Ex-SEAL rescues trafficked kids

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By Zoe Gabrielle –

Ex-Navy SEAL Joseph Travers was looking for a ministry to get involved with when he saw an article about a teenage girl sex-trafficked in upstate New York. God brought to his mind Isaiah 6:8:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

“Ok, that’s what I’m going to do now,” Travers said.

Who better than a former Navy SEAL to take on the evil malefactors of the world, exposing himself to danger and using police and military techniques to trap traffickers and save sex slaves?

The San Diego resident began Saved in America in 2009 and has recruited other former military and police to help understaffed law enforcement agencies track down victims.

Parents and authorities are grateful for this free service, says Summer Stephan, chief deputy district attorney in charge of San Diego County’s sex crimes and human trafficking division.

“We have about 5,000 sex trafficking victims annually in San Diego County,” she said on a Vice video. “We prosecute, between us and the federal government, about 100 cases a year. There are so many more victims. (Saved in America) can be very helpful because sometimes victims don’t trust police.”

Working as private investigators, Travers and his cohorts locate victims through leads on social media. But they lack state authority to kick down doors and arrest perpetrators, who sometimes get off the hook because police are cautious to not violate “probable cause” restrictions.

That was the case of Lily, a 14-year-old who ran away from home in Utah. Her mother, Ruth, despaired and went to police, who decided to not prioritize the search since Lily had left of her own volition. Ruth got in contact with Saved in America and they found Lily in two days. They called in police but no arrests were made. Lily returned home.

“I don’t want (anybody) else to go through what I went through,” Ruth said after Lily’s return.

Trafficking is a huge and largely ignored evil in America, a modern-day slavery that doesn’t get enough attention. The criminals like to peddle kids because it’s a non-stop flow of income.

“Once you sell drugs your product is gone,” Travers says. “But you can sell a child over and over again.”

It’s an issue that Christians are taking up in significant numbers.

“God paid the price for us 2,000 years ago on a wooden cross,” Travers observes.

He credits God for helping him rescue minors.

“We really don’t find the child,” Travers says. “God finds the child and tells us where to go.”

Saved in America’s website says they have four teams of special ops, five former police investigators, 12 retired special operators, seven social networking investigators, and two state firearms instructors. Saved In America has assisted in over 260 successful child recoveries since December 2014.

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About the writer of this article: Zoe Gabrielle studies at Lighthouse Christian Academy near Westchester in Los Angeles.