Kurt Wallace: This is Kurt Wallace and our guest today on Rare is Jaco Booyens director of a new film 8 Days. Jaco, thanks for being with us today.
Jaco Booyens: Kurt, thank you. Really appreciate you and thanks for the opportunity of talking about this.
Kurt Wallace: Your film will be showing in theaters January 30th, tell us about the movie.
Jaco Booyens: Yes it’s showing in theaters specifically with you guys in Duluth, Georgia at Studio Movie Grill on January 30th. 8 Days is a film that we produced to fight a crime. And, it’s seldom that people in the industry really do something like this but I think that entertainment is powerful. And, if we use that voice — the entertainment voice to do good, it can do that.
So, in this instance 8 Days is a film to fight the crime of human trafficking and sex trafficking to be specific. It’s something that’s close to us personally. It’s something that is close to me. We know the film is powerful and we’ve seen the film make an impact. Really, it’s a tool in the hands of people who are willing to stand up for what is right and stand up for the least which is these traffic victims.
Kurt Wallace: Last we talked you had described the horrific reality within the US — over $9 billion in the industry of this business of human trafficking, Americans buying and selling Americans. We talked about some very heart wrenching aspects of the business and of the suffering, the victims, the supply side of it, the children, the ages of that. We’ll put a link in this interview for people to go back and listen to the previous one.
But, my question on this interview specifically is the demand side. Who are the people that are buying children for sex — that are buying slave for labor in America? Who are these people?
Jaco Booyens: Kurt, that’s what I love about your show. You’re not afraid to ask the tough questions. You definitely do not beat around the bush. Look that’s the question, people want to talk about what it is but when you start asking these questions — that’s when we’re opening a can of worms, right? There is a massive demand, obviously. I want to be bold enough to tell you it starts with something as little as soft pornography, that’s where it starts.
We have bred a society of men who have in some regard forgotten what the value of a woman is and meaning, for now young boys being trafficked — the value of a human being. So, it starts with something as little as that. So, the demand starts there. But who actually goes into a motel room and pays money to be with a minor? It would shock you. And, I’m going to share the news with you, it’s suits, it’s guys in suits, it’s guys in the streets, it’s business men, it’s CEO’s, it’s married men, it is college students. It literally is a wide array of American men predominantly.
It’s about 80% men. There’s women, as well, that go in and buy children. But, it’s predominantly men and I think the problem is men for the most part don’t talk about their issues. And, because they don’t — they just keep feeding the beast. And, they have this appetite that they can’t fill. To buy drugs, nobody starts with heroin. They start somewhere else and they end up there right. So, this lust for something that can’t be filled and it ends up with our children being in motel rooms.
This thing is so wide, Kurt, that a recent trafficked victim who we were working with and had become very close with, we’ve grown to love her. She had six pastors that would visit her frequently. Among the six pastors was CEO’s of companies that she could name them. And then general Joes off the street. So, this is a horrific crime.
And, that’s what makes it so hard to fight because it truly is among us. And, when I say it’s among us because all our kids are targets. It’s among us because they’re out there. You know when we move into a new neighborhood we view a sex offender watch. We want to know is there a sex offender in the neighborhood. Well, those sex offenders that have been recorded as pedophile behavior or rape.
But people who buy sex in a sex trafficking ring, those guys aren’t reported. There’s no database where you can go in and say “is there a guy who’s buying young girls for sex in my neighborhood”. There’s no way to determine that because legislation for the most part doesn’t allow a trafficked victim to speak up and say “hey, I’m a trafficked victim, I’m not a prostitute. I’m a trafficked victim and these are the guys who did this to me”. They process and prosecute that girl that’s willing to speak up as a criminal. So, they don’t speak up.
The metrics on who actually buys these girls are off on how many kids get trafficked and how much money gets spent and the pimps. Because they all hunt the pimps, right. We see the FBI do it’s thing and they find 137 pimps on a raid. But, the people who buy sex? We need to start having this question.
Kurt Wallace: Absolutely, you talk about the pimps and we talk about how kids actually recruit other kids through pimps and there’s intimidation. And there are different aspects of this but there are businesses that are relatively accessible for slavery for labor and for sex.
Could we talk about some of that, like these fake massage parlors, domestic servant employers, for growing agriculture, small business owners and managers, factory owners. These are businessmen, American businessmen and women that are involved in human trafficking.
Jaco Booyens: Without a doubt. And, for your listeners — if you’re in your car and your listening and you go “surely these two guys are on something, they’re not talking about reality”. This is the sleeping giant in the United States of America. You drive the streets and you pull into a little market or you’re going for — at a nail spa, there’s things happening in the back.
Every single strip club has human trafficking involved in the back. These massage parlors, these front — you know I always think how we’re back in the ’20s and ’30s when the mob ran free and they used these businesses as fronts, right? We’re back in those days. We’re just selling human beings and not drugs. You know that’s what’s going on here. You absolutely right. Factories, anywhere those institutions where specifically they can pray on people who don’t necessarily have a lot of support. And, I’m an immigrant to the United States.
If someone’s an immigrant from Mexico, they’re kind of destitute. They don’t really know much. They don’t really know many people. Those guys end up working a lot of factory work. They’re working a lot of day labor. So, they pounce on them to utilize them to spread their enterprise to go into the schools and go into the malls.
That’s why I was horrified when I saw what happened on the border on Texas. And, no one spoke about this and people kept saying secure the border. And, the kids that came over, what they don’t know is it’s traffickers that go into Mexico and bring those Hispanic kids into America because they’re undocumented. That’s a free sex slave.
Kurt Wallace: In terms of enablers, what is an enabler and how do traffickers exploit businesses to utilize the businesses as enablers. I was surprised to find out landlords, recruitment agencies, hospitality industry, travel, financial institutions, airlines, advertising — these are included in the exploitation of traffickers in the enabling aspect.
Jaco Booyens: Absolutely, any organization that has layers multi-layers you’ve got high trafficking and it hides in plain site. That’s the best place to hide, right, is plain site. Really, what it comes down to, Kurt, is these guys who are operating these cartels are masterminds. They’re not stupid. These guys are smart. They understand manipulation, indoctrination, psychological bullying. And, then they understand money.
They do understand money. They know how to target somebody that will take a bribe. If they want to get into this massage parlor, who works inside that massage parlor? Who has the crack? Who do we target in crash the lifestyle, this vigilante lifestyle? And, they can prove it. They can prove that you can get away with this because they do.
Because as a society, we’re not equipped at the moment to really fight this thing full force. The Ebola virus breaks out, well when the Ebola virus breaks out, we’ve got a lot of doctors that are skilled. They might not know the virus but they are really skilled to tackle some medical issues. Well, we don’t have large task forces to say “well all of the sudden our kids are being attacked, how do we protect our kids?”.
So, we need to now empower the mothers in our society in saying “it’s on you now”. I always say the most powerful thing on the planet is a soccer mom. Because she’s in a van with five family’s kids in her van and she can very quickly assess, “Jonny is not doing well today, what’s going on? He’s hanging out with the wrong crowd. There’s change in this kids life”. When you can start looking at the signs. And they’re little signs. But, there are signs to say “something might not be right”. And, then a flag might go off to say “could this be trafficking”.
I don’t want people to be paranoid, but I do want them to say “could it be trafficking?”. And, I would never even have thought of human trafficking. But now it’s time we need to when walking into a place of business and things doesn’t look right. The staff turnover is constant or when I come in here it just doesn’t feel good. Could there be trafficking here? And, I’m not saying we’ve got to go out and be vigilantes. Report certain things that doesn’t feel or look good to the authorities. Let’s become the eyes and ears for our children and fight this thing.
Kurt Wallace: Now on the other side of this, kids are placed into foster care after being removed from homes for medical neglect and abuse allegations. What percentage of these kids actually end up becoming sex slave or being trafficked?
Jaco Booyens: That’s hard, you’re talking about specific foster kids, right?
Kurt Wallace: That’s right.
Jaco Booyens: Our movie opens up, the first frame of the movie, first scene is a foster dad. And, it’s a girl who runs away from her foster dad who abuses her. So, that individual — and this is an actual event. So, this kid decides “it is better for me out there in the streets” and ends up being trafficked for almost 20 years because of fosters.
I don’t have metrics on this and I don’t think metrics exist. For the most part — you know me, Kurt, I don’t mind being controversial. I think sometimes organizations, specifically government organizations don’t want to report some of the metrics that they have. Because it does not reflect very well on them. Does CPS have metrics on how many foster kids become involved and entangled in sex slavery? I don’t know. Maybe they don’t. We don’t. But I know it’s frequently.
Kurt Wallace: In terms of these ‘Johns’ or the demand side. The individuals that are involved in — because you have to have the demand in order to have the kind of supply in this type of industry this is as big as it is and as silent as it is. What is the profile of that individual? Is it a sex addiction? Who are these people? And, what can be done to sort these people out? And, for us to make this an open issue?
Jaco Booyens: Yes, you can imagine. To drive to a seedy motel room and request certain things. Look, it becomes to some of these guys. Literally, they will request, the stuff we can’t even talk about on the air. I mean, Kurt, the things they request of the type of people they want to be with sexually. That has to be for me it’s demonic. It has to be an addiction. And it has to be something where they’re completely beside themselves.
But, the level just before that. The individual that’s on the cusp of falling into that routine of saying “okay, I’ll go buy a kid”. That individual that’s on that cusp — that’s where we really need to fight this fight. Because those guys are savable to a degree where we can prevent them from adding to the demand of human trafficking.
Those who are currently the demand of course we need to fight that crime. And, they also need to be rehabilitated. We want them also to be set free from this. So, those guys who are almost there for the most part, people know that they are in that position. People in there immediate surrounding know, this guy is hooked on pornography. His wife knows that he’s caught in with porn and maybe kid porn. But, they’re kind of dealing with it as a family. They don’t really talk about it. Those things need to be talked about.
Those guys need help, serious help immediately. As a society, we need to stop having a tolerance for degrading a woman’s body and it being ok because a guy is just a guy. This is what guys do. It’s not what guys do. It’s not what guys are supposed to be doing. It’s not ok.
So, when we as a society know and really I want to put it on the men. And, we talk about wives and we see that a lot because they’re afraid — or sisters or mothers knowing this about a son or a daughter. I want to put it on the men. Because we talk to each other when we go on our fishing trips and our hunting trips. Or, we go to football — we talk super bowl. Guys talk to guys. When we as men are exposed to another guy who show us signs that he is not respectful of the female race period. Or, that he’s involved in activity like this, we need to step up. It’s on us.
We need to be willing to say “your health is even more important to me than our friendship. I’m going to hold you accountable. I’m going to talk about this issue. I’m asking you to get help. If you don’t get help, then I’m going to bring help in. I’m going to talk you those important to you, we’re going to bring help in”. And, I’m not talking about creating trouble here. I’m talking about truly when we recognize warning signs.
My granddad always told me “Jaco, where there’s smoke there’s fire”. So, if you see smoke, there’s fire. We see smoke everyday in society and we turn the other way. And we pretend like there’s no fire. All people need to do is pay attention to the smoke. Pay attention to the signs. Know that pornography is tied to sex trafficking directly. So, when you know someone who’s involved in pornography deal with it at that level so it doesn’t become a demand on another teenage girl.
Kurt Wallace: Jaco Booyens, your new film 8 Days in theaters on January 30th. Thanks for being with us today on Rare. Before you go could you give us some resources that people can go to support stopping human trafficking?
Jaco Booyens: Absolutely, we partner with an organization who do incredible work nationwide. It’s called Traffick911. Incredible organization, if you’re in the Texas area, they work predominantly Texas. If you’re in the west coast, Justice Speaks. And then there’s many other campaigns. I Definitely encourage — you can find them all on our website 8Daysfilm.org.
I encourage people to fight here in the US as well. We always want to go fight a battle overseas and help other people but the United States, our kids need help. Fight the fight in your local community. Find out who fights trafficking in your local community. Talk to your counselors at your kids schools. Talk to the PTA and see if we can introduce this.
The film is available to anybody who wants to take this to a school or university or church organization and say “let’s help, what can we do as a group of people to help stop this thing in our community, locally?”
Kurt Wallace: Jaco, thanks for being with us today on Rare.
Jaco Booyens: Kurt, thank you and you’re an incredible blessing. You’re making a difference, thank you so much.