“Because of the abundance of evil, the love of many will grow cold.”
~ Matthew 24:12
The shadowy world of human trafficking is, to put it kindly, nefarious to its very core. It is the literal validation of the scripture above. How can the trafficking and sale of human beings for the purpose of exploitation and slavery be viewed as anything less than evil? Evil it has been for centuries though, and evil it remains to this day. The only thing that has changed is the depravity, as the market increasingly demands not just young adults and teenagers…but children for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
More and more, children of third world countries are becoming quick cash sources for impoverished families, as false promises of good employment are couched in realities of forced prostitution, violence and emotional wreckage, followed by despair, disease, abandonment and death…all of which can take place before a child’s tenth birthday.
The cycle has existed for hundreds of years, and has grown into a multi-billion dollar business that in many cases is backed by private security and militaries. Human trafficking is a dark world where the law is dictated by who has the most guns, the most cash, and the most inventory, so breaking it by ‘storming the gates’ is useless. There is no high profile Chuck Norris or John Wayne on the horizon.
It takes military intelligence and tactics to defeat militaristic behavior. It requires fighting fire with fire, without a fear of getting burned, and there are those who are actively involved in doing just that. Edgerton High School alumnus Toby Helton is one of those playing an active role in the rescue of these children. He has seen the abuse on a first hand basis, and knows the tactics being used upon these kids.
From ages 6 to 12, Toby was exploited, not so much physically, but emotionally and spiritually. “Young men would have parties, and girls would be there. The young men would just have their way with them. I was threatened, and forced to be a lookout so that if anybody came, I was to be the alarm. I saw friends raped that I went to elementary and middle school with. We were all threatened. These guys that are doing this are master manipulators. Kids don’t understand that; kids just want to believe.”
“When you tell them that you are going to kill their family, they believe it. There’s no other alternative but to think that’s going to happen. Looking back at that now, God put me in that situation to see what it feels like, and to see what happens. Later, when I was in the military, I had a friend who was doing undercover work in human trafficking for the FBI. We were sharing some stories one day, when he asked me if I would like to be trained and help them out. I did that, under cover, for two years. I was working out of Hawaii. I was associated with the FBI, the CIA and HPD.”
It was while he was in the military that Toby’s career plans received a major alteration, but not by any enemy for which he had training for defense against. This enemy’s stealth was in its size…a virus. Not just any virus, mind you; this pathogen set about the destruction of his heart. The resulting damage left him unable to continue in the military, and so, with a medical discharge in his hand and a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted in his chest, Toby moved forward by the hand of God. Three years ago, Toby was introduced to Destiny Rescue, an internationally-recognized Christian non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing children trapped in the sex trade.
All of his military training and knowledge, and all of his experience in dealing with traffickers had a new outlet. As he said, “Looking back at that now, God put me in that situation.” Who knows more about the shadows where these evil people hide and their tactics, than one who was forced to deal with them personally? With the additional training provided by Destiny Rescue, Toby became something rarely seen or heard of: A full-time…volunteer. Although his cardiac ailment canceled out his career in the military, it couldn’t slow down his desire to bring down the likes of those who terrorized him during his youth, and who are reaping huge profits by trafficking children today. He has a God-ignited tenacity for the cause of rescuing exploited children, and a desire to tell of the mission of Destiny Rescue to any church, any church group, any civic organization and any service organization that will listen.
“I was an Advocate for Destiny Rescue until August of last year, when I became an Area Representative,” he said. “I’m a full-time volunteer. I’m rare in the organization. They use me wherever they can, because a lot of people are paid staff. A lot of people, and a lot of the other volunteers are married. They have kids or other jobs. I’ve been afforded the luxury of being retired from the military. Even though I have a lot of health issues, the Lord has blessed me to be able to do this.” ‘Do this’ he indeed does, with an inspired fervor, and a tenacity akin to his Alma Mater namesake. Like the bulldog, he has his teeth sunk into the cause of the kids, and he won’t let go until the chains binding all those enslaved by the human trafficking industry are broken.
The mission of rescue may sound simple, however it is anything but. 1.2 million children per year are trafficked around the world. That’s one child every 26 seconds. These malefactors want to remain hidden, and they will violently defend their business practices and human inventories. Destiny Rescue is taking them on in Thailand, Cambodia, India, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Laos, and they are expanding.
What is the rescue process? Once rescued, what happens to the kids? Destiny Rescue operates several safe houses in the nations where they work. The homes not only provide shelter, but also education and a place for desperately needed physical, emotional and spiritual healing. One of the newest facilities, the Cherish Home in India, is a superior example as to the power of the trafficking trade, the growth of the interdiction efforts of Destiny Rescue, and the need for further growth. In India alone in 2016, 147 children were rescued…the youngest being just four years old. Let that sink in for a minute…a four-year-old child, not even of Kindergarten age, working in a brothel.
Are you feeling something in the pit of your stomach yet? Now then, imagine something as immense and as sprawling as an assembly plant for a major automotive manufacturer. Something where the square footage covered is measured in the hundreds of thousands. Now imagine that gigantic complex divided into hundreds and hundreds of rooms and domiciles…each one a brothel, and the home to multiple girls who are forced to work there. They frequently get pregnant, and are forced to give birth there in the brothel, and their child is brought up in the ways of the trade. The illegal economic muscle of the prostitution complex easily rivals the legitimate economic output of many a local county here in our area. The traffickers and brothel owners make fortunes that are built upon the broken hearts, minds, spirits and bodies of those that they enslave. The GB Road District is one such prostitution and human trafficking mega-facility in India…and this is but one of them.
“We are looking to expand the Cherish Home, because there are just so many kids there,” Toby said. “We can rescue kids snap, snap, snap…as quick and easy as candy. The problem is having the funds with which to do it. That’s the real barrier. The barrier isn’t where do we find the kids…we know where they are. The barrier is having the funds to rescue the kids. The more funds that we have, the more kids that we can rescue. That goes hand-in-hand with sponsoring homes. It’s kind of a domino effect. We have to have the funds to sponsor the homes too, so that once rescued, they can have a place to live, food and electricity, doctors, medical care, and all that stuff that they never had. It’s the domino effect. You can’t have one without the other.”
About 3,000 years ago, Asaph, one of the directors of the choir of King David, penned a song which became Psalm 82. In that Psalm, words were written that today, three millennia later, are even more relevant than they were then. Writing as a messenger of God, Asaph says in verses two through four, “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Take another look at that last line…a long look. It is a directive from God, written by Asaph, that orders God’s children to “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” This scripture is found on a Destiny Rescue informational tract, and for good reason…it’s who they are. It’s what they do.
Asaph wasn’t in the market to write mission statements for organizations that would appear 3,000 years later. This song was written as an admonition for everyone in every age that would follow. It is the calling that Toby Helton has answered, and he will eagerly talk about the mission of Destiny Rescue with anyone, and the many ways that anyone can help push back the shadows of evil and despair without leaving the comfort of their community.
Got a few minutes for a cup of coffee and a chat? Toby wants to talk to you. Got a service or civic organization that needs an inspirational keynote speaker? Toby wants to talk to you. Got a church group that needs to hear the good news coming out of the world of darkness? Toby wants to talk to you. You can contact him directly at 808-554-7518, or you can reach him through the North Webster, Indiana office of Destiny Rescue at 574-457-2470. You can find both Toby and Destiny Rescue on Facebook. Look Destiny Rescue up at destinyrescue.org, and see what they are doing to change the world…one child at a time.
Over a two-week stretch in mid-May, Destiny Rescue brought freedom to 52 innocent children. 22 more were rescued during the final week of the month, and June began with no signs of letting up. As of the 14th, no less than 44 rescues have taken place so far in the month of June, including 11 children…a record 35 rescues last week alone. 2016 was a record year with 485 rescues, and 334 have been rescued thus far in 2017…which is a pace to rescue over 700 by the end of the year. Since 2011, over 2,300 children have been freed from the chains of slavery by Destiny Rescue.
The effort is legitimate, the results speak for themselves, and the pace is rapidly accelerating. Toby Helton is more than ready to tell you, your group, or your organization all about it…you just need to pick up the phone and call.
© 2019, Tim Kays. All rights reserved.