do. We can't even go to sleep at night because we're sitting there scrolling their social media. Hey, get on your kid's phone. No matter how good of a kid you think you have because the predators are out there."
Hudson has researched pedophile cases for years. One of them sticks out to him because the notorious pedophile in the case said what made him target specific kids had nothing to do with their gender, age, race or hair color. His target had everything to do with the head of the child's household.
"He said, 'I would look at the father.' He said if the father was a threat, he wouldn't go after them," Hudson recalled. "Now, that's real condemning to dads, especially in the society that we live in that wants dads and wants men to be emasculated. You need to be masculine, especially if you have kids because there is somebody out there looking and if they view you as though you are not a threat, they're going to go after your kid."
While many households have a father and a mother, many do not. Hudson said single mothers have to present themselves as a double threat.
"Everyone wants to talk about 'Mama Bear' and stuff like that but the fact is, if you're a woman and I want to take your kids, guess what I' going to get? I'm going to get your kids," Hudson added. "That's just the way the world works. We're not the same. I'm physically stronger by a lot than even women that are the same size as me."
To all parents, he has a simple message:
"Be a threat. Be a threat to somebody who will go after your kids. Be a threat to the government, be a threat to anybody who would try to take your children or your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and if you do that, you're going to start fixing a lot of these problems."
How to get involved
The Covenant Rescue group works with law enforcement agencies that seek assistance. The non-profit also partners with other non-profit organizations that offer aftercare services for victims of trafficking.
Hudson said one way to help fight human trafficking is to give to organizations on the frontlines.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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