The ProLife Team Podcast 61 | Beverly Weeks & Johnathon Chavis | Helping PHCs Identify and Respond to Sex Trafficking

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast 61 | Beverly Weeks & Johnathon Chavis | Helping PHCs Identify and Respond to Sex Trafficking
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Hear Beverly Weeks & Johnathon Chavis talk about how they are supporting clinics across the country identify and respond to sex trafficking.

Summary

This is Jacob Barr, and in this episode of the Pro-Life Team Podcast, I’m joined by Beverly Weeks and Jonathan Chavis from Cry Freedom Missions. We discuss their organization’s role in assisting victims of sex trafficking. Beverly, the CEO, and Jonathan, the COO, explain how Cry Freedom Missions, an outreach program of Wayne Pregnancy Center in North Carolina, was created to address the lack of resources for trafficked individuals visiting pregnancy clinics. They emphasize the importance of identifying and helping these individuals, particularly through their 16-bed safe house and comprehensive recovery programs.

The discussion highlights key indicators of trafficking, such as lack of IDs, malnutrition, multiple pregnancies or abortions, and reliance on others for answers. Cry Freedom Missions offers a holistic approach, including trauma counseling, medical and dental care, life skills, and job training. They stress the crucial role of pregnancy centers in identifying trafficking victims, given that these individuals often seek medical services without being recognized as trafficking victims.

The podcast also addresses the legal aspects of reporting suspected trafficking, emphasizing the importance of being familiar with state laws and mandatory reporting requirements. They offer training and consulting for pregnancy centers nationwide to better equip them to identify and assist trafficking victims.

Throughout the conversation, the deep commitment of Beverly and Jonathan to providing care and support for these vulnerable individuals shines through. Their faith-based approach is integral to their mission, aiming not only to rescue and restore but also to transform lives through the love and hope found in their Christian faith.

#Hashtags:
#CryFreedomMissions, #ProLifeTeamPodcast, #SexTraffickingAwareness, #VictimSupport, #HumanTraffickingPrevention, #SafeHouse, #RecoveryPrograms, #TraumaCounseling, #PregnancyCenters, #LegalReporting, #FaithBasedHealing, #SurvivorStories, #CommunityOutreach, #SocialEnterprise, #LifeSkillsTraining, #NorthCarolina, #WaynePregnancyCenter, #AbuseSurvivors, #Empowerment, #HopeRestoration, #SexualHealthEducation, #AbortionPillReversal.

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Jacob Barr :

Welcome to the pro-life Team Podcast i’m Jacob Barr i’m here with Beverly Weeks and Jonathan Chavis. And we’re going to be talking about Cry Freedom Missions and how help and healing is available for those who have been in the sex trafficking trade and how they can be identified and helped. And so we’re going to talk about that and how that can be performed at Prensky clinics across the country. So Beverly and Jonathan, I’m excited to have you on the pro-life Team podcast. Beverly, would you introduce yourself as if you were speaking to a small group of, frankly, clinic directors?

Beverly Weeks :

Hey guys, I’m Beverly Weeks and I’m the CEO here at Cry Freedom Missions.

Jacob Barr :

And Jonathan, would you also introduce yourself?

Jonathan Chavis :

Yes, I’m Jonathan Chavis i am the COO of Cry Freedom Missions and we’re excited to be with you guys today.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome So tell what does cry freedom missions? How do you connect with your you know, what do you do who do you serve and how do you connect with pregnancy clinics?

Jonathan Chavis :

Ok, so I think it’s important to understand that Cry Freedom Missions is actually an outreach program of a pregnancy center so we are Wayne Pregnancy Center right here in North Carolina in Goldsboro, north carolina And Cry Freedom was actually birthed because we were seeing so many individuals coming through our local clinic here who are being trafficked and there was nowhere to send them and there was no resources for us and any other pregnancy centers that we reached out to didn’t have any programming or access to resources to help these individuals and so Cry Freedom Missions was burst out of that great need.

Jacob Barr :

So and how does like what is the day-to-day or what kind of clients are you helping and how do you help them?

Beverly Weeks :

So let me tell you what we do so what we saw in our particular pregnancy center was there was a group of women who were coming in to get pregnancy tests, and they would never have an ID on them. They would never have an ID, or they would sit near a gentleman and when we asked questions in our counseling rooms or our client advocates asked questions, they’d have to look at him to see if they could answer the question. And so it was very evident they had no IDs on them a lot of the clients sometimes wore the same clothing. They appeared to be malnutrition, have malnutrition or malnourished and some of the girls had a lot of pregnancies in their past or maybe abortions in their mask. And these were all red signs for us so we started Crawford Emissions roughly about 5 and a half, years ago jonathan. And what we do at Crawford Emissions is this outreach program. We reach rescue and restore survivors of human trafficking. We are one of the largest providers here in the state of North Carolina. What that looks like for us is we do jail outreach, we do hotel outreach, we do street. Outreach jonathan and I are trained with the SBI, which is the State Bureau of Investigations. We actually go out and do the stings with the SBI and with law enforcement to help identify women who are either vulnerable to be in traffic or women and guys who we identify out on these stings that are known to be trafficked. Once we identify someone who is being trafficked, we actually own A16 bed safe house here in North Carolina and we have an emergency wing. We have a 6 to 12 month wing which is a second phase of our program and then we also have a transitional wing there. We offer lots of resources to those and clients.

Jonathan Chavis :

Yeah so for those clients, our desire is to just have a holistic approach, a wrap around services that include trauma counselors, It includes medical care, it includes dental care. It also includes programming that is really aimed at stopping the lies of the traffickers have infiltrated and the hearts and minds of these individuals as well as walking through what sexual healing looks like. Many of them are post abortive and so there’s post abortive healing classes that we provide. But really it’s walking through the trauma of abuse that they’ve encountered and how do we get them from that place of a victim to a survivor. How do you move them out of the place of being someone something has happened to now someone who is overcoming the obstacles that’s been put in their life and really living a productive healthy life and so that includes life skills, that includes job skills training that also is includes how to have healthy relationships it includes the dynamic of what is a new normal for them because the normal of their past for many of these young ladies and men that we encounter, their normal is steeped in extreme and horrific abuse and so for them, what we would take for granted in our everyday life are things that they have no comprehension of they have no scale to even understand from a perspective that we often have of what a normal life looks like and so it’s bringing them to a place of a new normality. And so the program really that first 30 days is just gearing, getting them safe, getting nourishment, getting them the medical help, letting them meet with the trauma counselor and then once they enter into the long term phase, it’s really about recovery, it’s about restoration it’s about getting them to the place where they can be an overcomer. And then the transitional side is once they’ve gone through that programming, then it’s about how do I interact with the real world, How do I get out there and work, how do I learn to budget, how do I position myself to have healthy relationships and move forward because it’s their goal to have healthy lives, healthy families. I’m almost every girl that comes through the program they’re one of their number one goals that they set usually from the onset is I want to be able to have a healthy family. And for many of them they don’t know what that looks like because familiar trafficking is the number one form of trafficking so that means that what would have been healthy relationships in their youth that they could have drawn from as an example, they’re not existent because their family are the ones that exploited them and took advantage of them.

Beverly Weeks :

Jacob, what we are seeing as Jonathan and I are travelling across the country is pregnancy centers have got to be on the forefront of identifying individuals in human trafficking because I can promise you they’re coming in your pregnancy centers. They’re coming in your pregnancy centers almost on a weekly basis. And you’ve got to be able to identify them, be able to get the resources to your clients. And what’s happening is a lot of our pregnancy centers will ask, they will say, well, how does this even tie in with the pro-life movement why should we be a dead even working on the human trafficking side? Well, Jonathan, I think it’s key and it’s important to say that, number one, don’t we want sexual abstinence for everybody don’t we want great sexual health? That’s right, you know, for everybody.

Jonathan Chavis :

Yeah, I think that’s one of the main reasons why we as a pregnancy center got involved in human trafficking was because they felt very hypocritical for us to say, hey, we’re going to go into the schools and teach absence to young students and teaching them about what a healthy sexual life looks like. And then here we have the most vulnerable individuals in our society who have encountered just a tremendous amount of abuse through sexual exploitation. To say that, Oh well, but we don’t want sexual help for you because may you’ve been trafficked or you may have been in prostitution, so therefore you don’t qualify and so for us it was a matter of not only do they qualify, but these are the most broken in our society this is what many in society would call the least among us. Aren’t these the very people that Jesus has called us to minister to? And so it was, it was a no brainer for us it was we felt very little resistance of transitioning from just focusing on you know that young mother or that crisis pregnancy to also include in that the individuals that we’re servicing now with in the human trafficking field because again the statistics are showing us that around 90 to 92 % of individuals who are being trafficked have had an abortion in their past. They’ve had all kinds of issues where sexual health is concerned and so these are these of course they qualify for our programs they qualify for us to be able to reach out and touch them and I believe it’s part of that abundant life message that we carry as a pro-life movement that we care about those who are being abused and those that are in these type of lifestyles, some by choice and but many not by choice because they’ve been exploded and used.

Beverly Weeks :

You know what really was shocking to me, Jonathan, was all the jail intakes that we were doing across the state when we were doing intakes on every single inmate in the jails. Shockingly to me, over 90 % of them had an abortion in their past. So number one, that would automatically qualify you to be a pregnancy center client, then many of them have children under the age of two i know a lot of pregnancy centers serve mothers, young mothers who are either pregnant or have children under the age of two this was a group, a group of women per southeast, that they were being overlooked when we started doing the jail outreach jacob, our client numbers on the pregnancy center, would you say it almost doubled?

Jonathan Chavis :

It did. It almost doubled.

Beverly Weeks :

And so this was a demographic of women who actually qualified for the pregnancy center program, but they were being overlooked and they couldn’t come to us we had to go to.

Jonathan Chavis :

Them and it opened the door for so many other people that they were connected to in the community that may have never came through our doors. 1 startling stat that we saw concerning not just pregnancy centers but medical clinics and overall is that they say that 88 % of individuals who are being trafficked have sought services in a medical facility or center, but less than 1 % of those individuals are actually being identified. And so for us that was another big piece is how do we educate pregnancy centers and so we’ve done that through Care Net and through Heartbeat we actually go to the National Conference and share, give slides about what they could do to identify individuals that come through their center. But for us, it was a matter of pregnancy centers are perfectly positioned to identify many of these clients that are coming in that may not, they may not self identify as being human trafficking, but as staff and as client services directors and counselors, they need to know what to look for so that when they’re going through that interview process and they’re spending time with these young ladies that they’re able to identify these situations because they are actually coming through your centers, whether you realize it or not.

Jacob Barr :

So Speaking of identifying what does that process look like is it based on like a number of like weighted things that might be happening in the?

Beverly Weeks :

Yeah, if you’re a pregnancy center and maybe you’re wanting to know some of the signs to look for, I’m gonna let Jonathan describe some of those signs to you but I also want to encourage you. One of the questions that we were asking Jacob as a pro-life entity in our counseling room, and it is a question that will help you be able to take your conversations deeper with your clients, is have you ever had to exchange sex for anything of value? Let’s say you’re having to exchange sex for your drugs, You’re having to exchange sex for food. You’re having to exchange sex for a place to sleep or lie your head at night. That right, there was a question that even would take us deeper in with a conversation with a client.

Jonathan Chavis :

Because most of the time, and we even have this on our intake forms in the jails have you ever had to strip? Have you ever had to perform any pornographic film? Has there any been any sexual exploitation in your past? These questions usually don’t get answered with an affirmation of Oh yeah, that happened to me because most people, because of the shame involved, aren’t ready to admit that they’ve not built any realm of trust with the individual to say, Oh yeah, this has happened or this has happened. So I think the, if you know when we’re asking the questions, they’re coming into our pregnancy center, they’re already they’re pregnant or they think they’re pregnant and they’re coming in or they’re coming in to get STD testing. There is this place of vulnerability that they’ve walked through the door and they’re willing to share some of their medical side of that and so in the process of that conversation, maybe not necessarily on the actual intake form, but I think in that conversation, I think it’s very key to broach the subject, Hey, do you feel safe in the environment that you’re in? Do you feel like that you’re being taken advantage of in any way sexually? And then of course, that question then can turn into, is there any place where you’re exchanging sex for anything of value? And then if they answer yes to that, I think then that goes into the deeper conversation. What that looks like is that a place where are you? Are you feeling like that you’re having to do these commercial sex acts, if you will? Is there any place where someone’s forcing you to do this is there any place where someone is, you know, coercing you, where they’re threatening you if you don’t do this, you’re going to, this is going to happen to you, or your family’s going to get hurt, or your children are going to be hurt? And then finally, is there any pretense that you’ve been brought into this thinking you’re going to get money, you’re going to get something in them? They’ve lied to you is there fraud involved in this because according to our laws, in order for it to be human trafficking case, it can’t be just a commercial sex act. There has to be force, fraud or coercion one of those three elements has to be in play in order for that individual to be a human trafficking victim.

Beverly Weeks :

That’s right. And let’s take that law even deeper. Law also states, and this is federal law it also states that anybody under the age of 18 and you’re having to exchange sex for anything of value. Those three factors do not have to be involved force, coercion and fraud does not have to be involved. So I’ll give you an example. A young client walks into your pregnancy center and they have been in a pornography film. That’s not that’s automatically that client has been in human trafficking.

Jonathan Chavis :

They’ve been involved in a commercial sex act.

Beverly Weeks :

Or they say, hey, I’m prostituting at age 1415 sixteen. There are no 1415 sixteen 17 year old prostitutes you need to understand that according to law that client is automatically being trafficked because they are under the age of 18 And so that can help you 100 % identify those individuals who are vulnerable to be in traffic or be in traffic as well jonathan, don’t you also think that with the overturn of Roe V Wade, so you’ve got more people coming into your pregnancy centers now also you’ve got the abortion pill reversal where girls are actually going out to have an abortion and they’re walking into like a Planned Parenthood facility and they’re regretting their decisions sometimes. And that i just really think that pregnancy centers now are positioned now more than ever to be able to identify those clients who are vulnerable.

Jonathan Chavis :

To be trying with those she brought up the abortion pill reversal that’s something that often times the pregnancy centers are not aware of that that’s even something that can be done. But i just saw where legislation is being passed where they’re trying to make the abortion pill an over counter the drug where you don’t have to get a prescription i think it’s extremely dangerous and we’re going to see the results if that gets passed i think we’re going to see many different lawsuits because young ladies lives have been lost because they were not under the prescription of a doctor and so there’s that aspect of the pregnancy center that we definitely need to see but these young ladies that are coming in i think I have one particular story we had a young lady that came in she was she was a child let’s put it what she was a child she was 10 years old. She came in for a pregnancy test she was a part of a very vulnerable group of people and it was, she was her family they were here illegally and that’s a very vulnerable group of people that can be trafficked and her pregnancy test was positive and so, you know, that’s a very, that’s instantly A reportable case because here we have a 10 year old that has to be reported to law enforcement and to DSS and so we’re trying to locate who the father is, what’s going on so we can understand the dynamic of this particular case so we can accurately report it. And the girl was very transparent with us she was saying, I don’t know who the father is, which is not uncommon for them to have, you know, deniability of who it is but in this case, it wasn’t because she was trying to protect someone. It was because so many men had come into her room and had sex with her and it was. And so as we dug in deeper to this particular case, what happened was the trafficker had come to the family and said listen, and here’s that coercion piece. They said if you don’t let us use your daughter for these commercial sex acts and then we’re going to report you and everybody’s going to go to jail and your family’s going to be separated and you’ll never see each other again and because they were ignorant of the law, they were, they felt fear, they felt coerced, that this is the only thing I can do. They consented and this young girl was being sexually exploited and trafficked here in our area and she came to the pregnancy center because someone in that community was aware that we had a Spanish translators and that we helped people that had a pregnancy and it was free of charge for them to come in. And so she came here with their parents and we had this conversation with her parents and the not only the relief that they felt but also the ability for prosecutors and investigators to get involved in this case and to stop because he wasn’t doing this with just one individual there were multiple individuals in these communities that he was taking advantage of and were sexually abusing through human trafficking.

Jacob Barr :

Wow. Yeah, that’s so wow that’s just such a it’s like it’s like it’s invisible or it’s no, it’s so outside of the public view. So what would you suggest to a pregnancy clinic as like what are the top signs to identify and try and increase that from being 1 % to something higher?

Jonathan Chavis :

Yeah so i think it has to be a place of you’ve got to broach that conversation with care. They first of all they have to know that you authentically care about them so I think the first place in staff training and in making sure that we keep that place of empathy in our hearts, that openness to have that conversation i think that’s really important because people immediately begin to trust when there is the presence of authentic care and love. And so I think it’s really key from the time they answer the phones. For an individual to come in there to the person that they see when they walk through the door, I think even the atmosphere that’s in your center of how you set that place up, we have set up our place. You can see in the background we’re in our admin wing, but it looks like a home and so we’re not actually in a home, we’re in our admin wing where we have our boardroom but our whole facility has this look to it doesn’t look like a medical facility it looks like a safe home environment and our goal is for that very purpose is to create that place of trust. And so I think that’s at your baseline the need to have that essential thing but then when we’re talking about human trafficking, I think there are a couple things that we want to look at so I think let’s first talk about the five major risk or vulnerabilities that open the door for human trafficking so if there’s substance abuse, so if you’ve got a client that’s walking through the door and you’re noticing, oh, they’re addicted to some kind of drugs, you see track marks, you see that they’re physically agitated. If there’s substance abuse, the likelihood of them being sexually exploited goes through the roof. And so we have statistics that show us that if they’ve been an active substance abuse for more than two years, they’re 90 % or higher, more likely to be trafficked than any other group of people if they’re a runaway or homeless individual. Ok, so runaway youth homeless their likelihood of being trafficked is extremely high in fact runaway teens, teens that are in foster care or have been have had ADSS case, Department of Social Services case where they have had abuse or neglect in their home. There is an 82 to 86 % likelihood that they’re going to be sexually exploited in some way. And so those are very high numbers if there’s even if they’re just simply unstable housing so they come into your pregnancy center and they your question is, we of course, you know your name where do you live at and they said, well, I don’t know where I live. What do you mean you don’t know where you live well, I’ve been in this hotel and this hotel OK all of a sudden that’s a huge red flag that there is something going on there that could possibly be human trafficking. We had one lady in fact, she came in and she reported to my one of my counselors oh, i’m at my uncle’s house i don’t know where I live, but I’m at my uncle’s house. Ok, well, who’s your uncle well, she couldn’t even give us the name of your uncle. And that was like a huge red flag that i mean, if you don’t even know your uncle’s name, something’s awry here it’s not true. Then also mental health concerns so if there have been in and out of mental facilities, if they’ve got mental health diagnosis, those individuals are extremely vulnerable and there’s a high likelihood that there could be some form of sexual exploitation and then recent relocation like the example that I gave with the illegal immigrant, if they’re moving into this area, they’ve moved in here from overseas. Those are those are all the top five areas.

Beverly Weeks :

And can I tell you another thing that I think that it LED our case management team here and even our trauma counselors to start looking for, especially in a pro-life organization, was if a girl has a high number of pregnancies or she has a high number of abortions, that should be a red flag for you. A high number. You know, we’ve had, we have a young woman who’s here at our safe house right now, Jacob. And I bet she’s had 12 pregnancies or twelve pregnancies yeah.

Jonathan Chavis :

Many of those in abortion or miscarriage, but.

Beverly Weeks :

That was a red flag for us, don’t you think? A huge red flag. And so those are two key indicators right there that you can look for if you are inside of a pro-life organization,

Jonathan Chavis :

So let’s dive into a little bit deeper to some of the other signs that we’re looking for too so if we find that they meet the criteria, those high risk vulnerable individuals, then you also want to dive into deeper do they have access to healthcare if they haven’t like we’ve had ladies that have come in 3536 weeks pregnant with no prenatal care.

Beverly Weeks :

You remember the one lady that we found at the hotel? She was 38 weeks pregnant. She knew she was pregnant, she just didn’t know how far along that was definitely an indicator that, hey, something’s not right here she doesn’t have access to healthcare or somebody’s not allowing her to have access to healthcare, so that was a huge indicator.

Jonathan Chavis :

As well, another one would be that they appear malnourished or they’re very skinny. Another one would be showing signs of physical or sexual abuse, where they’ve got bruises on their bodies, places where they’ve been confined, you see like strangle marks there’s different things that we want to look for as far as their physical appearance. Then also they have lack control of their identity.

Beverly Weeks :

That’s right. We saw that again with the young woman that I described earlier another key indicator, Jonathan, that our RN looks for here, Jacob, is if your pregnancy center does STD screening and you have a young woman coming in and she has multiple cases of STD’s I can go ahead and tell you that that’s just a warning sign that you’ve got something deeper going on there. Then just the case of the STD’s a lot of times women in trafficking will have STD’s and they’re coming into medical clinics, which many of our pregnancy centers are if you’re like us, we are at actual medical clinic here and they’re seeking attention for those STD’s well, is there another underlying issue there?

Jonathan Chavis :

Yeah and then you also want to look at the ability of not in control of their possessions. So they maybe are wearing the same clothes when they’ve come in for repeat visits, they don’t have any cash or any very little cash with them, no IDs. One of the things that we see is there seems to be always this connection or this looking to another individual to answer the questions for them. And I want to throw a word of caution when I’m Speaking of this because most people, when they think about human trafficking, they think about an older gentleman trafficking a younger girl. But in about 40 % of the cases we’ve seen over the last five or six years, many of the people that are trafficking other young ladies have been women themselves. And so it’s not just the man that’s sitting in there in the room that they’re looking to but it also could be a woman or a mother looking figure that they’re looking to answer all the questions. So there’s a really fine line there that you have to be aware of that when all these particular signs begin to add up and their story just simply doesn’t make sense i think that’s probably the biggest red flag for us is their stories don’t make sense their stories have all these different elements like something else is going on that we’ve got to continue to ask the questions. I think about one lady she came in and she came in two hours after her visit and you know most of the time that happens quite a bit, you know, for people to not meet their schedule time. But part of the question that or looking into one of the signs is they have no sense of time because often times they’re up late at night. They’re being moved from location to location, sometimes from time zone to time zone. I think about the one young lady we actually partner with all the pregnancy centers here in North Carolina we’ve done education for them and then they have our hotline number that they can call. And there was one just a couple counties over from us. They reached out to us because they suspected that one of the ladies there were being trafficked. And sure enough, it was. It was absolutely the case. We were able to get our SBI agent involved and move that Lady out of the state and get her into a safe place. But in that particular case, she had literally been in Colorado three days prior she was in Texas the day before, and she’d just come into our area and she’d come to that pregnancy center because somebody told her that there was that she could get free services there and they could check her to see if she was pregnant because she was concerned that she had not had her period for two months. And in that particular case, it absolutely was a trafficking situation.

Beverly Weeks :

Yeah, Jacob, a concern I have that I’m seeing as Jonathan and I are doing consulting work for pregnancy centers. We’re traveling around we’re speaking we’re doing human trafficking, con human trafficking trainings in other States and across the country is i just wanted to spell a myth that’s out there. So many people think for human trafficking to take place that a kidnapping has to occur. You know, you talk about human trafficking and everybody associates it with the movie Taken you remember Liam Neeson from the movie Taken and how his daughter was kidnapped. Shockingly, I want to tell you that that’s not the case. Many people are being trafficked by people they know that’s.

Jonathan Chavis :

Right less than really less than 10 % of all trafficking victims are being trafficked by a stranger or someone they don’t know where they’ve been kidnapped or taken by Force I.

Beverly Weeks :

Mean, did you hear that less than 10 %?

Jonathan Chavis :

So that means all the stuff that we did when we were young kids about learning about stranger danger and who not to answer the door to, who not to talk to in public, those were important and those were good but over 90 % of all trafficking cases are being trafficked by an individual that they know at the height of that in the 40 to 45 percentile range is a family member. Then next comes about 25 to 30 % is going to be a boyfriend and then employers and friends of the family are in that lower tier between 10 and 15 % but the reality is it’s not just the people out there that we don’t know that we need to be watching for it’s the people that are maybe in our family that could be taking advantage of individuals. And that makes it extremely difficult to identify human trafficking cases because you have the family dynamic. You have that growing up in a normalized atmosphere where sexual abuse and sexual exploitation is normalized. And so young kid may not even think that’s an issue or a problem or they’ve been conditioned to believe that that’s just the way life is. And so that’s probably one of the greatest issues that we are seeing especially with after COVID and so many people got connected online and we’re having kids were staying home and young people were being unsupervised. We saw just a huge uptick in cases because of the everybody being connected, even schools giving computers to their kids, to being online. And now kids have access to not just social media but the gaming systems. And we’re seeing just an epidemic of sexual exploitation online, which is another form of human trafficking. And those usually lead to them being trafficked in person as well.

Jacob Barr :

So what is the process so let’s say a Princess, clinic director or a volunteer counselor sees she has a client in her counseling room and she thinks that this person has enough signs or some signs that they may be trafficked or would be the next step for that person.

Beverly Weeks :

I think every pregnancy center should make it mandatory to report human trafficking cases so what does that look like for you? As a pregnancy center, I would familiarize myself with the laws in my state so that I know what that looks like. Do you need to report it to authorities? First of all, everybody should familiarize yourself with the national human trafficking hotline number. So Polaris is an excellent, excellent organization where you could go online that’s POLARIS and you can get that national human trafficking hotline number that number is 1-8-8-8 three seven eight one eight three seven eight Another number you can have is here at Crawford Admissions if you have any questions, maybe you as a pregnancy center, you have a concern and you just before you reach out to authorities you want to talk it through with someone you can call our management case management team here at Crawford Admissions and that number is 9-1-9 nine eight nine two six two nine one nine eight nine two six two and we could kind of talk that process through with you, but it should be a mandatory reporting in my eyes for every single pregnancy center, whether that’s reporting it to your local law enforcement, a DSS individual, you know, the Polaris hotline, definitely going straight to your executive director or your CEO of your pregnancy center and say, hey, this looks suspicious and then going through that reporting process.

Jonathan Chavis :

Yeah so part of our piece that we play in helping educate pregnancy centers is providing human trafficking one O 1 to help train staff and volunteers so that they know what science to look for and to create a plan of action just like what you’re asking for Jacob, how do you have a plan of action in place if someone does come in and so that part of that plan of action is building a an understanding of the resources available in your area, understanding who are the individuals and the organizations in your state and locally that you could be able to connect with and partner with and I think it’s really important but if we’re going to refer any of our clients to people that we have a sit down conversation with people from those organizations so we understand their core values, we understand who we’re sending them to so that we’re not just sending them from one place to another to another. And that’s one of the reasons why we started Cry Freedom was because we would send clients that we knew were in desperate situations and then they would fall through the gaps because of the lack of services or the other organizations that were just didn’t have the capacity to help those individuals. And so I think it’s very important that you vet those organizations and the places in your state that you’re connecting them to. For us it was very important for them to be faith-based for them to have a world view that’s centered in the gospel and that there is hope for everyone. Because so many organizations that I have found they feel like that once you’ve encountered this trauma that you’re a victim of your whole life and you’re always going to struggle and never have a place of hope to see real change take place that you’re always going to be in this place of being victimized and for us that’s just this counter culture to what we believe and to the dynamic of our message of abundant life, that people’s lives can only be changed and transformed. But there is absolutely hope for you to have a healthy and whole life and no matter what’s happened to you in the past, no matter what choices or choices that other people have made that have in fact affected your life, that things can be different and so I think that’s really important for you to be able to have those ongoing conversations with organizations and resources in your community and in your at your state level and that really affords you the opportunity that when you do encounter an individual who’s been trafficked, you’ll already have things in place, connections, names, numbers. So you’re not scrambling, running around the office trying to figure out, Oh my gosh, we have somebody, what are we going to do? You’ve already got a plan in place to be able to proactively help these individuals and set them on a path for recovery, restoration, and healing.

Jacob Barr :

So if a clinic volunteer or staff member or team identify as someone who they think, they think it’s being trafficked and let’s say that turns out that they’re not being trafficked. Is there any harm being done? Because I feel like I’ve got a feeling in the back of my mind that if someone thinks, oh, if I if I, if I say something and I’m wrong, that it’s going to have a negative consequence. And it and I’ve got a feeling there probably isn’t much consequence. But I think, you know people probably make it into a reason to not maybe pursue checking someone so what what’s the? What’s the downside of getting it wrong?

Jonathan Chavis :

Well, i think the biggest thing is having your trap, your staff trained initially. And so when your trap staff is trained, I keep saying it backwards, When your staff is trained, they’ll know what science to look for and they’ll know the appropriate questions to ask. And they can actually do a lot of the work that another organization may ask. How are you certain about this have you asked this or have you asked this? I think what will happen is when they’re trained appropriately, they’ll already have those questions in place to know how to ask and know how to pursue that. And so they’re absolutely cases where we’ve pressed in and found, OK, they may not be a human trafficking victim, but they absolutely have been sexually exploited or they absolutely have been molested are they?

Beverly Weeks :

Operate how you operate as a center can I give you an example and maybe this is a terrible, terrible example, but you’re going to get things wrong once in a while. But how many times are you going to get it right? For instance, somebody’s coming towards you with a gun, OK if somebody’s coming towards your staff with a gun, you’re going to report it, right? But what if they were coming not to harm your staff, but there’s always going to be that what if for that fine line area?

Jonathan Chavis :

And i think the biggest thing is again, at the baseline, if you come with all authentic love and care and they sense that from you, then hey, i really felt like I wanted to make sure that you were safe and you were in a good place. And so I want to bring this, you know, I want to bring these people involved to come and be involved in this particular case to ask you some more questions, to look into what’s going on in your life so that we can make sure that you’re safe and that you’re healthy and you’re whole.

Beverly Weeks :

And Jonathan and Jacob, at the very least educate yourself what does your state law say here in the state of North Carolina? It is a mandatory that you have to report yours. If you suspect human trafficking, you have to report it. If not it, you could be charged with actual a misdemeanor. And so educate yourself as to what your state law says for us, it’s mandatory reporting, yeah.

Jacob Barr :

And it seems like a lot of the flags are even if it wasn’t trafficking, it’s obviously a negative behavior or something that needs to be addressed and so, yeah, it seems like it’s much.

Beverly Weeks :

On the head, you know it’s all about relationships what kind of relationships are you establishing with your clients in a pregnancy center? You’re not there just to get your numbers up or you get your stats up. Pregnancy centers are there were all about life change and heart change for these clients. So it’s taking your conversations deeper. It’s all about relationships just like when Jesus met the woman at the well, he started a conversation with her, you know and she needed that she needed that affirmation she needed that attention she needed that love. And so I think that pregnancy centers are positioned, are positioned now more than ever to help women who are either vulnerable to be in trafficked or they are being trafficked.

Jacob Barr :

So can you share a story of where you’ve seen, you know, answered prayer or God’s fingerprints and one of these, Yeah, you know, someone who’s being trafficked, being rescued and finding healing or something along those lines.

Jonathan Chavis :

Yeah, absolutely we had a horrific case probably three or four years ago where a young lady, she got out of the jail, we took her to a facility and she got freaked out and ran and she ran, tried to get back to a friend of hers that was in her past, and another trafficker picked her up and was trafficking her in another area. And so we were just really devastated because we knew. The dynamic of abuse and the things that she had already encountered and it was just our prayer desire Lord you know where this girl’s AT and where is she. And our SBI agent, we set up a sting in the Raleigh area which is about 15 minutes from us and we were able to locate one of the traffickers that we knew was associated with that trafficker. And a Long story short, through a series of really divine interventions, we were able to locate where that girl was at we were able to get her out of the hands of the trafficker. And just this last week, I saw her and she’s been through our program, graduated, she’s healthy and whole, has been restored to her family. She’s actually has a young girl. She’s pregnant right now and has a young child on the way and so we’re really excited with her because she has a good healthy relationships now. But for her, she was just the amount of abuse she had to service 14 people a day just to eat food. And for her, she was locked into a concrete room. She had a machete held to her neck. She was pumped full of drugs. I mean, she had encountered just tremendous, tremendous abuse and if it had not been for the Lord and that was her testimony just this week Saturday when we saw her was if it had not been for the Lord and for the Lord starring people like us to reach out to help her, she would probably be dead somewhere and so that was one of the one example that I can see the hand of the war just moving miraculously across the state utilizing I think it was six or seven different agencies, different law enforcement agencies, the SBI to do stings. I remember that night that we were on that sting. We solicited probably 150 people and one of those individuals was a girl who was being trafficked by the same trafficker and that’s what opened the door. If she had not answered that call and came to that hotel room where the sting was done, you know we would have never connected those pieces and so the Lord knows how to do that he knows how to reach people that we can’t reach and he knows how to lead us in places that we don’t know where we’re going. And that’s probably the most remarkable thing you know even just i heard testimony just this week of on our pregnancy center side of how we have had just an untold amount of abortion minded that’s come through our center and how that every single one of those, they’ve been praying diligently. Eight or nine of them just last week every single one of those chose life and some of those they didn’t know they were on the fence and they would get text they got a text like last night that said hey I just wanted to let you know we chose life. And so for us that is just a remarkable thing that we have seen over the last year or two, but it’s been unprecedented the amount of people choosing life in fact this past year it was the first time that we could, we could say according to our statistics that 90 over ninety eight percent % person that walked through our door chose life. And before we hit 9797 and a half, we were never able to hit above that 98 % and just this last year not over it was 98 4 % is what it came up to be and that’s out of 2000 clients, they chose life.

Beverly Weeks :

Can I tell you a positive impact too that I am seeing is that, you know, a lot of these women are in drug addiction. They’ve been trafficked for a large period of time in their lives and they find themselves pregnant. And we recognize, you need to recognize as a pregnancy center that not every woman can parent her child, not every woman can parent her child. And so it has really opened up a door for even some tough conversations as a pregnancy center to say, hey, does your child deserve to be trafficked in a hotel, to be living in tent city, to be living in drug addiction? Would you allow us to bring in a Christian adoption agency to talk with you to discuss what your other options may be or maybe you have questions for an adoption agency? And Jonathan, we have actually seen the impact of some of these women saying recognizing at this stage of life until I can receive healing for myself, I cannot possibly parent a child. And they have actually placed their babies with other Christian families in these Christian adoption agencies. And that I think that has that has been impactful as well.

Jonathan Chavis :

It has. It’s a it’s a beautiful story of life. It’s a beautiful story of seeing, you know, for some of them six seven years old now that we’ve worked with on the human trafficking side, their children are now six seven years old and we’re seeing children that are flourishing, that have a loving home but you know, the beautiful thing is also we’re seeing that the individuals who you know, adopted these children out, that had the children, they’re able to not only hear the stories of their child, but many of them have open adoptions where they’re able to get Christmas cards and birthday cards and visits throughout the year. And I have not seen one of those that said I regretted my decision of having my child. Not one has ever said I wish I’d have aborted my child. They look at those children with tears in their eyes and joy in their heart, knowing that their child is safe. They’re whole. They’re in a home where they’re loved and that’s really the privilege that we have to be able to not only bring life to them but also those that may be pregnant to say hey, you’ve got life inside of you, that they deserve to be. To walk around on this planet and to be loved and to be nourished and to be treasured and in the same way that we’re loving and treasuring you right now. And for many of them, it is a remarkable story of redemption. That even though they may not have that child in their home, it’s that even in the midst of what would have been a horrible situation, or it may be a result of a rape or being trafficked, that they have this beautiful blessing that came in the midst of probably the most darkest hour of their life.

Jacob Barr :

So i’ve got a harder question i’m not sure if they’ll have the answer for it so if you don’t, we can always, like, put it off to a future podcast but when it comes to, like HIPAA and protecting someone’s health information and then using, you know, that counseling visit to bring them in, you know, identifying that they may be having a sex trafficking situation, what is what are the concerns? Yeah.

Beverly Weeks :

That’s why I touched earlier on you have to know your state laws so here in North Carolina we have state Bill one ninety nine which says that an entity is protected from that. You don’t have to worry about HIPAA as far as reporting the human trafficking case that.

Jonathan Chavis :

State Bill So what State Bill one ninety nine addresses is the consent clause that HIPAA requires that in order for us to release their information they have to give consent. So in the in the form of where there’s self harm like for example suicide or there are other things where they can harm someone else then it’s a mandatory report. But also it opens the door for State Bill one ninety nine here in North Carolina that if we suspect that there is human trafficking involved, then I do not have to get the consent of that adult in order to release that information to authorities.

Beverly Weeks :

And what I’m from what I’m understanding there is legislation either in place are being put in place in many states for that for that same purpose to protect those individuals for in human trafficking and to protect you as a provider. So I would encourage you again as a pregnancy center to look up and know what are my laws. Many states have what we call Task Force for Human Trafficking. And so if you have questions about HIPAA, your state bills, that kind of thing, and human trafficking you can research it that way or you can even go back to that Polaris that I was telling you about. And they should be able to give you the information in regards to your state’s policies and procedures as well.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to look at the state law and some states might be the same, but there’s going to be a probably a variety of different laws that each state’s going to have its own situation that needs to be understood. So when it comes to clinics across the country, what services does your group provide like? It sounds like it might provide training as well as like the safe house for someone looking for a essentially for separation from a traffic situation.

Beverly Weeks :

Yep and so we do we have a safe house that operates of course, we have a Ren on staff 24 hours a day or available 24 hours a day we have a case management we have a full case management team. Traffic Admissions also provides education training across the country. Pregnancy centers fly Jonathan and I, Ian, we can train their staff. I know a lot of you are listening and you’re like what is the fees for that. So you know that is a discussion that you have with Jonathan or myself. We try to work and keep our fees very minimal for pregnancy centers most of the time it’s just a gift, a love offering that you are sowing back into our ministry that goes to that safe house to help us operate that safe house but those are some of the services that we provide. We also have a social enterprise which after a human trafficking survivor has completed all the phases of our program, Jonathan has a team that actually operates a social enterprise and we actually provide employment for survivors as well.

Jonathan Chavis :

Yeah and so part of that even the consulting thing when people we often times we’ll have people that’ll fly in and we try to designate at least one day out of the month where we open it up for outside organizations to be able to come in, take a tour of our facility, take a tour of our pregnancy center, see how those work hand in hand. And then we take them down to the safe house as well as to the social enterprises to show the wrap around services that we provide and then how they can get involved, how they can set up something similar in their area. And so that’s part of the dynamic that we try in giving back is opening up our doors and letting and there’s no questions you know that we don’t we open the door and say listen no, there’s no questions you can’t ask we’re very open and transparent from the financial statements to the how we operate to policy and procedures because we recognize in order to see this giant which is really modern day slavery, human trafficking is in order to see this giant slain in our generation it’s going to take everyone in our community involved and in each one of us plays different roles and we recognize that everybody’s going to be a cry of freedom but that’s specifically what God’s called us to do. And but we recognize that there may be a smart part parts that each one of you then play. And we think that the pregnancy centers play a huge role in identifying individuals that are coming in so that I think that’s a very important place of recognition and education and awareness that pregnancy centers need to have. And I think it would be very shocking for most pregnancy centers once they have this information and are able to see it first hand that they recognize, oh wait a second, I thought about this case or I thought about that case i cannot think of not one pregnancy center that’s coming to our facility and after going through trainings did not have at least several cases that they immediately thought of and thought, oh, I wish I’d have known this information prior.

Jacob Barr :

So how might people that are listening join you in one of your main prayer requests or main, you know, cries to God.

Jonathan Chavis :

Yes so I think right now we are looking at expanding our social enterprise and so we have a two point four million dollar. Budget right now that we have to raise in fundraising as well As for building funds and so I think the one of the biggest areas is the provision to come in often times when we are faith-based entities that excludes us from federal government monies. The state has given us some monies for that, but we are having to raise the majority of that money and our social enterprises help raise about a third of our cost for the safe house but the rest of that we’re having to raise financially and so we’re really seeking God for new donors, for new monthly partners that could come of be a part for new businesses that would want to would gravitate towards our mission and want to see people restored and so that’s a huge prayer request that we have and then secondly, I would say just on the case management side, one of the areas that we are longing to see is the ability of our case managers and our volunteers to be able to minister to these individuals that experience trauma without the secondary trauma that comes in play. It’s very hard for us to deal with the type of things that we deal with on a daily basis without the repercussions of all these stories impacting our own lives and our own families. And so there’s just this need of covering our staff and our volunteers and prayer that they can go into the dark places and shine light without the darkness creeping into their own heart and impacting them.

Jacob Barr :

So what’s the relationship look like so after someone has gone, let’s say they’ve gone to the safe house and they’re sorting, you know, they’re experiencing the road to healing. What’s it look like for a for them to connect with Jesus or the OR the church down the road like, what does that look like for someone who’s going through this experience?

Jonathan Chavis :

Yeah so i think at the at the base where we are, we recognize that we are a faith-based entity so when they come on board to the safe house, we’re not, we’re not ashamed of that we’re not, we don’t hide that it’s not a secret that when we love Jesus and that we believe Jesus is the answer and I that the gospel is the message of transformation and healing and salvation. And so we’re very clear with that up front that, hey, we are a Christian organization. We have devotions in the morning and we have a time of connection at night with family, what we call family time, where they’re able to share their struggles and we have a time to just pray with one another, encourage one another, but.

Beverly Weeks :

We do Celebrate Recovery because most of these girls have drug addictions we recognize that many of them, over 90 % of them have drug addictions. We do life skills, job skills that they’re required to get the GED. There’s just so many aspects, So many parts of the program that we facilitate to make sure that young lady before she enters back into society, that we have empowered her with resources and with tools to help her not to return back to the streets or back to that lifestyle.

Jonathan Chavis :

And then ultimately, I think the biggest thing that reflects our values as believers is that again, that authentic care and love is present in every aspect of the program and they experience excellence from the classes to the place that they stay in to the transportation that carries them that all these things are very key in demonstrating who our God is. Not just talking about it, but demonstrating and they’re able to experience that.

Jacob Barr :

Well, that’s good. Well, thank you so much for being on this podcast and for sharing what you do and just. Yeah and hopefully the people who are listening will now, yeah, be better equipped to identify and to ask for help and to look at their state law and understand the framework that they’re working within. So thank.

Beverly Weeks :

You so much You’re so extremely grateful for you, extremely grateful for your time and how you are being on the forefront in the pro-life movement as far as education and support resources and tools for pregnancy centers. Again, I would encourage you all that are listening to go online, look up crawfordemissions.com that’s Crawford emissions with the S on it.com If you’re interested in knowing more about the program, connecting with us, getting a speaker or whatever, you can find a lot of resources there at crawfordemissions.com Jacob again, Jonathan and I, we’re so grateful for your time. This has been a blessing to be with all of you.

Jacob Barr :

And I’m and I really appreciate what you’re doing and in a way that you’re doing it in a way they can support you know prancing clinics across the country so those that are in maybe a rural area that may not have, you know certain supporting ministries nearby, you know this is, this is an opportunity for them to get support and a connection because it’s you know, it’s available remotely and women can be sent there when they need to get away from an abusive relationship or abusive place. And so that’s, yeah, that’s sort of a that’s just a really beautiful connection and I’m glad that we’re able to share this with those who might be able to benefit and use this connection.

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