A lot has happened over this past year, and 2015 will see the Defender Foundation heading to new levels. I have been a bit remiss on updates and thought I would write a little on what has happened in the past year, and things to come.
Last year, The Defender Foundation sent agents to two countries overseas, and to states all over the continental U.S.
In Brazil, we worked with a senior Federal Police officer and authorities over him, coordinating our efforts that resulted in us changing tactics of how we originally thought we would conduct our operations, into a lot more humbling, yet effective method. What happened was a near miracle as we inspired a community church to step forward and work with local resources to save their children, and last I checked, it was growing to other churches and will result in more rescues than if we had just left the team to work full time. We helped affect the rescues of several very young minors while we were there and are grateful to the other organizations involved.
In Cambodia, myself and a few of our agents traveled to Phnom Phen with the head of another agency to meet with local agencies, to include Law Enforcement about how we could best serve and train others. This resulted in a meeting with the Police Chief of Phnom Phen and rather epic plans. Though ultimately, we left the plans in the hand of the other agency to continue, we stand ready to assist if needed and are planning missions with information we have gathered from both Cambodia, and the operation we did the previous year in Thailand.
Now, back to America. America is our homeland and one of the main reasons we focus on it, is that very few organizations rescue here in the states. I have found that a lot say they do, but very few have organized teams to do so, in a safe professional manner. We are proud to state that we are no longer one of the only ones rescuing in America, as we helped start and train two other rescue teams this year that started their training with us, and then grew wings and took flight for their place in the fight on the front lines. This is at the base of our Force Multiplication philosophy and if one day they out rescue all our in house teams combined, then a big win for the victims is the result. As you can see, we are here for the victims, not ourselves.
With our focus this year on rescues in America, our combined teams, investigations, and groups we consulted with resulted in many many rescues. As per our policy, we cannot verify exact numbers as most cases for 2014 rescues are ongoing and as we work with law enforcement, they have already given us parameters of not discussing cases as it can lead to obstruction charges. We have contact info of law enforcement agents for those that need to vet us, and they will verify that we do this, but not case details or numbers, so why in the world would I claim numbers that cannot be verified? But for those that just cannot do without a figure that we cannot verify, we will just say north of 300 former victims were rescued by the afore mentioned teams, or affected rescue by investigations and info passed to law enforcement. And with how things work with Law Enforcement, there was probably a ripple effect that resulted in many more being rescued as threads and trails of the cases worked were investigated further by them without involving us. We are given minimal information if at all, most of the time.
One of the amazing things about all of these rescues, is that most were done in the latter half of the year. It is amazing what God can do, when we put our focus where he wants it.
We had some major staff changes this last year that resulted in a more efficient staffing and volunteer policy. Yes, we are always improving. No one is perfect, much less myself or even the Defender Foundation, but we seek to constantly improve and be an organization that not only is effective in hands on rescue and restoration, but an organization that you can be proud of supporting.
For those that keep up with us, you will see some major changes coming up this year (2015). We will be planting more Defender Foundation Chapters, and more of our Shield Teams across the country. We are using a model of our Counter Criminal Insurgency plan to do so, which engages the community and teams together to reduce Human Trafficking profits by 50% in ten years as the goal. We are also engaging a network of support agencies for Victim Services and…. we are not stopping there.
We believe strongly that we need to provide services for the perpetrators as well. We are an organization of Action. We can spread more awareness all day long, but if I made you aware your house was on fire, unless you actually took action and did something about it, it is going to burn right down to the ground. Folks, our house is on fire. Our friends, neighbors, families are at the heart of this problem, this insatiable demand, and we need to take action.
We are developing and working with a family support group based on the AA method of teaching families how to deal with, and what to do when their family members are victimized, and if they unwittingly helped that happen, how to end their part of the cycle. I speak at different men’s groups and other assemblies about my personal testimony from time to time. It is a brutal one, and it is hard to give, as it tells you I have a victim. It is part of my Be a Man Talk. My testimony is involved as part of being a man is taking responsibility for your actions, and I have even lost partners over me continuing to do so. But God told me I had to break chains of the perpetrators as well.
I believe I can’t just go in and reveal to men how they are part of the problem and not give them workable help to end this, Again, this would be spreading awareness with no action to follow. So we are showing them the way, to not just prayer and counseling over sexual addictions, etc. but to groups like Sexual Addicts Anonymous (SAA) and related programs to help fight this, and treat both potential perpetrators and abusers, and to put them back on the path to being Protectors and Defenders as well.
To God be the glory for all accomplished in 2014. God be with us in 2015, because you haven’t seen anything yet.
Founder, Shield Team Director