The Amanda Quick Show

A Stand Against Human Trafficking with Amanda Quick

January 06, 2024 Amanda Quick
The Amanda Quick Show
A Stand Against Human Trafficking with Amanda Quick
The Amanda Quick Show
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My ex-husband's arrest for attempted human trafficking was a moment that shattered my world and reshaped my mission. As I commemorate the first anniversary of my book launch during Human Trafficking Awareness Month on this podcast, I invite you to join me, Amanda Quick, in a raw and revealing conversation. We strip away the stereotypes and expose the insidious reality of human trafficking that infiltrates our everyday lives. With each chapter, I confront the pain of my past and transform it into a beacon of awareness, illustrating the immense power of personal tragedy to catalyze positive change.

We navigate the emotional labyrinth of facing a loved one's darkest secrets and the societal instinct to look away from the harsh truths that surround us. I open up about the influence of "The Sound of Freedom" and its role in awakening others to the gravity of human trafficking, despite the numbness it left me feeling. Then, I emphasize the urgency of addressing this global scourge, underscoring the need for empathy, support for survivors, and collective action. This episode is a heartfelt call to arms, urging us not to turn a blind eye, but to stand in solidarity and foster hope for a world free of exploitation.

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Speaker 1:

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Amanda Quick Show. I'm your host, amanda Quick, today's episode. I want to talk about something close to my heart. We are in January of 2024. It is January 6th, 2024 and I am four days out from one year from launching my book. And when I was preparing to launch my book, when I was talking to my editor and publisher about timing and all of that, we realized that nationally, january is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and so we made the decision to publish and launch the book in January of 2023, recognizing that part of the goal, one of the goals, one of the goals in launching my book is to spread awareness, is to spread awareness about this issue, about the fact that this is happening all over the world, right in our backyards, and so we chose to launch it to help that awareness and to continue to build the conversation every year in January, and that's exactly what I want to do today. I want to use this platform for today to talk about human trafficking, to talk about what that means, because I certainly didn't know what it meant when I first was introduced, after my ex-husband was arrested. I remember the first time I heard the term now at least in relevance to me when I first heard the term before. In Hollywood, in newspaper articles and things like that, you know, you're almost given this vision of a different type of horror. You're given this vision of shipping containers, you're given this vision of kids being taken and stolen and sold across borders. And that is one version of it. It is absolutely a version of it and it does happen today all over the world. But it's not the only version of it that happens. And so when I first heard the person on the other end of the phone at the jail tell me that my husband at the time had been arrested for attempted human trafficking, that's where my mind went. My mind went to this vision of shipping containers and selling people across borders. And the reality is that's not the only type of human trafficking. Human trafficking is simply the purchasing and selling of people, in whatever form that looks like. The legal definition of it is much more nuanced. And so when he was caught in a sting operation, he wasn't moving people across borders, he wasn't selling them in that facet. He was asking to purchase time, time for his own needs, his own desires, and time with minors as property, and that in itself constitutes human trafficking, and that version of human trafficking happens every single day in every single town, in every single city in this world. And that is a really hard reality, especially as somebody who is a mother, who has children, who wants to think about the positives of the world and wants to think of the best for humanity. That is a really hard reality, but it is the reality. And if we spend all of our time sitting in rose-colored glasses and love and light and hoping that everything is just gonna turn out always for the best, I believe at least that we miss some of those hard realities and we don't see the things that are right in front of our faces. And that's exactly what I did. It's exactly what I did for years, even after my ex-husband was arrested. I chose not to look at the actual reality of what was happening in my life and in my own house, and I think that a lot of times we do this for our own survival. We how can we possibly exist in the world where these atrocities happen every day? Except they do? And if we don't talk about them, then the people doing those things continue to get away with it. The reality is because we don't wanna talk about it and we don't wanna see it. It gives them a pass, and that's even worse. That's even worse, at least from my perspective, that we've been giving them a pass because we don't wanna talk about it and we don't wanna see it Because if we see it, then we have to admit that it's been happening right under our noses this whole damn time. And if we wanna, and if we don't wanna look at that, then they'll just continue to operate and just count on nobody looking. And to me that's worse. To me, it's far worse for people to continue to get away with these things and for us to not see them then to talk about them, at least from my perspective. And so part of my goal in writing my book was to talk about the other types of human trafficking. I got a review on Amazon once and I actually haven't looked in a long time, but one of the reviews said he wasn't a trafficker and I kept waiting for you to talk about the trafficking and criticizing the title of my book. And I will be completely honest yes, I intentionally chose a shocking title. Intentionally, yes, because I wanted this conversation to happen. I wanted people to talk about it, I wanted people to realize that it's more than just a Hollywood version and, at the same time, from a legal definition, yes, he did purchase people for his purposes and he took ownership of those people for a period of time, which constitutes human trafficking. Whether or not you participated in selling or moving them still constitutes human trafficking, and so I think it's important that we recognize it looks more than just how it's depicted in movies and at the same time, it also happens how it's depicted in movies. Both are true, and Human Trafficking Awareness Month, for me, is two-folded. Now it's this awareness conversation. It's empowering ourselves with, first of all, what is happening, how we can protect ourselves and our children and how we can take action in a different way. And it's also now somewhat of a celebration, because it's the month that I launched my first book, became a bestselling author and used my story, my horrific story, the worst trauma of my life to help empower and change other people's lives, and I think that we can use big moments in time for both purposes, and that's, in some ways, the beauty of this experience is that things can be horrible on one end and wonderful on the other, and they can happen at the same time. We can celebrate our accomplishments, all while the world is still suffering. Both are true, and it doesn't make celebrations less potent and it doesn't make what's happening in the world less horrific, but it does mean we have to have both conversations. We have to realize that things are happening right under our noses. Every single town has some type of human trafficking, has some type of sex trafficking, has some type of children being sold into slavery for sexual purposes. That happens every day in every town. It happens right under our noses and it may be happening to people you know and by people you know I had no idea, none, no flipping clue that it was happening from by people in my own house and people say how could you possibly have not known? Well, there's this thing called cognitive dissonance, and cognitive dissonance means if something is so far outside of the realm of your understanding, if what you know to be true about yourself, about the people around you, about the world. I know that the sky is blue and the ocean is blue and the trees grow vertically up in the air, and you know these are the foundations of my reality, for instance, and at the time I had a husband and three kids and he worked and I stayed home and the foundations of my reality were based upon my identity and the identity of those around me, and those foundations of my reality constituted a picture in my mind of who I was, who he was, who the people around me were, what my life purpose was, what the point of it all was, and at the time it largely constituted motherhood raising very young children. It constituted my identity of what type of mother I was and it built this version of reality for myself. And when something entered that reality that was so far outside of my identity and the people around me's identity, it's almost like it does not compute. We're speaking different languages and this new information, this arrest for human trafficking, was so far outside of the realm of possibility that it didn't even make sense. Everything that I knew to be true about my life couldn't pop. They don't equal, they don't match, and even as the police are having all this evidence and the other reality is, families aren't actually given police reports. We don't get to see the details. That wasn't something I discovered until about three years after his arrest and I actually had to go to the district attorney and ask to unseal those files, because they are usually sealed from the public's eye until after the case is closed and then a bunch of information has to be redacted and so I didn't get all of the details. All I had was what was in the papers. I had what they were willing to tell me. I did have the list of evidence they took from his van, but that's it. That's all I had. And then I had his side of the story and I had his side of the story and what he said and what happens with cognitive dissonance is his side of the story matched the person that I knew and the reality that I knew to be true more than what everybody else was telling me. And because nobody wants to believe that they're so far outside of reality, I accepted his version first Because that honestly made more sense, even though his story is a bunch of bullshit. It made more sense at the time because of everything that I knew to be true. At the time I could not face me being so incredibly wrong and so far outside of the realm of reality. I could not face that. Then it took me years and it took more information, irrefutable information that finally shook that and finally meant that this world, this rose-colored world I was living in, was no longer the closest to truth and that this other world that I had been avoiding looking at was more accurate. But that takes a long period of time. For me it took a good two and a half years, which seems crazy. But that's what happens in the world today, with so many people with their blinders on about the truth of what's happening every single day in every single town and every single city in the world, as nobody wants to think that that's the reality of the world. Nobody wants to think that their neighbor or their coworker or their family member could be participating in such things. Nope, nobody wants to think that, and so it's no, that's not happening to me. That only happens in foreign countries, that only happens in other places, and so we put this, this blinder on, to not see those things. That's cognitive dissonance, and when we do that, we reject anything that might question that. We reject it as false, fake news. But it just doesn't work like that. You know, the sound of freedom came out about six months ago, I think now, and when it came out, it's for those who may not know it was actually filmed over five years ago. It took a very long time for any studio to pick it up. They had a very hard time getting it in theaters, anything of the sorts and the movie itself follows a story from one of the federal agents who started some of the work towards putting an end to human trafficking in foreign countries and the story is depicted in Honduras and in some other countries. And I had so many people message me about this movie. You have to go see it, you have to go, you have to go see it, and so we did. I was playing here in the local theaters and I went to go see it and the people in the theater I could feel their emotional reaction to this movie because in the movie this pair of children, this young daughter and son of this single dad, was taken and sold in a variety of ways and you know it's his search for his kids, it's the federal agent search for these kids and his kind of getting in the inside of this trafficking ring and how he can unravel it from the inside out and his new understanding of how big this industry actually is. And I'm watching this movie and there's huge emotional pieces and the entire theater is reacting and the moments and, oh my goodness, you can even hear tears in times from some of the audience members and I had no emotional reaction. No emotional response because it wasn't new information for me and, at this point, for better or worse numb to this information, I know this exists in the world, I lived it, I lived it in my own household, and I don't want to be numb, in a sense that I don't want to not have the importance behind it. But I also can't live in a place of constant emotional ups and downs. I can't live like that either, and so I've become, in a sense, numb to it, in that I already know that that's happening and seeing it on the big screen. I'm incredibly grateful that that was finally able to actually be in theaters and people could see it, because it holds a different sort of potency for people to recognize that this is a true story, this isn't Hollywoodized, and that these things are happening constantly and that this particular federal agent has made it his life's work to spread awareness and to continue to support all of this throughout the world. And the other reality of, even in the movie, having the US government stop their support because it wasn't their country, when it is in fact happening in this country every single day. And the other thing that the movie brought to me was seeing the actors and depicting those people, purchasing those children and their flippancy about it, and realizing and reminding myself that I was married to one of them. No, not exactly in that capacity and no, he wasn't the drugs and party version of it, but he didn't see anything wrong with what he was doing and he, if anything, convinced himself he was helping them because he was paying them and whether they were adults or children, men or women, because I truly don't have all of the details of every person. I don't have that background and people want all of the details of every escapadee I ever had, and that's not information I have. I know what he admitted to me, which isn't much. I know that the numbers changed every time anybody else talked to him. They always got bigger and more. Everybody was always new versions of people that would be admitted to. But I never got specifics, I never got ages, I never really even got a quantifiable amount. I never. I have suspicions, yes, of course, but I don't know any. I don't have any hard facts. I don't. I don't actually know how deep his involvement went. All I know is that force. All I know for certain is that when, in this thing operation. He was offered two children. He said yes and he wanted both of them. I know that much. I know that he wanted both of them, I know he wanted to record it and I know he knew all of the information in lingo and had clearly done this many times. That's all I know for sure, because at this point I don't believe anything that has come out of it, that had come out of his mouth, and I haven't spoken to the man in over and almost four years now, and I have no desire to, and so I don't have hard information. But I do know what I believe to be true and I do know what is being shown in the world to be true, and I do, and I am somebody who's lived through the shift from that can't possibly be true to it is true and more is true. And so I definitely have that amount of information and I definitely know that far more is happening in the world than we'll ever actually admit to. And sitting there and realizing I was married to one of them and that I too had blinders on, I too couldn't see the truth. I too excused those behaviors. I didn't see anything wrong before with over sexualizing people. In fact, I was one of those teenagers. I didn't. I didn't see how bad it can get. I didn't understand what happens when people are objectified in that way. I didn't have that information and now I do. And sitting in the theater and realizing I was married to one of those men was a surreal moment for me, especially as the entire audience was having that emotional reaction and I remember thinking. My one complaint about the movie is that the primary conversation was depicted about things happening in foreign countries and they didn't spend any time talking about what's actually happening in the US, except at the very end and some of the text. Because all of that happens right under our flipping noses, right here on in our towns, in our cities, and it happens every day. And the reason that these federal agents are going doing these things, like my ex husband was caught in, was because it's happening and they're trying to figure out how to get everybody off the streets that it's happening. First, get the victims help, and if there are less buyers, then there is less of a demand for this industry. And I also believe that there are some people out there who think that they can rehabilitate these people and that there's the sex. The sex offender treatment programs all over the world are really focused on rehabilitation and they believe that these are low risk offenders, re offenders. That's a whole controversy in itself, because for anybody to change, they have to want to, and I don't know that any of these people actually want to. They don't want to get caught again. They don't want to go to jail no, of course not. They want their families and they want to live their lives. But do they actually want to change? Do they want to face why they chose these things in the first place? I don't know. I don't know that they do, but that's not my. It's obviously not my call either, but I think it's really important that we recognize that, even when they are arrested and taken off the streets, our US government, the vast majority of the states in the United, here in the United States, are actually very lenient on these, on these offenders. My ex husband was caught trying to purchase two children for his purposes and he received a plea agreement with only probation, not even jail time. And there's so many, so many. Just what? How many people are in jail for marijuana selling or anything anything smaller, even nonviolent crimes? How many people are in jail for years for those things, and somebody trying to purchase children probation Because their only goal was actually to get him in sex offender treatment. That was actually their goal. There's obviously a lot of feelings about that, but it just highlights to me why this is such a problem here in the US too, because we don't even there's not even any, hardly any consequences. You know, there's a lot of media noise about all of the data being released from the Epstein cases and there's a whole lot of conspiracy theories around all of that, and I'm not gonna have an opinion one way or another on that because, truthfully, none of it would surprise me. And I also don't wanna give any attention and energy to the fear mongering either, because I think nobody knows the truth yet. I don't think any of the truth has actually been shared, and so I don't want to sensationalize anything. But I also want people to stay aware and I want people to realize this is happening and it happens every day in so many ways. You know, something I haven't talked very much about in any of my platforms, and only briefly mentioned even in my book, is my own teenage years. You know, I was the 14, 15 year old who thought I was all grown up and I can make all my decisions and I was gonna. I don't even actually know what I thought, but at 14, 15, I thought I was, I knew everything and I also received a ton of attention from older men. You know, at 14, 15, I would be on the city bus and there would be 30 year olds cat calling and trying to talk to me and that was normal. It was like a normal day. You know, men twice my age giving me attention and wanting to buy me things and wanting to take me out, wanting to buy me alcohol, wanting to buy me drugs, wanting to party, and at 14, 15, I liked that attention. I didn't see it as bad, I saw it as attention. I didn't understand what was going on. You know, obviously I knew what sex was and I participated because I liked the attention and I didn't know what it all could potentially lead to. I didn't. That wouldn't happen to me. I'm not that stupid, right? That's the conversation I'm having with myself, but it's also not the reality. And I came herringly close multiple times to being sold and it's not a conversation that I've really had in on a public forum, but I did come herringly close. There were a couple of times where people I was seeing would want to invite other people and I would later find out that there was a transaction involved and I somehow escaped all of that and I somehow got out away from all of that and then I married into it, and so this is a very personal conversation for me. This is a very you know. There's a part of me that very much needs to be involved in this conversation, this change, whether I'm involved from a victim standpoint, whether I'm involved from a outsider's looking in. My own children were being sexually groomed by their father, who participated in purchasing people. Now we could, you know, build a story around what his end goals were, but I'm not gonna do that, because I don't even think that he was consciously aware of everything he was doing. I don't. I think that so many people are so completely traumatized and broken and refuse to see their own shadows that they don't even know what they're doing half the time. But that's not to give him any excuses either, because I certainly can't do that. But I feel like this conversation needs to be had in more places, on more platforms, with more people, to start to actually say this is happening. And if we keep refusing to talk about it, it will continue. You know, one of the things that I feel like is such a big piece for me, and why I'm here on this planet, in a sense, is to bring light, awareness, understanding to these dark, horrific conversations, to talk about them, to not sweep them under the rug, hide them in the closets. No, we don't say those things, we don't talk about them. We have to talk about them. We have to say this happened to me, this happened around me, this is what's going on. And the more people willing to have those hard conversations, the more people willing to say I refuse to look at it, and now I did, and it's right here the more we at the rest of the world can stop ignoring it. Because it took me two and a half years to realize it was happening and I was living with the man. Imagine if you're not that close to it. It's going to take a lot longer to realize. This is, in fact, our reality, and I think this is so, so, so important that we stop pretending it's not real, we stop pretending that the world is beautiful and shiny and everybody is doing the best for everyone, because there are people where that is true. Yes, of course, there are many beautiful people trying to support the world and there are many people who are so buried in trauma and brokenness that they have become the abusers and the predators and they do not see what they're doing is wrong and that needs to be talked about. All right, guys. I think that's all for today. Human trafficking awareness month is the entire month of January. It is a conversation that we all should be having. It is happening in every single city, town, every single country in the world, right under our noses. It's time to have this conversation. It's time to come up with solutions, support for victims, support for families. It's time to change. I love you all, lots of love.

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