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Alan Smyth

By September 1, 2021No Comments

Episode 51

Alan Smyth

Executive Director of Saving Innocence & Anti-Trafficking Advocate

Saving Innocence was founded in 2010 with a mission to help serve, empower, and advocate for child victims of sex trafficking. In this episode, podcast host Garrett Jonsson sits down with Executive Director Alan Smyth to discuss the work Saving Innocence has done to help over 2,000 victims of child sex trafficking. Also, learn more about how anyone can tangibly help to decrease the demand for sex trafficking and exploitation.

You can learn more about Saving Innocence at savinginnocence.org.
To attend Saving Innocence’s virtual gala on September 9, 2021, visit SavingInnocenceGala.org.
To find the book co-authored by Alan Smyth, “Men! Fight For Me,” visit fightforme.net.

FROM THIS EPISODE
EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Fight the New Drug Ad: Decades of studies from respected institutions have demonstrated the significant impacts of porn consumption on individuals, relationships, and society. Truth About Porn is a current, ever-growing database dedicated to giving visibility to the research on the harmful effects of pornography. Access the latest studies, and watch expert interviews to brush up on the research detailing the harms of pornography. Get the facts at truthaboutporn.org.

Garrett Jonsson: My name is Garrett Jonsson, and you’re listening to Consider Before Consuming a podcast by Fight the New Drug. And in case you’re new here Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects, using only science facts and personal accounts. We want these conversations to be educational, uplifting, and hopeful.

As we sit down with experts, influencers, activists, and people with personal counts, we cover a wide variety of topics that may be triggering to some, you can refer to the episode notes for a specific trigger warning listener discretion is advised.

Today’s episode is with the Executive Director of Saving Innocence. Alan Smyth Saving Innocence was founded in 2010. Their mission is to help serve, empower and advocate for child victims of sex trafficking. During this conversation we discussed the work saving innocence has done to help over 2000 victims of child sex trafficking. With that being said, let’s jump into the conversation. We hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Garrett Jonsson: Well welcome to the podcast. We, uh, appreciate you joining us today.

Alan: It is great to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, it’s our pleasure. As we jump into the conversation, I think the most important thing is for our audience to get to know what you do and what Saving Innocence, uh, does. Can you talk to that a little bit?

Alan: Yeah. I’d love to thank you. Uh, Saving Innocence was founded in 2010, and so we’re working on 11 going on 12 years here pretty quick. And, um, I have the honor and pleasure to serve as the Executive Director for Saving Innocence. Um, which means I have responsibility over all the direct services as are working with our clients and all the business operations, making sure all the bills are paid and the money is raised. And, you know, basically all the stuff, um, is under my oversight. And, uh, I have the distinct pleasure to serve and walk alongside these heroes that are walking with these kids that we serve on a regular basis. And it’s just, it’s distinctive to maybe just say that there’s a lot of different sort of niches, if you will, and different anti-trafficking agencies, whether it’s foreign or domestic adult or minor sex trafficking labor, there’s a lot of different differences. And so our specialty and our focus are the child victims of sex trafficking. And so we are working every day, uh, with kids as young as seven or eight years old and you know, all the way through teenage years. And, um, it’s, it’s both heartbreaking and rewarding all at the same time as we walk with these kids and helping them get through their trauma.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Yeah. I can, uh, only imagine, you know, I put myself in the shoes of a seven year old. I try to take myself back to that age and yeah, man, some of the stuff that these kids are facing is unimaginable and, um, go into your position as Executive Director. That’s a, you know, a very involved position. Um, how long have you been in the fight against exploitation personally?

Alan: Yeah, well, I joined Saving Innocence in 2015, so I’m going on six years, um, working with this team. And before that, I worked for a different nonprofit called Young Life on who are familiar with that, but did that for 25 years. And we were working with kids, all kinds of kids everywhere, uh, but not specifically exploited kids or trafficked kids, although some of our kids were, I just probably didn’t know it at the time. And, uh, I’ve been with Saving Innocence and up to my eyeballs in child exploitation here for about six years.

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. It’s interesting that you say that it’s possible that the kids you worked with previously were possibly exploited, but you didn’t know it at the time. I think that’s very interesting. And what kind of touch on that a little bit later as we kind of get into some of the misconceptions, uh, about trafficking, um, what do you enjoy most about working with Saving Innocence?

Alan: You know, there’s a, there’s a couple things that I really enjoy. I, uh, as I said, I was, you know, my entire life or my entire career was doing not Saving Innocence things. And so it’s been really fun to take all that I’ve learned and the people that I know and the relationships that I have and now laser focused them on, um, this organization doing this incredible work. And, um, I sort of feel like with no disrespect to my previous career, I feel like I graduated from my 25 year internship…

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter]

Alan: … and now I’ve got my job that I’m taking all that I’ve learned and all that I know, and the people that I know and making a really big difference in something that is incredibly important. And, um, I just loved that, you know, it, I may have hard days and busy days along the way, but I can go to sleep at night, feeling content and satisfied with, you know, the labor of my hands with what I’m doing. And I just feel really fortunate to have this position where I can do something that’s worthwhile that is valuable to society and mankind.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Well a 25 year internship, that’s some dedication there.

Alan: [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] So, no. Um, well you mentioned that Saving Innocence is it was founded in 2010. Is that what you mentioned? Is that correct? Yes, I did. Um, and this year Saving Innocence is celebrating 11 years then. And one of the things that’s coming up to as part of that celebration is a virtual gala on September 9th. And we’ll talk more about that later, but can you take us back to 2009, 2010 and talk about how Saving Innocence was created?

Alan: Yeah. The founder is Kim Biddle and she grew up in Southern California and, um, has through her own story, began having a real heart for this population and underserved and, uh, areas of domestic violence and trafficking. Although maybe she didn’t know all that was happening back then as well. And she spent the previous decade before 2010, really traveling the world in 30 or 40 different countries and working, uh, partnering with different churches and different groups that were doing things in other parts of the world. And her eyes were really opened to, uh, the trafficking of humans at, which was a global epidemic. Uh, some 40 to 45 million people are trafficked globally through labor or sex trafficking. And she saw that up close around the world. And then she came back home to Southern California and was working on a research project and began to understand in 2009, “Wow, all this is happening here.

People are being trafficked and exploited in our country, US born American citizens, children, and adults. And no one is seeing it, no one understands it, the incorrect languages around it. They don’t know what to do with it.” And, and she said, “I have to do something, uh, because I’ve seen, I’ve seen what this is. It looks just like it does around the world, uh, only with a different covering.” And so she said, “I’m going to do something.”, and didn’t really know what it was, but, uh, she started Saving Innocence. And at first it was just her of course, and, and started reaching out to, um, at that time kid. Well, it has continued to be children that we work with and, uh, began friendships and partnerships with different law enforcement agencies and different child welfare agencies. And it grew from there.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. I always admire someone who puts in the work from day one. You know, it seems like she kind of took on some liability by going after this dream, or I guess, entering this fight against trafficking. So man, I take my hat off to her for her dedication. Can you define sex trafficking? You’ve talked about how it can be confusing, how it can be, um, overseen or overlooked. What is the definition of sex trafficking?

Alan: Yeah, there’s a couple of different definitions that you could Google up, but the basic idea is it’s exchanging something for value for sex and usually that’s money, but not always, sometimes it could be shelter or drugs or what have you, but it’s exchanging something of value for sex. And the federal definition uses three important words to help define it. And it’s by use of force fraud or coercion. And so someone is being compelled to forced to fraudulently, lured into something, otherwise coerced into exchanging sex, uh, typically for money. And then, you know, the other distinctive is that that it’s under third-party control. There’s somebody that is asserting ownership over the victim. Or like I said earlier, it’s, it’s referred to as the modern day slavery. And so someone is owned by another person and they’re selling them like a product. And so it all wrapped up in that is the working definition for sex trafficking.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. There’s always a power dynamic there.

Alan: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Okay.

Alan: Absolutely.

Garrett Jonsson: Well, one of the phrases that we tend to use quite often here at fight, the new drug is stopped the demand, you know, I want to ask you, is, is it safe to say that porn fuels sex trafficking?

Alan: Uh, it’s, it’s more than safe to say, it’s, it’s absolutely accurate to say that pornography is a major player in the trafficking of people. Um, and it isn’t a lot of different ways. It’s a huge on-ramp to the whole world of exploitation desensitization. Oftentimes, you know, as you know what your guys’ great work with Fights the New Drug, you have all the stats available, but you know, the first exposure to pornography is that a young child, you could tell me what it is, seven or eight years old. I think you might correct me, but, um, it, it begins to desensitize people to exploitation and, um, all those kinds of things. Um, and, and I have a good friend who’s just finished up a documentary spent years making it’s called Beyond Fantasy. It’s not available yet, but, um, it’s a hard-hitting documentary on the pornography industry.

And he said something interesting to me. He said through the hundreds and thousands of interviews and all of his work, he said most, not some, but most of the, the victims, the, the players, if you will, the actors, if you will, you see in pornography are, they’re under some form of coercion, uh, they’re being manipulated in some way. In other words, they don’t want to be there. Things changed mid midstream. They don’t want to be there. And then we’ve learned through our work with Saving Innocence that, um, and oftentimes there’s cases where they’re actually sex trafficked into pornography scenes, literally trafficked in forced to be there. Uh, we had one survivors say that while she was being gang raped in a motel room, somebody turned on the video camera, it made its way onto a porn site. And she said, “Every time somebody watches that video watching me being raped.” and that’s quote pornography. And, uh, so the, the insidious act of pornography absolutely fuels. And as a result of sex trafficking, they go hand in hand.

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. Thanks for sharing that information. Can we go back to some of the misconceptions around human trafficking that are often adopted by a lay person?

Alan: Yeah. There’s a couple that come to mind. I think one is, is that it’s far away. It’s not here. Um, it’s not my problem. It’s 10,000 miles away. You know, people have heard things like, you know, Cambodia or Thailand or someplace like that child trafficking when we focus on children, there’s other forms of trafficking. But, um, and so the biggest misconception is not here. I it’s, “I don’t have to deal with it.” And so we’re here to say it absolutely is here. The United States is the largest producer and consumer of exploitive materials, whether it’s pornography or otherwise. And, uh, so it’s here. And then I think there’s a misconception that anyone, regardless of age, that is being sold, like this, they’re choosing it. They’re there, it’s their choice. They want to be doing it. Um, and that’s absolutely not the case. Uh, there’s studies that would say, even adult women at 89% of them, uh, want to get out, but they don’t see any other options there if they don’t see any way to get out. And the children absolutely. Um, you know, don’t want to be there should not be there. So I think those are the two big misconceptions it’s far away wrong and the victims are choosing it wrong again.

Garrett Jonsson:

Thanks for talking to those two misconceptions, it’s important info to understand so I’m glad you talked to those. Um, so you work with children. Do you work with boys and girls or just girls?

Alan: Yeah, we work with whoever comes our path through our path, and it just turns out that the vast majority are young girls, you know, maybe 95%, if you will, of our client database historically would be girls. And the other small percentage would be young boys, but they’re, they’re both, there’s more boys being exploited then maybe are counted. It’s hard to identify and they don’t raise their hand and say, this is happening to me very often. Um, but the vast majority is little girls.

Garrett Jonsson: Going back to misconceptions, I think that another common misconception is that only girls are victims of sex trafficking, and like you said, that’s just not true. The fact that society is beginning to understand that boys can also be victims of sex trafficking could be seen as a healthy societal shift that has occurred in the recent past. What other healthy societal shifts have occurred in recent years that have been beneficial to the anti-trafficking fight?

Alan: Yeah. There has been actually quite a bit of progress made over the last several years in the last five years. Um, maybe more, more has happened during that time period. Uh, there has been more attention on the topic than ever before. There’s more documentaries being made more exposing the perpetrators, you know, the Epstein debacle with his island and all that stuff. There’s a big Netflix thing on that that a lot of have seen. So that’s shining a light on it, more podcasts like this right here, but more things like this are happening. And so what comes with that is a greater understanding and, um, you know, uh, misconceptions begin to dwindle because there’s more people out speaking out on what’s actually happening. And so that’s a, that’s a healthy shift for sure. And with that comes more and more legislation coming out of, uh, our federal and state governments that are, uh, being helpful in the fight against human trafficking.

Um, and so, yeah, I’ve seen quite a bit really in the last five years, it’s picked up quite a bit of, um, uh, progress. And in fact that I live in California and 2016, I believe it was, um, that there was a bill that was signed at a loss. I think it was SB 1322 that legally stated that the child being trafficked was not the criminal, she’s a victim. Great. Okay. I’m glad that we crossed that bridge and the 7, 8, 9 or 10 year old in a motel room with a 40 year old. Uh, isn’t the criminal.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, that’s kind of challenging to imagine that prior to that bill, that they were considered the, the criminal.

Alan: And handcuffed and taken to jail while she’s being sold to a grown adult being raped in a hotel room and she’s the one taken to jail. It’s like, it’s what universe are we living in right now? So that, that kind of thing has been changing. And it’s not, I wouldn’t say it’s changed everywhere in our country, but it’s definitely a, there’s a better understanding about what’s happening now, where there previously there wasn’t.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. What about, um, any unhealthy societal shifts that have occurred over the past five to 10 years that have actually hindered anti-trafficking work?

Alan: Well, I’d say the biggest one that comes to mind is just the, the, the progression of technology. Um, I.E. the smartphone and the internet, you know, uh, and it’s been maybe a little bit more than five years, but the technology that’s at everybody’s fingertips right now has driven this crime in many ways into the shadows, more than it ever was because now there’s apps, uh, that where you can literally buy and sell people on them. And everybody has a smartphone. Everybody can access the internet. Uh, you don’t need to, you know, sneak upstairs and find some magazine somewhere any anymore. It’s a steady stream of pornography, as you guys know. And then what comes with that is human trafficking, sex trafficking. That’s probably, I mean, I’m not going to say technology is an unhealthy societal, um, you know, sort of direction. The technology is great. There’s a lot of great things that come from it, but th th the unintended consequence is it’s really proliferated, um, the buying and selling of people in a, in a brutal way, for sure.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

It like technology is amoral. It’s kind of what we do with technology, how we utilize it well, as a representative for Saving Innocence, can you talk to some of your biggest accomplishments as an organization?

Alan: We have worked with helped assisted over 2,000 children, uh, escape these horrors and reclaim, um, you know, their childhood reclaimed their life, uh, begin to rehumanize them as they have been dehumanized. And so we feel great about the actual, the kids with the faces and the stories that we know, um, that we’ve been honored to be part of. I think some of the bigger structural accomplishments that we’ve had is that, um, we’ve recently been licensed to become a foster family agency underneath the umbrella of Saving Innocence, which is a, it may not sound like a big deal, but, um, the biggest contributor to these kids exploitation is the lack of a healthy, intact, loving, and protective family. Um, and then that’s also the biggest barrier to their swift and complete escape. There’s no place to go to this loving, protected, healthy, and intact. And so, um, we are now licensed to recruit those families that will be that for these kids, train them specifically, walk with them and support them ongoing, and then match them with the kids that we serve.

And again, might not sound like a big deal, but there isn’t anyone else. We only think there’s one other agency in the country. Uh, we think it’s in Florida that is specifically serving this population with foster families. So we’re excited about that. And we’re just now beginning the process of recruiting and training these families that will provide the home that these kids, um, need and deserve. Um, so we’re excited about that. That’s the, one of the main things. I mean, you can go to our website right now and learn about it savinginnocence.org/foster. Um, also on that website and accomplishment, we sort of did a brain dump a year or so ago and created pretty powerful, uh, e-course, uh, training course so that anybody can log on. Now, we’re getting so many requests to go places and train, and we’d love to do that when we can, but we can’t be everywhere. And with this, the country that’s waking up to this reality wants to know more stuff. And so we put it on an e-course and so that’s available for the world as well to get yourself educated on things. So there’s a lot of other things, but those are a few things that come to my mind.

Garrett Jonsson: Is the course that you’re referring to. Is it the first responder protocol?

Alan: No, no. That’s something different. The course is if you go to our website saving instance.org at the top, you know, there’s a, there’s a tab that this training and that’s an e-course, you can take at your, at your own speed and your own, you know, uh, work through a 46 different training videos with professionals and survivors, and, uh, learning all about this, the crime that’s happening. The first responder protocol is actually a big, uh, I wouldn’t say accomplishment, but we’re, we’re definitely part of it. In 2016, all of the decision-makers in LA county got together and sort of set out loud, wait, these kids are victims, not criminals. Um, so therefore when they say that they’re compelled to treat them as such. And so an entire county wide protocol was constructed and created at that time where, uh, when law enforcement, which is normally the point of, um, you know, first point of contact, uh, recovers identifies what appears to be a child victim of sex trafficking. Then they call a service provider and that’s us. And so that’s, we have our rockstar case. Managers are on call 24 7 and show up in the middle of the night and, um, step into that relationship with that child and, you know, take her from there and help her get what she needs, safety, tangible items that she needs. And then we walk with her as long as it takes to help her get her childhood back and back on her feet. Wow. So that’s, that’s what that protocol is. It’s pretty, it’s pretty awesome.

Garrett Jonsson: As I hear about all that, you’re up to as an organization, I kind of get a smile on my face just because it makes me happy knowing that you guys are up to a lot of good, so that that’s awesome.

Alan: Well, thank you. I appreciate it.

Garrett Jonsson: No, thank you. As we’ve discussed today, we’ve talked a lot about misconceptions that are adopted by society, by a lay person, but what about misconceptions that are sometimes adopted by the victim and the survivor? Um, can you talk to any of those misconceptions that are adopted by the one in the life of sex trafficking?

Alan: Yeah. You know, we just heard over and over and over again, uh, from these kids and young adults that have been entered into this life, they, they get beaten down emotionally and physically, and they begin to believe the lies that they are told either specifically lied to them in word, or just by action. Uh, the lies that they, um, this is all they’re ever going to do. This is what, um, they’re supposed to do. It’s never going to get any better and they begin to believe all that. And they, at some point they oftentimes, which is give up, “This is my life. This is, this is what I’m here to do is to service, uh, men.”, mostly men, um, uh, you know, a dozen or more times a day and get into survival mode that way. And so that’s, that’s really the heartbreaking miss. That’s obviously not what they are here to do. And that’s obviously not all that they were intended to do, and that’s not all that they ever will be. Um, it was done to them and, uh, they were coerced and forced into this situation. And there’s so much more that we have the honor to show them.

Garrett Jonsson: Absolutely. I heard one time someone say that the word hope can be broken down into an acronym and it’s hold on to positive energy. And, uh, you know, I, I try to put myself the shoes of these children and goodness gracious. I have a lot of empathy for them because I can’t imagine how challenging it would be to, to hold on to positive energy.

Alan: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And keep that, that perspective alive of hope, man, that’s, that’s a heavy thing. Um, can you share with us a hopeful example of a survivor who has transitioned successfully out of the life of sex trafficking?

Alan: Yeah. Gosh, there’s so many. We, we, we, we are just, so it’s so fun for us to see a really positive movement in their life. Um, you know, a lot of times, uh, well really all of them that our goal is to get them back into school. You know, a lot of times that’s been interrupted. And so to see them get back into school, as a matter of fact, next month, we’re going to have our annual graduation, high school graduation party for all of our kids. There’ll be about 80 people in attendance. About 20 of them are, are our kids and our clients. And then all of their various social workers and our team and everybody, and we’re going to celebrate them and they’re going to be graduating high school, or they’ve just graduated high school and we’re going to honor them that way. And that’s a, that’s a big deal.

Like, you know, I had two kids that went through high school and then college. And, uh, you know, when my kids graduated high school, it was a big deal for us. And they actually had, you know, basically no challenges whatsoever. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Alan: Um, and, and, and we threw a party for him and people gave him presents. And now to see these kids after what they’ve gone through, um, to, to fight through that and, you know, graduate high school and then off to some form of college is incredible. Um, you know, one, one thing that comes to my mind, um, a lot of what we do is we help our kids testify in court. Um, a lot of times their trafficker will eventually get arrested. They’ll build a case against him and they’ll ask us to bring, you know, a kid or two, uh, that was connected to that trafficker to help testify in court.

Uh, our advocates get to go up and sit on the stand with, with our kid as she gives her testimony. And this one in particular, I’m thinking about recently, um, she had regained her voice. She had regained her strength, her perspective. She knew that she was worthy and there was, uh, she deserves so much better and she gave her powerful testimony. The da says, “He’s going to go away for life for that.” She, she looks at him in the eye. This is, this is her trafficker sitting, maybe eight, 10 feet away. She’s not allowed to look him in the eye. She’s not allowed to address them in a strong way. She looks him in the eye in a courtroom and says, “You don’t own me anymore.” and gets up and walks out. You know, the ultimate drop the mic moment.

And so little things like that provide hope, okay, the human spirit is strong. They can come back from this and we’re going to walk with them every step of the way.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Man, from what I’ve learned and from the survivors that I’ve met, they are some of the strongest people you will ever meet because they’ve had to face so much adversity. So wow thats…

Alan: That’s right. No, they have to be otherwise they don’t make it. And a lot of them sadly, don’t make it out of it. But those that fight through it, they have overcome obstacles that the regular person out there can’t even conceive of. And so when they get on the other side of it, they can be world changers.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. I mentioned your gala on September 9th of this year, and it’s a virtual gala. How can people attend that? And what other information should our listeners know about that gala?

Alan: Yeah, that’s coming up real soon on September 9th. And if you go to our website, Saving Innocence.org/gala, there’s a tab at the top and we’re going to stream it live right there. And, uh, if you go to that website right now, there’s the free version. You can get a free ticket if you will. And it’ll stream at seven o’clock, you know, that night. And we want the world to check out what’s going on. There’s also a paid version. You can buy a ticket. And if you buy a ticket and you get an event box and you get a bunch of cool stuff and a bunch of Saving Innocence swag. And so if you want to support the organization that way, we’re going to send you some stuff. You can also host a table and host 10 of your friends, and everybody gets an event box. And then we’re also looking for corporate sponsors at various levels of it’s all right there, right now, SavingInnocence.org/gala. All the information is right there, but that’s where, that’s where to watch it. It’s going to stream live at 7:00 PM on September 9th.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s awesome. I, is it a thing that it’s a black tie event, but it’s virtual. So I imagined myself sitting on my couch, attending the virtual gala and a black tie and a suit.

Alan: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: I don’t have a black tie or a suit, but you know, maybe I should go grab one.

Alan: It normally is a little bit of a fancy kind of an event, you know, downtown and people get dressed up like that. But yes, it’s a virtual gala and like the camera only goes one direction so you can wear whatever you want. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] Awesome. Awesome. Well, how can our listeners support Saving Innocence?

Alan: It’s a great question. Thank you. SavingInnocence.org is the website. We just talked about it. You can support us by watching the gala. That’s coming up on September 9th, invite all your friends to watch it. Um, we’re going to have some fun stuff going on and some important stuff, some powerful stuff, but, uh, September 9th watch the gala. That’s an easy one free, or you can, you can support the organization financially and buy a ticket and get a bunch of stuff for it. Um, you can become a donor, a financial contributor at $10 a month, $20 a month, a one-time gift, but all that’s on the website as well. There’s a donate button. We’d love to have you do that. Um, also there’s ways to get involved. We’ve got an Amazon wishlist is currently on our site. If you scroll down to the bottom of the first page, it shows three ways to get involved.

And one of them says a big box has helped them celebrate. And we, we have birthday parties and I mentioned earlier graduation parties and, um, baby showers and, you know, all the things that happen throughout the year, we’re going to celebrate our kids. And so we love it when the public logs on to the Amazon wishlist, Amazon, uh, it has made it so easy. You can sit in your living room and click a button and it charges you and it gets the item gets sent right to our office. And so, um, you can, you know, just there’s stuff on there that will be helpful for us to get, get out to our kids. And that’s an easy and a fun way and super helpful way. Um, and then, you know, we’re based in Southern California. So depending on who’s listening to this and where you live, um, but you can go to info savinginnocense.org and ask any question you want and if you’re available to volunteer or whatnot, um, that will answer that question there.

But then also there’s other items that may come up other tangible kinds of items that, um, a lot of people enjoy gathering for us and getting to us. So those are probably the main ways that you could, that you could help us. And I would say just generally go to the website, there’s five or six videos posted there. Some survivors tell them their stories and other infographics on what we do and begin that process. And, um, and you can find a local organization if you’re not in Southern California, uh, to, to support and be part of, or we’d love to have you on our team as well. However, that fits.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Well, when I think about the 2000 children that you have served and helped, I can’t help, but think about the operating budget that’s required to, to make that happen. And so again, if any of our listeners, uh, you know, feel compelled to, to donate, I encourage you to do that and we’ll include the links for the gala and for the website and all of those things. So you can go to the episode notes and check that out to learn more. Um, Alan, we want to leave you with the opportunity, uh, to have the last word during this conversation. Is there anything that we haven’t mentioned or talked about that’s that you’d like to talk about?

Alan: Yeah. Well, thank you. Uh, this has been great and I really appreciate, um, all you awesome Fight the New Drug people making this happen and the great work that you do, um, with your effort. We appreciate it. I would say this, that we, as society have to make a decision. This can no longer happen. It’s just a choice we have to make. We’re allowing it as a society to happen, the trafficking of children and adults. But as we focus on children, we have to say, no, no more, not on my watch, no way know-how. And then the next question is, well, can I do, and I never want to answer that too quickly. I say, I don’t know, what can you do? You know, what do you know? Who do you know, where’d you go to school? Where do you live? What are your friends?

How about your friends? What do they know? Do you have any money? Do not have any money. Okay, great. You know, what, what can you do? Do you have a skill and a challenge? And my challenge to the listeners is do whatever it is that you can do and go big because there’s children out there tonight, and today that are being trafficked in a brutal way, and they need to know someone’s fighting for them. And I guess I would close on this, this idea, Garrett, is that me being a man? Uh, I, I have a special emphasis on speaking to men and challenging men. Um, the vast majority of this problem is coming from men. Most of the buyers are men. Most of the sellers are men. I, you know, Fight the New Drug would have all the stats on pornography. I know there’s a growing number of women that are consuming pornography, but, you know, to my understanding, most of the consumers are men.

Men, we have to step up. We have to be better than this. And, and I, we want to help men get their mind around this issue and step up. And we’ve actually, uh, produced a book called Men Fight For Me. And it’s on a website called fight for me.net. And I would encourage your listeners to go check it out, check out that website. The book is available there. And the title comes from a survivor. I was with, uh, several years ago in a meeting. And she said “For five months of being trafficked, I was kind of kicking and screaming and trying to figure out a way to get out. And then I began to believe the lies. And I gave up.” She said this, “I could no longer fight for myself. I needed someone to fight for me.” And that lit a fire inside of me. It’s like, “Okay, I’ll fight for you. And I’ll fight for you and you, and you.” uh, there’s a lot of, uh, victims. And in our case, children out there that have given up, they’ve lost the will to fight. They don’t see any escape and they need someone to fight for them. And so that’s my message to anyone who will listen. Uh, we need to stand up, rise up and get out and go fight on behalf of these kids that are being exploited and trafficked and with a special emphasis on men, because the men are the biggest part of the problem. So, uh, jump in guys, let’s go and take a look in the mirror, figure out your own life, personal issues you’re working through and then work outward from there. And we want to help you with this book. Men Fight For Me, fightforme.net

Garrett Jonsson: Hey, thank you so much for saying that. Um, yeah. There’s many ways to stop the demand, like you said, and, um, yeah, you mentioned a lot of good ways. So thanks Alan, for showing up day in and day out. Uh, we want to thank you personally and also, uh, Saving Innocence as an organization for all the great work you’re doing. Uh, it was a pleasure talking to you today.

Alan: Well, thank you, Garrett. It was my honor to be here and you guys keep up the great work. I appreciate you guys very much.

Fight the New Drug Ad: Want to bring Fight the New Drug to your school, business, or community event? Lucky for you, we’re pros when it comes to live presentations. We provide information, and entertainment to inspire your audience to consider how pornography can impact themselves, their loved ones, and the world around them. We’re present the facts in an interactive, age-appropriate, and engaging way so your audience can walk away with more information on the harms of porn. To book a presentation, visit FTND.org/LIVE, That’s FTND.org/LIVE.

Garrett Jonsson: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Consider Before Consuming. Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug. Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful facts, using only science facts and personal accounts.

If you want to learn more about today’s guest and the conversation we had, you can check out the links included with this episode. Again, big, thanks to you for listening to this conversation. As you go about your day, we invite you to increase your self awareness. Look both ways, check your blind spots and consider before consuming.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.

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