Roger: Hello, audience. I have a treat for you today. Bart Nelson has agreed to make an appearance to help create public awareness concerning human trafficking. Welcome, Bart. We want to thank you for taking the time to make this rare appearance. We all know how busy you are and have heard of the good you have accomplished in the battle against human trafficking. (Bart smiles and looks all about before staring directly into Roger’s eyes. Roger immediately asks the first question.)
Roger: For the benefit of our audience and to answer the question that I am constantly being asked, how tall are you and how much do you weigh?
Bart: They really asked you that? (Bart pauses and smiles before answering.) I am 6’2” and weight approximately 210 to 220, depending on how much I eat.
Roger: Is food a problem?
Bart: It is not about the cost. When we are on assignment, food often becomes scarce. There are no shopping malls in the jungle, and sometimes we are forced to live off the land.
Roger: For the record, you are 6’2” and weigh 210+, dark short hair, brown eyes, and a nice tan. And, ladies, he does have massive biceps. (Bart blushes, forcing a smile.) What size are those shoes?
Bart: Actually, they are boots. I wear a size 12. Do your readers really want to know that?
Roger: They want to know everything. You do have some admirers out there.
Bart: If it will help put a stop to human trafficking, then I am willing to do anything I can. So, ask away.
Roger: Everyone knows you are a Navy SEAL. Tells us what it is like training to become the best of the best.
Bart: There are a number of Special Forces out there, all good men. But the SEALs have very high standards as most people know. Not everyone that tries out makes it. If you do, it is considered an honor.
Roger: When you began training for the SEALs, did you ever consider quitting?
Bart: Never! I know it sounds strange, but that is the one thing that sets us apart from the rest. A SEAL never quits. It is referred to as ‘fire in the gut’. Either you have it or you don’t.
Roger: There is so much we could ask about that. However, for the sake of time, we need to get into the mission you are currently involved with. I understand it is to take down human trafficking. What drives you to risk everything for this cause?
Bart: It is personal now. Many of you know Chelsea Steele, a demolition expert. Her sister, Vanessa, became a victim of human trafficking.
Roger: Without revealing the details of the book, we will withhold specific information about that abduction. Hopefully, she is safe now. But tell us, how dangerous is this battle?
Bart: Human trafficking is a $32 billion business. With that kind of money at stake, they will kill in a blink of an eye to keep it covered up.
Roger: So, it is pretty intense, I take it.
Bart: As intense as any battle I have ever been involved in.
Roger: We all know about the tragedy that occurred during your last mission in the official capacity of the Navy SEALs. I believe you were extracting the attorney general from his abductors when it happened. If I recall, you were working for the president on this mission.
Bart: I don’t like talking about it, but yes, we lost half of our men.
Roger: That must have been hard to swallow, seeing how things turned out. But let’s move on to your current mission, human trafficking. Most people think of this as a problem that the victims bring on themselves. How do you choose to address that?
Bart: That idea is totally off base. While some of the women involved did in fact make a mistake that landed them in this predicament, most are innocent victims. They are tricked, coerced, and often threatened in an effort to force them into a life of which there is no escape.
Roger: How is that? Can you enlighten us on the procedures used in human trafficking?
Bart: First of all, they are very shrewd. Seldom do they appear as criminals, thus setting a snare for the victims. Generally they stalk the victims for days, sometimes weeks. When the target of their interest is at their most vulnerable state, they make their move, leaving behind no witnesses and no evidence that a crime has been committed. They do that for a very good reason. It is a known fact the case will soon be dropped under those conditions.
Roger: So, you think many of the missing persons are, in fact, abductions not runaways.
Bart: We know they are. My team has been responsible for freeing victims from all over the globe. There are thousands, possibly millions, of victims, waiting to be rescued from a life worse than death.
Roger: That brings up a good point. Why doesn’t the United States simply go after them with our military and free those that are being held against their will?
Bart: It is a matter of jurisdiction and can complicate things. We cannot send military operations into those countries. We are at peace with them.
Roger: But isn’t this war? Aren’t you declaring war on human trafficking?
Bart: That is a sensitive issue, and I am bound by an agreement with a top ranking official not to disclose the details.
Roger: So you are working undercover, performing your duties for someone high up the ladder. Is it the president?
Bart: You know I can’t answer that. But it has been made very clear that if we get caught, we are on our own.
Roger: That must be difficult to swallow. Here you are, doing a good service for your country, and you could end up disappearing like the victims. Nobody would own up to the fact these orders came from the president.
Bart: I didn’t say they came from the president, and that is a point that I need to make very clear.
Roger: Okay, so we will leave that question alone. This covert operation could get you and your friends killed. If something happens to you, nobody will come to your defense. Why would you do it?
Bart: The answer is simple. The very first victims we rescued convinced us this must be done. When we looked into the eyes of these young women, it became clear I had no other choice.
Roger: What did you find? Can you describe the victims to us?
Bart: In the beginning we targeted victims that were between 18 and 30, very attractive females who had simply disappeared. Nobody was looking for them, and eventually the cases were closed. Once we located these young women, it was obvious what was going on. They were despondent, having been drugged and abused. Their lives had been taken away from them. Now they were the possession of someone else, modern day slavery if you will.
Roger: Slavery still exists around the world? Most think it ended some 150 years ago.
Bart: It is worse now than ever. Back then slavery was not hidden. It was out in the open for all to see. But human trafficking is very much alive and a bigger problem because it operates under the radar.
Roger: Why doesn’t law enforcement get involved and shut them down?
Bart: As you know, training is everything. We as Navy SEALs learned to rely on our training. Law enforcement is not trained to deal with this sort of crime. When someone disappears, they immediately target the last person known to have seen the victim. That is what they are trained to do. By the time that person is cleared of any wrongdoing, the case is already cold.
Roger: I’ve seen that happen. What can we do to change that?
Bart: Your appearance on Dottie Laster’s TRAFFICKED is a step in the right direction. Dottie is actively involved in training law enforcement to deal with this sort of crime. When someone disappears for no apparent reason, we need to take a broader look at what is happening.
Roger: What can we do to prevent this crime? Isn’t prevention the key to cutting off the supply of victims?
Bart: Exactly! Nothing is foolproof, but here are some suggestions. Young people need to have a buddy system in place, especially when you are going to be out late at night. If you do not check in, someone can search for you before it is too late. Next, do not be tricked into something that sounds too good to be true. These people have been known to pose as model agencies, companies seeking employees, and any number of factious schemes to pull young people into their organization. Once they control you, it is too late to get out of the predicament. Then by using drugs, sleep deprivation, and threats against family members, they control you.
Roger: What are other risks you would like to point out to our viewers?
Bart: When traveling abroad, do not separate from your group. Stay together. Do your homework and avoid countries that are known for this type problem.
Roger: Now that you have brought it up, what are some other tricks that traffickers use on victims?
Bart: Date rape drugs have been around for decades. Everyone, especially young people, need to be careful when at bars, parties, or anywhere that give strangers access to your food or drinks. Those powerful drugs will render the victim helpless against an attacker. By the time you wake up, it is often too late.
Roger: I have literally hundreds of questions to choose from, but we are out of time. We want to thank you again, Bart, for taking the time to speak with us. Before we let you go, there is one I must ask or the young ladies will kill me. I understand you are single. Are their any prospects for marriage in the near future? (Bart smiles and hides a blush.)
Bart: Well, I have my eyes set on someone special. But to answer your question, there are no plans for marriage just yet.
Roger: So, there you have it, ladies. Bart is still available. And if you play your cards right, you might just catch him. With his permission, I will field questions and comments on this blog site. Make sure you leave a way for us to reach you, and I will see that Bart gets the message. (Roger stands to shake Bart’s hand, noticing him rolling his eyes.) So, you are concerned about the women lining up at your door? (Bart smiles, shakes his head, and walks out the door.)
Closing comments: If you would like to know more about Bart and his battle against human trafficking, please feel free to leave a comment. Be sure to check out The Twelve SEALs and the sequel, SEALs II – The Impossible. Thanks you!
Participants: Roger Grubbs, author & Bart Nelson, character in The Twelve SEALs http://amzn.to/yXl5ue & SEALs II – The Impossible http://amzn.to/z92ZeK .
Dottie Laster’s TRAFFICKED on Here Women Radio: http://bit.ly/zDUkka