In this episode of Through a Therapist’s Eyes, Thomas Martin discusses Human Sex Trafficking and he calls it the biggest crisis we face in our country. Bigger than drugs, the opioid epidemic, mass shootings, etc. It didn’t take him long to convince Chris and Craig.
A full transcript of this podcast follows:
Craig: All right. We are going, Chris.
Chris: We’re going. I heard racecars in the background. What was that? A new skit you got?
Craig: Well, we’re at home. I’ve got my back door open so I can enjoy some chirping of the birds and feel the cool air coming in, but every now and then a motorcycle goes riding by.
Chris: That was one heck of an engine, man. That’s a good intro.
Craig: I may have to close the door before it’s over with.
Chris: All right, man. Welcome to another edition of the best podcast ever, Through a Therapist’s Eyes. I’ve never started out that way. That’s a little arrogant, isn’t it?
Anyway, you are Craig Graves. I am Chris Gazdik, and we invite you to see the world through the lens of a real mental health and substance abuse therapist trying to create emotional growth through the medium of the podcast being aware this is not the delivery of therapy services in any way. Throughatherapistseyes.com is the site where you can get all kinds of cool stuff.
Craig, I’m even blowing around in my head doing a blog, man. I don’t know. Do you think my writing skills can show up there?
Craig: You need to do that. I’ve encouraged you to do that since we started this gig. Yeah, I’ve written some articles, and I’m trying to get back into it. I recently published one on LinkedIn. I think I shared that with you. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read it. But, yeah, you should start a blog, man.
Chris: Hey, you know what; I’ll make an on-air deal with you. You do one, and I’ll do three. How about that?
Craig: Well, you owe me three then.
Chris: All right, man.
Craig: I’ve already done one.
Chris: All right, maybe one for two. We’ll put it that way. This is the human emotional experience. We’re gonna try to figure this thing out together. Through a Therapist’s Eyes has got a book coming out at some point. Keep on point for that. As a matter of fact, we got a cool meeting with Morgan James’ folks Monday next. That’s kind of super exciting. I’m excited about that. And you’re Mr. Coach now, aren’t you?
Craig: I am indeed, yes.
Chris: Contact you through where?
Craig: Right now, I’m working on my website. You can find me on LinkedIn, J Craig Graves. I’m also listed as one of the coaches on unbeatablemind.com. So, you can find me there.
Chris: So, I’m gonna switch this up. And instead of doing a fun fact, I’m gonna do a quick current event. Do you know there is a pandemic going on?
Craig: I heard something about that.
Chris: Did you?
Chris: Yeah? Man, I just caught up with that.
Craig: I always talk about it.
Chris: We’ve been talking about that our last couple of shows. Everybody who is not living under a complete rock understands that is going on. I have observations that I wanna make real quick just kinda for the listening audience to hear an opinion.
Interestingly enough, part of what I’ve done, Craig, over the many years is trying to get in the footsteps of people that are dealing with this. And I’ll tell you what; I wanna let all of the listening audience know we are all exhausted. We are all super anxious. We are all losing our minds, and it’s really stressing people out. I see it all over the place, and almost to a man and a woman people are talking about it.
Listen, we are washing our hands. We are aware of what we’re touching. We’re trying not to touch our face. We’re trying to get this information, trying to research this stuff, so we know what’s going on. Do you know what everybody is kinda experiencing, Craig – just a nip, just a little touch of OCD. OCD – that’s kinda, a little bit, of what people experience.
I listen to people’s problems all day long. My friends tell me all the time, “Oh, man. How do you do this? How do you get into this?” And I’m like – I don’t know. I just do. It’s not my emotion so it doesn’t really wear me out. But let me tell you something, I’m licking the floor a little bit when I’m leaving my office nowadays because I have my own emotion that’s kinda wrapped up into this thing.
And a couple weeks ago, it dawned on me. I’m like – man, wait a minute. Listen. Can you imagine experiencing that all the time? Like that never ends. That’s what people are experiencing with that type of anxiety level like incessantly.
Craig: That’s an interesting way to look at it. Yeah, I never thought about that.
Chris: That’s the current event that we’re kinda running with. So, I wanna throw that out there real quick, but let’s get to it because we got an awesome guest. Craig, I can’t wait until we get back to the microphones. We’re doing this Zoom thing again.
Craig: We are.
Chris: I miss – It’s social distancing. Like I just said, it’s driving me crazy. So, we have a Mr. Tom Martin that is with us.
From his website, Mr. Martin, I see that you have been a supervisory federal agent. He has represented the US Department of Justice in over 50 foreign countries and throughout the United States; received numerous domestic and foreign awards during his service, including two US Department of Justice Special Achievement Awards; been involved in many high profile cases with natural exposure, including many unsolved crimes and cold cases.
After retiring as a federal agent, Mr. Martin formed Investigative Services, Inc., in Newport Beach, California.
We just met with somebody from California recently, Ms. Estelle. Hi, Estelle. Hope you’re still listening. She’s a friend of the show now.
He oversees 22 male and female private investigators who are also former federal agents in the DEA, FBI, IRS, and Secret Service. I think I was talking to him. He said, “All those three letter guys.” Mr. Martin, welcome to Through a Therapist’s Eyes. How did I do?
Thomas: You did great. It’s great to be with you guys. I’m looking forward to it.
Chris: So, what would you say insofar as who is Mr. Tom Martin? Where did he come from? What did I miss about your experience? It just seems crazy involved. I gotta tell you it’s so awesome to have you on.
Thomas: Well, thanks again, Chris. I started out – in college, I took a little bit different route. I studied to be a priest for four years in the seminary in California. I went to New Jersey where my cousin was a priest, and I thought the worst place to decide if you wanna be a priest might be the seminary.
And then very naïvely in those days I didn’t know too much about drugs, but in New Jersey, I got into the drug scene through counseling and being with some of the kids in the parish. I ended up in Harlem teaching there for a while, Patterson High School.
And I had decided at that time maybe my life’s mission might be better if I decided to go into law enforcement, applied to a few agencies, got accepted to the Bureau of Narcotics, which you guys would know and your listeners would know as the DEA now, Drug Enforcement Administration. Spent 12 years there, worked undercover, and traveled the world. Got hurt in ‘81 and started Martin Investigative Services and we’re an overnight success after 40 years.
Chris: Awesome, wow. And thank you for your service is an understatement. You have spent a career working for us in a lot of different ways in the general public. Pretty impressive, man. Really, pretty impressive.
Thomas: Well, thank you. I’ve been a pretty lucky guy.
Chris: Yeah. So, 2018 – I thought it was funny, man. We got a little common thought process. This is Through a Therapist’s Eyes to a certain extent as a platform I’m building. And I see that 2018 was, I guess, your last book, Seeing Life through Private Eyes, Mr. Thomas G. Martin. Pretty cool title I might say.
Thomas: I wish I could take credit for it. One of my guys was sitting in the office one day, and he was doodling. And he actually came up with the title. We even had study groups trying to do it, Secrets from a PI, and all this nonsense. And then he just calmly one day said, “How about Seeing Life through Private Eyes?” And I went – wow. Because that has kind of a dual thought process in it.
Chris: Oh, yeah.
Thomas: And so, yeah, the editors and the publishers they loved it. Of course, I took full credit for it. I didn’t give him any credit. No.
Chris: I think these guys are getting ready to change my title to my book today. They just make it work, doesn’t it – don’t they?
Thomas: I just think it. Let somebody else pick the title. Let somebody else pick the title.
Chris: I have no problem with that either. But I tell you the chapter that stuck out at me was chapter six, and that is entitled, Greed: Love of Money is the Root of All Evil. And I know you’re not wanting to do a bunch of promotion and stuff, but kind of Google your name and all kinds of stuff will come up.
And so, our listening audience understands, we’ll have some show notes that you give out a bunch of free stuff to really help people in some really neat ways. We’ll probably get to that maybe into part two more so.
But the Greed: Love of Money is the Root of All Evil to me is a big factor of what it is that we’re gonna be talking about today. And I think that supersedes through – like you said, the root of all evil – a major part of human behavior. How do you see that?
Thomas: Well, it’s always struck me. I came from a family where my dad was a milkman, and my mom was a waitress. So, we never went hungry, but the thought of having money was nothing that
[00:08:54] my mind or my brother’s mind or my sister’s mind.
Then when I got a little fortunate and gained some clients after the business in ’81 – one of the most unusual things, I have about 10 clients that are billionaires with a B. And I’ve always told people I’ve never met a happy one. And it’s just unbelievable to me that they would have all this money, all these resources, all this advantage, and they’re just miserable.
And I’m not sure, Chris, if it’s because the bar is set so high that they can never be happy? They can never achieve? They can never set a goal and get there?
Thomas: I’m not sure. And then money affects all our cases we do, whether it’s divorces, whether we’re getting an insurance claim. Whatever we do as private investigators around the country centers on money and how somebody
[00:09:55] from another
advantage. So, it’s totally the root in our cases of evil.
Chris: Right. Right. Yeah, so, this is part one. Part two we’re gonna kinda go on a myriad of topics. Let me set up this topic that we’re going on today. And Craig, I noticed a little choppiness on our audio. Are you hearing that? Or is that [inaudible – crosstalk]?
Craig: Yeah, a little bit. Yeah, there’s a little bit there.
Chris: Okay. So, it’s just a little bit of a Zoom lag?
Craig: Yeah, I think that’s what’s going on.
Chris: Listen audience, we’ll get back to the mics at some point. I promise. But I got your attention – you caught the attention in my eyes, honestly, because this is a topic of human trafficking.
And let me go ahead and put a disclaimer to our people. If you got kiddos in the car on this one, it’d be time to probably turn it off because we’re gonna be talking about human trafficking, sex trafficking specifically. And I don’t know exactly where we’re going because I don’t know a lot about this topic. But it is a topic I’ve wanted to cover for quite a while. Mr. – should I call you Mr. Martin or…
Thomas: Tom, please. Tom.
Chris: Tom, okay. Tom, because I have not found anybody that can really speak to this topic. And I think, as we were speaking about it before the show a couple days ago and stuff, it’s something that people don’t talk about. It’s an absolute topic that’s like a taboo reality that is prevalent in our communities. So, probably this show is not appropriate for little kiddos is my disclaimer. So, let’s make sure that we protect our young folks and people.
But we need to talk about human trafficking, and we need to understand what’s going on about it. We need to understand the ins and outs, and I’m gonna be real honest with the audience. I’m going to be learning on this one big time because I’ve seen it in my office. And it’s a hard thing to really even tap into with trauma histories because I find that people don’t wanna talk about it in treatment.
Now, what I have kinda gleaned in sort of anecdotal and information and things that people have talked about is that this is a topic that kinda mostly runs around our youth who become disenchanted, have anxiety/depression issues, maybe ADD, struggling in school, difficult parent/family lives, and they run away.
Now, I’ve worked a lot with runaway issues. I’ve worked a lot with children and disorderly conduct and criminal behavior and this type of thing, even street gangs. I’ve seen a lot of different things come through my practice. And I think what happens is these kids leave their home and have a “rescuer” where otherwise we might call them a pimp, and they help them, particularly girls. But this is a boy thing too, I think. And they help them. They set them up, a place to stay, food, three hots and a cot, hotels, places, houses, whatever.
And the network of using these children and these young adults, 20-22 years old and whatever, is amazing because they will use social media, set up a site when an event’s coming into our fine city of Charlotte. And all of these people that are coming in for say a big sporting event or the Republican Convention that’s coming up in town, and they will have a whole network there moved from whatever city up to here and “service” – a horrible way to way to say it – the public with prostitution and sex activities and this type of thing.
That’s about what I have gleaned. I’m gonna lean a lot on you, Tom, to help us figure out how does this thing work. As I’ve laid out what my understanding is, how does that fit with reality from your experience? I’m very curious to know.
Thomas: Well, I thought it was a great summary. If you define human trafficking as some type of use of force to get one person to do something they may not wanna do, be it something in the work force or sex, then I think that we can move forward with the discussion.
I first saw human trafficking 50 years ago when I was a federal agent when the Medellin Cartel or the Mexican Mafia would have young children, females actually bring dope across the border in their cavities, either in their stomach, in their rectum, in their vagina, whatever. And the trauma on that – can you imagine if you have a condom say of cocaine that you’ve swallowed? Sometimes they swallow 10 or 15 of them.
And that person is in an airplane or they cross the border, and then they have to wait to – the substance is gonna come out of them. And then go back and they do that repeatedly and repeatedly.
So, that was in the 70s. It was very prevalent. That’s how a lot of dope got in the country. Now with the building of Trump’s wall, what we are seeing to fast forward in 2020 is the use of the bad guy so to speak in transporting that dope either through the gulf or through the ocean. And they’re still using people to do that.
And I think that human trafficking – I don’t wanna overstate it. I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I believe it’s probably the No. 1 problem in the United States today.
Thomas: I don’t know if it’s – yeah, the No. 1 problem, even more maybe than drug abuse. And because – the reason…
Chris: Let’s just pause there for a second and then go to the because. I just wanna point out I kinda pride myself in being at this point of my career pretty experienced. I’ve been doing it for 20-25 years. And you saying that scares me in my brain because I just admitted I don’t even know a lot about this. That’s crazy.
Thomas: Well, and I don’t make this statement lightly because there’s one thing I do know a lot about and that’s drug abuse and the effects in the country and how many people are dying. And you know at the stats. I don’t need to go into that.
I have a hard time wrapping my brain around – if I think it’s the No. 1 or let’s say No. 2 or 3 problem in the country, why isn’t anybody talking about it?
Thomas: And here’s the difference. If you take a person from a street point of view – I’m coming from the street and lived my whole life for the last 50 years or so on the street. If you take a person that is using fentanyl or cocaine or heroin, they’re doing that themselves. They’re putting that drug into their body. And at some point in time, they may say, “So, now I’m gonna go to a guy like you. I’m gonna get some treatment or something.” You’re gonna get him into rehab and all that other stuff. You’ve forgot more about that stuff than I know.
But when you take a person and all of a sudden they’re 13 years old they’re
[00:17:25], or they have poverty, or they’re shy, or they’re awkward. And they get this predator to take them to Charlotte where they’re going to have sex with an unknown person. And that happens not once a day, sometimes three or four times and multiple times during a week for a year or a year and a half until that person is just basically worn out spiritually, physically, mentally, academically, and professionally.
Thomas: So, when you think about – I know you’re a [inaudible] of what you do. But if you have a drug abuser versus somebody who’s been in human trafficking, my guess is the human trafficking person is gonna test your mettle pretty well.
Chris: I think you’re right. I think you’re right because we did a show – I think I told you about when we were talking – on compound trauma versus simple trauma. And the idea for the listening audience, go back to whatever – Craig, what is that? Episode four or something? Pull that up and check that out, so we can tell them. I didn’t do my research on that.
But man alive, I’ll tell you – you have a horrible one-time event. I don’t care if you’re abducted, kept in a pit full of bugs, and a week later or a month later you’re found. And you’re retrieved and brought back to your family. And all sorts of things happened during that time. That’s kinda one event that is from beginning to end. And that’s actually fairly easy to deal with in our trauma treatment.
But when you have compound trauma where it’s an event. It has an end. Another week later, another event. It has an end. And another week – and you’re talking about events after events after events on such an intense level. Yeah, you’re totally right, Tom. It absolutely tests the ability to heal and recover.
Thomas: We try in our office – how we get these cases – it’s very rare a private investigator will get a phone – email attachment that’ll say, “I have a child that is 12, 13, 14, 15, and they’re in human trafficking.” To be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve ever got that call. But
[00:19:39] we get 50 to 100 calls a month regarding locating a person, locating a runaway. I haven’t been in touch with my son or daughter – all the different ramifications.
. This’ll be pretty easy. We have our own inhouse computer system. We can find people. But when they’re 18 or under, they’re not in any system. You gotta be street smart, get on the street, and find them.
And then in the early 80s, this was almost 40 years ago finding some kids down in Los Angeles, in Las Vegas, in New York City, Indianapolis, anywhere you wanna pick, that were actually taken in the great summary that you gave of why they’re doing this. They’re doing it because somebody befriended them. And now we have this problem where they’re into sexual activity on a daily basis. And it was pretty surprising to me.
And we fast-forward the video tape the last 40 years, I’m just surprised – in fact, I was shocked. I saw the President actually mention yesterday in a press conference human trafficking. I almost fell off my chair because nobody’s…
Chris: You cut out there pretty good. President Trump mentioned human trafficking?
Thomas: Yes, yesterday he was giving the COVID-19 press conference, and he mentioned human trafficking. And I tried to play it back. I was shocked because it’s something nobody talks about. And from my chair, just from a simple guy who’s got a small private investigator business, and we do lots of cases, I think it’s as big a problem and maybe I could make the case in front of a judge or a jury that it’s the bigger problem than drugs.
I’ve asked the Department of State; I’ve asked the Department of Justice where I have some contacts – how many people do you estimate? Don’t give me a pie in the sky, but give me some evidence
[00:21:44] think the number of kids between 10 and 18 that are involved in human trafficking. And you know what the number is?
Thomas: Two million.
Thomas: Now just let that sink in a little bit. You have two million kids around the country, and I think it’s a small number. We’ve seen it steadily go up on our locates. And we’re pretty good and can find almost anybody, but the amount of kids that we’re finding – just recently, I think I might’ve shared it with you on the pre-show.
We just found a kid with no problem in the Hawaiian Islands. He ran away from home, and he was gone for six months. And he was being marketed and sold to people coming from Asia into the Hawaiian Islands in a homosexual fashion. And you talk about – when you find somebody like that and rescue them from that situation, it’s mindboggling to
I’ve had the privilege of teaching interview and interrogation, and I think I can probably size up people fairly well and knowing who is lying and all this stuff. And I don’t know what to tell them. I don’t know what to say to some of them. It’s just like I’ve never been in this position, and they’re just talking to you in total oblivion. Sorry, that’s a word I use a lot because I think the country’s oblivious to this problem.
Chris: And just to highlight that and I’ll foreshadow to you one of the things on the skipping around on part two that we’re gonna do is your interactions with Charles Manson. So, really, just because it’s something that I think people will be interested in.
But to highlight that for our listening audience – guys, when Mr. Martin here is saying he can interview people. He can deal with people. He can profile people. He’s had experiences literally culturally around the world. I just wanna say that now because in my clinical brain, that just ups the ante in intensity level so much more sort of knowing your experience base and the power of what you just said.
Thomas: I would put it back on somebody of your caliber and your qualifications. I would say, “Teach me” because I’m not smart enough to figure out what to say to these kids.
We try to get them into therapists. This kid that we just had in the Islands, we got him into a therapist on Oahu. The therapist didn’t have a clue. I think the kid came out worse than when he went in. So, we just don’t find the kids and say “okay” and then throw them to the wolves and say, “Okay, good luck and good-bye.” If they’re on drugs too, then you gotta get them –
Thomas: – into some counseling there. Yeah, sure.
Chris: Yeah, there’s a lot there, which we’re probably – I don’t know how much we’re gonna be able to cover but learning what the realities are on the ground from you today, I’m gonna be – like I told you earlier, I’m pulling this in my brain and kinda pushing it out to people that have had pretty significant traumas and exactly that. I can see listening back to this one and doing another show on that.
Because there are things that you do. And, honestly, the first thing that pushes in my brain is really just sitting with that person and letting them know like – you’re not a crazy gross person. You’re a real person, and I accept you. And let’s go get this figured out together so that they’re not alone.
Because if I’m putting myself in the shoes of somebody who’s been homosexually farmed out for the last year or two or three, they have gotta feel like they’re nothing more than an animal and not even human. And they need to know that – no, I accept you, and it’s okay. We can deal with this.
Thomas: Well, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. That’d be great counsel to some of your fellow therapists if they could do that because I’ve asked them. And I wasn’t trying to be critical, but I’ve asked more than one therapist, “When you were going to school, did they teach you how to deal with people that are in human trafficking?” And the answer’s 100% across the board, “No, sir. No, sir.”
And it’s amazing to me. Let’s just stay it’s in the top five problems in this country. You would think somebody would be doing something about it. And you’d think that somebody would say – I think you’re onto something, and hopefully you’ll bring it to more light.
Chris: So, let’s back up a little bit. What are we talking about? Human trafficking – I looked it up and had a basic idea of what trafficking is defined. And you said it earlier here. It’s the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons under threat, force, coercion, fraud, deception, or abuse of power are sexually exploited for the financial goal of another.
So, let me say that again. Right? We’re talking about children oftentimes, literally people under 18, children. And this is young adults. You see people missing persons all the time. We just had one. Craig, do you remember that story that was a 25-year-old woman was abducted and gone for a while? Do you remember that in Charlotte a couple years ago?
Craig: I don’t remember that, no.
Chris: Yeah, it was big around here, just – from the local college. They were just gone. And I shudder to think that this happened, but it’s recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of a person under threat of violence, force, coercion, fraud, deception, or abuse of power that are sexually exploited for the financial gain of another person. That’s what we talking about when we talk about human sex trafficking.
I think you explained how this usually starts, Tom, when you find networks for people doing sex trafficking essentially as a missing person’s case. And then you stumble upon on finding the person or the network and whatnot. Can you kinda whittle it down to brass tacks of how does this really look. How do you really see it? What does it really look like because it’s so mysteriously disguised as something else, I think, a lot of times.
Thomas: I think the simplest
[00:28:06] is to think about
goal. And he’s not making chump change. He’s making serious money. And what we have seen if there’s something typical would be this predator finds a 13- or 14-year-old girl. And one of the common ways is he takes her to a club, and she dances. And after she gets done dancing, the money she collects she gives to the predator.
Then the next day, she may be taken to one of the predator’s clients where she is forced to have sex and these – damn it, I have a hard time saying
[00:28:50]. The additional predators that are having sex with these young people will pay anywhere from $1000 to $5000. So, we’re talking serious money.
So, you’ve taken a kid, homeless, maybe some psychological problems, maybe even some mental illness, and she’s thrust into this sexual activity where the gentleman – again, the predator gentleman – can be making anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 a week.
Thomas: And he doesn’t just have one. He has multiple girls. We didn’t really see the homosexual activity coming in until around 2000-2002 – were 99% females. And then now we saw the tables kinda turn where in our cases – I’m not saying this is prevalent in the United States, just in Martin PI’s cases that we have. It’s about 80/20 now.
So, the definition that you gave is a great one. And that’s right out of the books, and that’s all the good teaching stuff. But on the street, it’s just taking somebody that’s vulnerable, putting them in a position they don’t wanna be in, forcing them to have sex, getting money, and just trashing them over and over and over again until they get to the point where they become useless.
And there’s kids on every corner of every city of every country of every state in the United States that are vulnerable. And it’s like picking an apple from a tree for these guys. And that’s why it’s a little frustrating for guys like myself who see it every day, and nobody’s really doing anything about it.
Chris: Is it so because it is so hard to do something about it? Listening to that, I’m kinda hearing this play out, which by the way sometimes needs to be said – we know with sexual molestations and rape cases and this type of thing, that oftentimes it’s a family friend to the home. Or dare I say even a family member, uncles, and parents. It’s hard to think that a parent would do this with their children. But I can tell you I have heard and talked to people in my therapy office that have had this type of thing happen.
And I don’t know if that’s – we tend to think of human trafficking as like shipped off to Japan or China or coming into Hawaii, but this can happen in the Tri-state area, up in the Michigan area, or down in Iowa – yeah, by the way, the Dust Bowl. Oh, man. I bet it’s in West Virginia. Like you said, I think it’s everywhere.
And it starts just by people that are disenchanted with their major support systems, and they voluntarily leave. And then it’s gotta be so difficult to track because if I’m on the down low, and I fire up a social media outpost in a day or two in Charlotte because there’s a big event going on. And now I just made $50,000 in three days by a simple post. How do you track that is what my question is?
Thomas: Well, the way we track it is we don’t see too much of the family dynamics where a dad will take a daughter or a mother will take a son, whatever that is.
Chris: It’s just unfathomable, isn’t it?
Thomas: Yeah, but it does happen. But as far as human trafficking goes, what these guys will do is they will
[00:32:32] in say Charlotte, but then they’ll move them to Chicago. They’re not gonna stay in that area.
Thomas: They very rarely stay in the area because then the teen doesn’t have contact with their friends or neighbors, all the things that might be able to extricate themselves from the situation. We call it the 1500 rule. It’s usually 1500 miles from the place that they’re raised that they’re taken, and it’s pretty common.
Now, and I don’t wanna label this. But in our assessment of things, the three major hotbeds are Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York. And Las Vegas certainly is coming up a close fourth, and that’s because of all the conventions that are there. So, we see a lot of that, and it’s not so much in the family as it is bad guy gets teenager, vulnerable; have sex; throw them away like yesterday’s condom.
Chris: Wow. That’s tough to stomach, man. I just experienced a little bit of a visceral, like physical, like I want to go after somebody now. I don’t – holy cow.
Thomas: Well, I think you and Craig would both – if you actually sat across, and we don’t have any skills like you guys have in terms of how we talk to
[00:34:04]. We try to rescue them and then get them into a place.
And I think that’s where the rub is. That’s where your talents and your people could come into it. Because I’m gonna be honest with you; I’m not trying to broad brush the people that are in your profession, and maybe they haven’t had a chance. But sometimes we bring these kids – if they’ve got dope problems, that’s one thing.
But if they’ve got human trafficking problem, it’s been really difficult to get them help. And I can’t tell you – we’ve tried to follow up, but I can tell you that we’ve had – I would say over the last 30-40 years, we’ve probably had at least 50 suicides from these kids. That might be a conservative number.
Chris: Say that again.
Thomas: Of all the hundreds and hundreds of cases that we’ve had and we try to follow up on, especially when they’re 13 or 14. And so, once we get them back to their families and once – we can only do so – we can tell the families to get them help, get them in therapy, get them off the drugs, get them off the – they’re not pieces of trash. They’re really good.
And because we sometimes get calls from the parents – thank you for rescuing
. Thank you for rescuing
. I just wanted to let you know that she committed suicide yesterday. And I think we’ve had, as I said about 50, 5-0, times in the last few years. And those are the ones that we know about. Now, I don’t know what the number is. It’s just too much for the people to handle.
Chris: Yeah, and what I’m hearing is about hundreds of cases over the last – what did you say? – a couple few years and 50 suicides. I know those are just sort of off the cuff figures and whatever. Craig, I suck at math, but what percentage is that, man? That’s like what? Like a quarter of people, 30%?
Thomas: Well, just to make sure we’re understanding – and I’m not trying to blow numbers out to you. If we’ve had – just say since year 2000, twenty years, we’ve probably had I would say 500 to 600 cases just in the last 20 years. And I would think all 50 that I said of those suicides have been there. So, you’re looking at 10%.
Chris: Yeah, okay. How much of this is internationally woven? I’m curious. So, I think I do have – and you’ve corrected – you’ve confirmed rather my limit at understanding of how this sort of gets off on a local level off the ground and in function. The 1500-mile rule you said – that’ll stick in my head.
How much of this really operates too on an international level? You start talking about the drug thing, which might not even be sexual trafficking, but it’s still trafficking. How do I even wanna ask this? Local functioning versus international functioning – what is your breakdown of that?
Thomas: It’s almost zero when you take somebody in the United States that is being abused that is involved with human trafficking. They very, very rarely go international. They don’t need to. The appetite and the amount of people that will pay to have sex with these kids is unlimited. It’s just like a grocery store line.
Thomas: Now, internationally, what we do see is the pedophiles and the bad guys who wanna have sex coming from different places, say from Asia, from Europe, from South America. They come to the United States. We see a lot of that.
Chris: Because we had a lovely lady, Ms. Stephanie Fast. Hope you’re still listening, Ms. Fast. She’s a friend of the show too. And I’ve been thinking about her through this conversation. She brought light to the incredible issue worldwide of being an orphan.
So, being orphaned where you’re just left and kicked out of your village or kicked out of your society all told, and you’re just left to fend for yourself. I would imagine there’s a great joining internationally with the orphan problem that exists with the trafficking problem that I would imagine kinda goes hand in hand with that. Does that make sense?
Thomas: It does make sense. In our experience and our experience only, we haven’t seen a lot of orphans. They’re kids that are in foster care, maybe a couple, maybe a handful. The amount of people available – and I hate to make it sound like we’re buying produce or milk.
Chris: I know, right?
Thomas: Yeah. But the amount of young people that are available who are in mainstream America so to speak, these pedophiles and bad guys don’t need to go out into the orphan communities. They’re trying to get somebody that they can mold. And they’re on every street corner in the country.
Chris: Well, you know, when I speak of orphaning, it’s interesting because they’re not in foster homes. That’s part of the problem that Stephanie kinda pointed out. Ms. Fast was like – look, these kids are not cared for. Briefly, her story was such that she was kinda orphaned from her village in South Korea and just left to walk the countryside literally at age five for three years or something. It was just absolutely remarkable.
So, they’re not taken care of. They’re not put in foster homes. They’re left to fend for themselves. So, it might be kinda different flavor because we use the term “orphan” there. Here, we’re using the term “runaway.” I wonder if runaway and orphan kinda operate the same way throughout the world.
Thomas: Well, not that you say it and put it in that way, I think you’re right. I do think a lot of our kids may have been orphans. We just don’t talk to them as – are you an orphan? We talk to them as homeless, or we talk to them on the street. But I do wanna make it – these people do go after the homeless and maybe “orphans” as you were saying, and that’s a good point.
But there’s so many kids that are in local junior high schools and middle schools that are prone to wanna have a friend, to think that the beginning of this is all great, and then it just turns to a big pile of dog doo. And that’s where we find I would say 95%-98% percent of the kids that we talk to are just kids in normal mainstream America as I said.
Chris: So, Craig pointed out that it is episode four where we talked about compound versus simple trauma. Thanks for looking at that, Craig. And, Craig, let me turn it over to you just to kinda get your voice. Once again, you’re kinda quiet over there, man. What are you thinking? What are you hearing? Give us the flavor of what the listener is kinda thinking at this point. What can you ask as far as what we’re talking about?
Craig: Yeah, I’m hearing a lot. It’s a very interesting conversation between the two of you guys. I’ve taken quite a bit of notes here. When I think about human trafficking, I think about kids playing out in the cul-de-sac and some white van pulling up and hauling them away.
But it sounds like these are kids who are vulnerable for whatever reason that are running away or meeting somebody who befriends them and then takes them into this life. So, I think I’ve got a little bit different outlook on how it actually happens.
Tom, I do wanna know if there are – when you said that this is a bigger problem than drugs, I was thinking – really?
Chris: I know, right?
Craig: You hear about the opioid epidemic, and I had a cousin who OD’d in November. We had no idea he was using. He was a great kid.
But when you say two million kids from the ages of 10 to 18, that like – wow, that kinda puts that whole statement that you made into perspective there. So, with that volume, that’s a huge problem. Why isn’t there more talk about this thing, man? Why is it that we – we’re concerned about who’s peeing in which bathrooms when this kinda stuff’s going on.
Chris: Wow, wow.
Craig: And nobody knows about it.
Thomas: Well, that is a great line. I’m gonna use that and take full credit for it.
Craig: Please do.
Thomas: I wanna write that down to make sure I sound a lot smarter than I am. I’ll tell you that.
Chris: Holy cow, that’s so true.
Thomas: I don’t know. I’m sorry for your friend that died, but I’m sure that there was a lot of interaction between family. I’m sure there was a funeral. I’m sure there was people whose emotions were like – oh, could I have done something better? Could I have done something more?
[00:42:44], but when one of these kids is brought back home, there’s no one really crying. There’s really no therapy. There’s really no – anybody upset about it. It’s just another kid who has fallen on the garbage heap of life. And they get no real guidance on what to do, be it spiritually or physically or mentally. And those people grow up to be adults.
Thomas: So, I don’t know. You can deal with the drug issue. You can deal with the drug issue. But I just don’t think there’s enough talent. And I put myself in that pool of lack of talent to deal with the people. I’m really good at finding people and extricating them from the bad guys. But I gotta be honest with you; I need somebody like a Chris to be at my side.
Chris: You know what; I’m gonna be vulnerable and jump in, Craig, and actually try to answer that question. Because I was just thinking, and it hit me. Bottom line, we don’t like to talk about sex. We don’t wanna talk about.
I remember very well, Mr. Shook – man, you remember Mr. Shook, Craig. He was my supervisor. He hired me, and then later on in career, I hired him sort of [inaudible]. It was really kinda of a cool career that I’ve lived with with Jeff, and I’ve learned so much from him as a colleague.
When I was hired by him early on in my career, I’ll never forget. He was giving us an inservice training, and we were sitting there talking. Understand now, we were at a mental health center, and I was doing therapy. I was still pretty green at the time. And he started talking about doing couples counseling, and he started talking about the sexual relationship and how that comes up in a marriage discussion. And I remember very clearly I was like – yo, I ain’t never had a conversation about sex in a therapy session.
And here’s this older guy like talking about sex in an inservice training in my office. Honestly, it freaked me out – creeped me out. It was like it shocked me. And I’ll never forget that as a young therapist.
Now, it’s funny. I’ll sit in a room with two dudes, honestly, in therapy world, and I’ll ask questions about sexuality and what happens for them and normalize the discussion and decrease that anxiety and that angst and weirdness. And now as a therapist, I can get away with talking about all sorts of stuff with people.
But you said that, and it took me back there, Craig, that as a therapist I didn’t wanna go there. I didn’t wanna do it.
Craig: Yeah. Well, I guess I might buy that a little bit. But we do talk a lot about sex in our society and gender and who can be a man and who can be a woman and who can and can’t and stuff like that.
When I think about human trafficking, I don’t think about the physical act of the sex. I’m thinking about some of the things Tom’s saying about these kids who aren’t loved apparently and who don’t feel connected to anything. And that’s why they’re reaching out for somebody to care about them. And it sounds like that’s how they get caught up in this.
Chris: Tom, I’d like to hear your thoughts. I don’t think that we talk about the sexual act – the dancing one night, the next night you’re having sex with a stranger in a hotel – and how those sexual acts really get real.
Thomas: Well, I sometimes put it this way when I reach out for a therapist, be it in Cincinnati or Hawaii or New York. If somebody comes to us and they’ve been on cocaine or drug abuse for a long time, I know the best places in the country to go depending on the drug. I know the Betty Ford’s, and I know the Hazelden’s. And I know where not to put kids in the camps that they try to break them like horses.
Thomas: But now I’ve got a young man who is 14 years old, and for the last six months has had sexual experiences with say 20 or 30 different men. And I don’t have any problem even talking about sex with the kid. Did you have it? What did you go through, da, da, da, da. And I need to know something because now I’ve got to get him help, right?
Chris: Right, right.
Thomas: And then my frustration is where do I take him? I can’t take him to a Hazelden. I can’t take him to a Betty Ford. I can’t take him to some camp somewhere. Where do I take him? If I take him back home to his parents, that’s just a complete nightmare. The kid will never recover. So, I’ve gotta find somebody in the area. And most of the therapists, they love talking about sex. But they don’t like to talk about human trafficking sex.
Thomas: And I’m not so sure that all these great schools that do all this stuff – there’s gotta be somebody who can bring it to the forefront and say, “Here, here’s the program. Here’s what we need to do.”
And maybe that’s what your show today will spurn somebody on or somebody who comes at it from a medical point of view because I’ve been in the game a long time, guys, and I haven’t found anybody who can really sit down with them.
Craig: That’s a great point, Tom. If some therapist – maybe you, Chris, who knows – is listening to this who could fill that gap – man, it sounds like a huge gap, and it needs to be filled. That’s terrible there’s no place for these kids to go to get help.
Chris: We have identified a little bit of a lacking. The answer to some extent are people that are well steeped in trauma therapy. That’s the buzzword. People that are steeped in trauma therapy will be able to kinda do this, but we don’t have a lot of intense-type placements like we have in the rehab facilities. We have inpatient hospital systems, such as the Hazelden’s and whatnot for mental health issues.
But, unfortunately, what that really kinda wraps down to with insurance payments and stuff, it’s for suicidality and rather intense self-harm thoughts, which of course we would have with human trafficking victims and whatnot. But they’re there for two weeks or three weeks, and you kinda go back home as you say. So, it is a bit of a gap, but trauma therapy is the buzzword there.
Thomas: Well, I’m glad you mentioned it. And I wrote down trauma therapy as kind of the word to go forward. But one of the other things that I’ve thought about – and I’ll say this briefly – is that if you have a drug problem, your insurance will probably pay for it. Or the parents’ insurance might pay for it. When you say that that you need to have a kid who’s been in human trafficking, the insurances don’t even bother with it.
Chris: Yeah. I don’t wanna say they don’t bother with it. I wanna say that they need to prove medical necessity for an inpatient stay that involves an inability to function at home. And, unfortunately, if you’ve got somebody who’s really numbed out, they might even be repressing their experiences. And they’re saying, “Hey, I’m not suicidal. I’m fine. Thank god, I got home. Let’s go have a cake.” And so, are they gonna be admitted? Maybe not, unless somebody’s really kinda needling in there and getting at the real information on what happened. I mean you would think –
Thomas: Which maybe –
Chris: – yeah?
Thomas: – well, I was gonna say that might be our problem because maybe we’re not articulating to the parents who are articulating to or speaking to the insurance company that – hey, this is a problem. If it’s related to drugs, you’re in. If it’s just related to sex, you’re not in.
Chris: Yeah, because they’re like – hey, I’m fine. I’m back home. We’re reunited. Craig, go.
Craig: I would argue that if you’re sex trafficked that way that all those bullshit requirements go out the window. Get the person some help, man. That’s got to be trauma for anybody.
Chris: Anybody who’s listening with insurance companies, listen up.
Craig: Tom, I got a couple more questions, man. So, these people who – the clients if you will. It seems to me these days with Tinder and all these crazy apps out there, you can find a willing sex partner pretty easy. So, what’s the draw to abusing these children, man?
Thomas: Well, it’s a great question. And I think you guys probably already know it. It’s not about the sex. It’s about the power. It’s about control. And you can go on Tinder and do a lot of different sites, but it’s very, very difficult to find a 13-year-old boy or a 13-year-old girl.
Chris: [Inaudible – crosstalk] [00:51:24].
Craig: So, that’s what these people want. They just want to control, the power thing, the power dynamic?
Chris: Money too.
Thomas: Yeah. Well, there’s the guy who wants money, and then there’s the actual pedophile who wants to have sex. And I’ve even talked to some of them. And if you offer them a 13-year-old girl or a 13-year-old boy versus a world-class prostitute out of Las Vegas that’s 25 and is drop-deal gorgeous, they won’t even bother with that girl. They want the young victim that’s maybe not in puberty and all that craziness that you’ve heard about. And it’s hard to get your mind around it because…
Chris: It is. Because I’m sitting here. When you said that just now, my immediate reaction was – do people really do that?
Thomas: Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, and that’s…
Chris: The fact is, yes, people. They really do.
Thomas: And it happens every day in every city in every county in every state. And these are some sick, sick people that – even educated peoples like yourselves, you have a hard time getting your head around it. Can you imagine the kid who’s been violated? Can you imagine his parents trying to get around it? Can you imagine some insurance person sitting there going – what? You’re kid did what? How did you let that happen? Oh, now the parents become the problem.
Craig: Yeah, they do.
Chris: Thank you for that because that is a big, big factor, really. Go on, Craig.
Craig: I was gonna ask another question if we’re all kinda moving onto the next topic. And it kinda relates to you, Tom. You said you talked to these people, and they tell you these things. Dude, how do you control yourself? How do you not pulverize these scumbags or worse?
Thomas: Well, I always think of the day when there were more bad guys in the room than we had agents going through. And I got knocked down, hit, and I got kicked really, really hard. And I had a guy down on the ground. There’s another guy coming with a baseball bat. And he was standing over me, and I told him to freeze. And thankfully, he froze.
But then I said, “You know, I was just pop this guy right now and end all this nonsense.” But then it flashed into my head, maybe some of that training that we talked about in the pre-show. And I said to myself, “Do I really as a DEA guy wanna spend the rest of my life in jail?” Not really. So, you don’t pull the trigger.
In those instances where we actually get intelligence information and find a kid in a hotel room, and we kick the door down, or we call the law enforcement and they go out. Yeah, it’s a lot. It’s a lot to not say something to them or walk up and – but my daddy once told me, “You can’t argue with ignorance.” If you try to engage in these people, they’re so off the chart. So, it would
[00:54:22]. Let me tell you that.
Craig: Yeah, and kinda as a followup to that, we’re talking about compound trauma here. It’s got to be a traumatic experience for you and the investigators that work with you. Do you guys have – how do you process all that – seeing these kids that were just abused so severely?
Thomas: I don’t think we’re numb to it. I think we’re more frustrated. We’re more frustrated that – okay, now we’ve done this part of our job. And a lot of PIs in the country will just end it. But I don’t wanna see a kid get out of this situation and commit suicide. I think I kinda failed in that deal. So, that’s why we try to get them some help.
And if you’re a DEA agent, and you’ve been to 60 countries as I have as an agent and another 60 as a PI and you see the scum, vermin, and trash of the world, I don’t wanna say you’re kinda numb to it all. You gotta keep focused, just like you do in a therapy session I would imagine. Just keep focused on what the problem is and trying to get the help.
And, certainly, you go home. And I will say that I’ve had a few sleepless nights with some of the kids that I’ve seen that are – some of these kids aren’t even in puberty yet. Come on.
Since we ask the guy – I mean you just had a sex with a girl, and she has no development. You wouldn’t know what side to give her a backrub on. And this is how sick they are. And this is who they wanna have sex with.
Chris: I think there’s a numbness/compartmentalization that kinda almost professionally has to occur because you compartmentalize. You deal with like – this is my job, and then you have to kinda shake it off. Honestly, one of the things I do when I come home from work is I come in. I greet people. Pet my dogs, whatever. Say hello. And I go upstairs, and I change my clothes. The armor has to come off, and then I’m home. So, does that ring true at all, Tom?
Thomas: I think that’s a good way to put it. I have for many, many years
[00:56:31]. I have something – what we call the FBI, the DEA uniform – the suit, the white shirt and the red tie. And I come home and put on a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt and sit back and try to let it all go.
But I mean I can deal with a guy who committed murder. We’ve had 500 murder cases in our career. I can handle a guy who robs banks. I can handle all kinds of different things. But I’m telling you, it’s really hard when you see a 13- or 14-year-old who’s been abused for a couple years and probably had more sex than I’ve had in 60 years. It’s like – whoa.
Chris: I don’t wanna talk about it.
Chris: Right? Back to that. I don’t wanna talk about this.
Thomas: That’s why I think it’s so great that you are talking about it. I don’t know why the people in the country don’t have a greater sense of awareness of it because it’s out there. You talk to any cops. They’ll tell you.
Chris: Yeah. So, let’s go there a little bit because part of what I wanted to do is gain an understanding as well, right? So, how mainstream is this? We’ve got this idea – how big are the dramatic rings of people versus the smaller people? I think we have a little bit of an idea about that. What do we do?
I have a person in my personal life that has helped me understand that in the National Guard, for instance, there is an element in each unit that is responsible to train the unit to identify sex trafficking. So, have you ever heard of anything like this, Tom?
Thomas: I have not.
Chris: Interesting. Yeah. So, that’s what I’m told, but the training is just like somebody in the unit feels like – and I’m speaking out of ignorance a little bit here, please, listening audience. But what I understand is someone in the unit is just kinda picked, and then the unit is kinda taught and trained to identify sex trafficking and kinda what it looks like and whatnot. And I was gonna ask you how effective a lot of that stuff is. But it sounds like you haven’t really even kinda heard about that.
Thomas: Well, I’ve talked to the police in my day or agents that get involved in these cases. And I don’t wanna belittle the training. I think it’s very important. But when you kick a door down or you’re in the law enforcement community and you find a 45-year-old man with a 13-year-old girl, I don’t think you have to have much training to figure that out.
Thomas: The real question is – is where I think therapists can really help out here – is what training are the law enforcement people getting to date in 2020 to help that victim that they just found. So, do they just say, “Okay, come on. Call up the parents.”
And sometimes you call the parents – you guys will die on this one. You call up the parents. You say, “Can you bring them over? I’m busy, I gotta go golfing.” You go, are you kidding me? I just found your kid. Or the women will say, “Okay, well, thanks for doing that. Can you bring her back tomorrow? I’m gonna be – I have a…”
Chris: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You have had an experience where on a missing person case you have found a child, found a 20-year-old, a 17-year-old, whatever, and notified the family and been put off?
Thomas: Multiple times. And I’ve even written about it in blogs and in my books where they will call up, and it’s like you’re bothering them. And I’ve have women say, I’ve got a shopping appointment. I’m gonna be at Nordstrom’s for the next couple days or next couple hours, and bring them back. They don’t care.
Now, this doesn’t happen too often in the cases we’re talking about in the human sex trafficking. These are like runaway kids who are [inaudible – crosstalk] [01:00:10].
Chris: Right, right.
Thomas: And so, most of the kids who are in sex trafficking, they’ve been gone for six months, nine months.
Chris: And what my brain does with that though – let’s think about it. As weird as that was and as immediately shocked as I am to hear that, I’m also pulling back a little bit.
You gotta understand the parent’s perspective here. All right little Johnny has been in trouble with pot. He didn’t give a rip about school. He’s literally punched his dad. We had to take the dad to the hospital with a broken nose. And little Johnny’s a 15-year-old kid. He was just absolutely unmanageable, and he decided to leave the home. And he’s been gone. I don’t know where he’s been. I’ve tried to contact him. I don’t really know. He doesn’t answer his cellphone. So, great, you got this guy. Well, okay, he needs to say he’s sorry to his dad.
Thomas: Well, you’d be shocked. I don’t know how to put it any other way. There is tremendous tension when we find these kids and bring them home. And what we say to the parents who call us, we go – don’t worry about us finding them. We’re gonna find your child. There’s lots of great methods out there that a lot of PIs are very good about. What are you gonna do with them after we find them?
Chris: Wow, yeah.
Thomas: If they have an anger problem, where do we put them? And, of course, the parents want them up in some camp up in Alaska where they freeze their buns off, and it’s completely useless.
Chris: I know what you speak of.
[01:01:40] an uncommon occurrence. I didn’t throw it out there to be off the wall. But I can tell you so many times, dozens of times parents will just say, “Well, I’ll get back to you tomorrow. I’m busy right now.” They don’t care.
Chris: What kind of prevention efforts do we have, actually? I’m aware of the time. We need to start taxiing it in, Craig. So, let me kinda make sure you got any –
Craig: Let me ask you a question real quick on that.
Chris: – yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s what I was saying, yeah.
Craig: Tom, I assumed that maybe these kids were – and probably incorrectly stereotyping – maybe lower income. But you’re talking about parents who were playing golf and hanging out in Nordstrom’s. What income levels are these kids? Does it span the lower, middle, higher income kids?
Thomas: Well, we’ve done thousands of locate cases. So, I would say it’s a good question, but it’s easily answered in the fact that we have kids that have billionaire parents. And we have kids that are barely putting food on the table.
Chris: Wow, right.
Thomas: It’s our…
Chris: Remember, it’s a pissed-off kid who’s frustrated with their mommy and daddy because they didn’t get the right car for them. And they go off, and they say, “I’m outta here.” And then the world gets real, and they’re on the street, and they don’t really have a place. And somebody says, “Hey, I’ll buy you a car. Here’s a car.”
Thomas: And that happens every day every hour in the trade.
Craig: I get that piece. But if that happened and you called and said, “Hey, I found your kid,” I’d be like – thank god, get him or her here now. And I would be loving on that kid. I wouldn’t be playing golf or hanging out at Nordstrom’s.
Thomas: Well, I’ll give you another example of how it is. People will call us up and say, “Hey, I have a missing person’s case I’d like you to work.” Johnny ran away, or Mary ran away. And I say, “Okay, are you the mom or the dad?” And they go, “No, I’m the aunt.” And my first question is, “Where’s the parents. Why are you hiring us?” “Well, they’re too busy.” Well, that’s all you need to know.
Thomas: What chance does this kid – these kids, a lot of them that we find are not saints. Trust me.
Thomas: And through some of their own fault and some of the faults of their parents and a whole lot of other factors. But at the end of the day, you kinda sit back and say – I often say to the kids, “Man, I feel your pain. I know how you got here because I just talked to your mom and dad, and they are wack jobs.”
Chris: And you know what, incidentally, going back to something, Tom, you talked about before. You do something like that and then boom, you’ve got that kid’s attention. And you’ve got the rapport, and you can then move in to really help them there. That’s awesome that you said that.
Thomas: Oh, yeah. They’ll say to me, “You’re the first person that knew my mom was crazy.” Well, I didn’t say she was crazy. I just said she was a little off the wall. But it’s an interesting time. And once you make that connection with the kid, as you do, I’m sure, in your therapy sessions and stuff, then they’ll listen to you because then they think you got it. Once they identify the street smarts of a person because they’re street smart…
Chris: You go clinical with them, you lose them.
Thomas: I think you’re right.
Chris: You do.
Thomas: I think you’re right. We try to stay away from – one, because we don’t have the talent nor the expertise or the education. But we try to stay out on a street level with them because that’s what we do know. And that’s the only thing that’s gonna save them.
Chris: It’s what they have learned. It’s what they know. In social work, particularly, we’ve got an awesome notion that says, “You start where the client is.” You go where they are on their level at their pace.
I’ve got some trauma rules that I think I’ve shared somewhere in the show. And then whenever trauma comes up, I list them. Things such as – you know what? We can talk about as much as you want or as little as you want. You control the pace. You’re in charge here. I am not. You can’t say anything that shocks me. I’ve heard it all. There’s three, four, five, six things that I will institute whenever I identify trauma, but you’ve gotta – you’ve gotta just get on their level with them.
Otherwise, they are gonna be like – yo, you’re some geeky weird girl in this therapy office, and I don’t talk to you. But when you crack that joke, it just took me back to your question – what do you do? Once you do that – you’re mom’s a little bit cracked. I get why what’s up. Now, you’re in.
Thomas: Right. And it’s very helpful then because they wanna believe that what advice you’re gonna give them next – they’re more open-minded to it. And especially when we tell them, “No, we don’t believe in your parents sending to these schools that break Shetland ponies down or the mustangs. No, no. You’re not going there.”
Chris: You really don’t like the wilderness programs, do you?
Thomas: Oh my gosh. I’m sorry to all the wilderness programs, but I’ve never – all they do, those kids – and I’ve seen them. And I made a lot of mistakes because I sent a lot of kids there.
Chris: So, just so know, in my mind for what it’s worth, and this is just an opinion. Somebody’s gonna email me and hate mail me on this. But it’s all right.
Thomas: Sorry, sorry.
Chris: I can take it. I’m thick-skinned with it. They’re more effective with younger kids. The older the kid gets, the less effective they are. So, you’re doing that with a 9-, 10-, 11-year-old or whatever, kinda those kids that are into Cub Scouts and whatnot. Then, they’re very much more effective. But when you’ve got this pissed off 15- or 16-year-old kid and you send them to a wilderness program, they’re there to fight, and it’s a mess.
Thomas: Well, let me just make one thing clear if I didn’t on the wilderness programs. Where I think some wilderness programs are better than others and become effective is when they take the kid who has a drug problem or a sexual problem or has been through this human trafficking problem, and they address that issue first.
If you have somebody who’s on cocaine or methamphetamine, Adderall, as you well know, you can have all the wilderness training you want. It’s not gonna work.
Thomas: Yeah, the recovery. And I don’t see a lot of – oh, we have a doctor on staff. No, you don’t. No, you don’t. No, you don’t.
Chris: It bothers me because we had this great divide in our – and I’ve picked on it, Craig. You picked up on me saying this, man. You can’t have mental health professionals that say, “Oh, yeah, I don’t deal with that substance abuse stuff.” Then we have the substance abuse people say, “Oh, yeah, I don’t deal with that mental health stuff.”
It drives me nuts, Tom, that we have this great divide. I have in North Carolina a substance abuse certification and licensure board, and I have a mental health discipline, counseling, or psychology, or whatever – a mental health licensing board. Why are we…? It is nuts. But anyway, sorry for that sound off.
Thomas: I think it great for your listeners to understand that there is a kind of great divide. There’s two things that you have to do, which you just aptly said about. And if you don’t have the knowledge of doing the first one before you try the second one, the whole thing is gonna go to hell and a handbasket.
Chris: I call it a great blind spot. So, what do we have for prevention? And we need to start taxiing in. What do we have for prevention out there for human sex trafficking? Anything?
Thomas: I wish I had an answer for that. All I can see from my law enforcement days is would putting some of these people in jail be the answer? I don’t know. I think they’re gonna keep on keeping on as they would say.
I just think we have to have a little more awareness of parents, which is sobering and easy to say. I’ve had parents that don’t know where their kids are at, and they’re shocked after six months that they’re in this predicament. So, I don’t know. I think that’s more a medical situation than
Chris: Another big blind issue, yeah. All right. We have gone over a little long on part one here. I think we need to taxi out. And I think we need a little bit of repairing.
We’re gonna talk about part two, a Charles Manson thing, just to get people interested. That should be fun. We got a lot of topics we’ll kind of go over.
But, Craig, this guy, was knocking before our mics came on. He was knocking, I think, a little bit on my West Virginia pride. So, you gonna go ahead and tell them this stupid joke that you’ve got for like the tenth time we’ve heard on this show. What you got, man. Tell us, Craig. I told you I’d queue you up.
Craig: You know what, I was gonna let you slide. I was gonna let you slide. Chris loves this joke, Tom. I tell it to everybody about West Virginia. But how do we know that the toothbrush was created in West Virginia?
Chris: Oh, here we go.
Thomas: Oh, I don’t wanna say the one tooth thing, but go ahead.
Craig: Otherwise, it’d be the teeth-brush.
Thomas: Oh, no. Oh my gosh.
Chris: All right. Usually, we do a high five. You’ll understand that next time when we go out here. But we’re kinda running over, Craig. Let’s get us out of here. And we’ll fire up again with Mr. Tom Martin if you’re still willing to hang out with us crazy people?
Thomas: Oh, yeah. It’s fun. I’m learning. I’m gonna take all this and pretend I actually thought it up myself.
Chris: Gotcha. Take us out of here, Craig.
Craig: You can find out more about our show on throughatherapistseyes.com. We have individual entries for each show. You can listen right there or find us on any podcast platform. And I think that’s it, Chris.
Chris: All right, man. We’re gonna see you guys next week. Stay safe out there. Appreciate you sharing this with a friend. Hit the little button, and share an episode. We’re wanting to grow this year. Take care, and we hope to see you next week.