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Rescuing 5,000 Victims from Sex Traffickers with Paul Hutchinson, Founder of the Child Liberation Foundation

Paul Hutchinson

Paul Hutchinson, the primary investor and executive producer of the film Sound of Freedom which is a composite of various true stories, played a critical role in the rescue of over 120 victims in Colombia from child trafficking organizations.

That event inspired him to start the Child Liberation Foundation, an organization actively involved in the fight against child trafficking, a form of modern slavery which engulfs over 10 million children worldwide…. including in hundreds of US communities large and small. Paul has led or held a critical role in over 70 undercover rescue missions in 15 countries, and has contributed to or been directly involved in the rescue of over 5,000 children.

Paul started his career as the co-founder of Bridge Investment Group Partners, a US real estate firm which now has over $48 billion in assets under management and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange as BRDG. His interview also describes how Bridge attracted international investors and addressed their primary concerns.

Highlights:

{04:52} How to start a business and attract international investors.

{10:18} North American investors vs. international investors

{12:14} Stealing and Coning in business.

{14:58} The Child Liberation Fund

{17:55} Stories of children rescued.

{25:54} How to get the skills needed to rescue children from a trafficking network.

{31:39} Rehabilitating children after they are rescued.

{42:19} Threats against your life when you are fighting sex trafficking.

Paul Hutchinson bio:

Paul Hutchinson is the primary investor and Executive Producer of the film “Sound of Freedom” starring Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, Manny Perez, and Bill Camp. The film highlights the story of a former homeland security agent and the rescue of over 120 victims in Colombia from a child trafficking organization – one of the largest child rescues in history. Paul himself held a pivotal role in the rescue and, in the movie, his part is played by the well-known Mexican actor and producer Eduardo Verástegui.

In the years after that mission, Paul founded the Child Liberation Foundation, an organization actively involved in the fight against child trafficking, and has led or held a critical role in over 70 undercover rescue missions in 15 countries. In total, Paul has contributed to or been directly involved in rescuing over 5,000 children.

Prior to his child rescue work, Paul was a Co-Founder of Bridge Investment Group Partners. Bridge now has over $48 Billion in assets under management and is publicly traded on the NYSE as BRDG.

Paul is happily married to well-known Colombian actress Hada Vanessa and donates his spare time to local charities, civic organizations, political groups, and universities.

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Full Transcript

Editor’s note: To avoid algorithms blocking this immensely important story, certain words have been written with *** between the starting and ending letters.

Hello, everyone. Today’s guest has done some amazing work all over the world and I thought we would start with two very short bloopers … two very short signs for which the meaning of the words change according to the intonation and the word order.  

This is a prime example of why AI (artificial intelligence) does not always work well with language translations; AI is very literal and in this kind of context, you need cultural adaptation. One is a sign in a Nairobi restaurant that says very simply in English, “Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.” And the second is a sign in an Athens hotel that says, “Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 daily.”

With that, today’s guest is Paul Hutchinson. Paul is the primary investor and executive producer of the film Sound of Freedom, which is currently out in cinemas, certainly in the United States and probably all around the world. The film stars Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, Manny Perez, and Bill Camp. The film highlights the story of a former Homeland Security agent and the rescue of over 120 victims in Colombia from a child trafficking organization, one of the largest child rescues in history. Paul himself had a pivotal role in the rescue, and in the movie, Paul’s part – the wealthy Colombian financier of the trafficking resort island, established for a sting operation  – is played by the well-known Mexican actor and producer Eduardo Verástegui.

That’s correct. Eduardo Verástegui. He’s also the producer of Sound of Freedom.

In the years after that mission, Paul founded the Child Liberation Foundation, an organization actively involved in the fight against child trafficking, and he has led or held a critical role in over 70 undercover rescue missions in 15 countries. In total, Paul has contributed to or been directly involved in the rescue of over 5,000 trafficked children. 

Before his child rescue work, Paul was the co-founder of Bridge Investment Group Partners. Bridge now has over $48 billion in assets under management and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange as BRDG. 

Paul is happily married to the well-known Colombian actress Ada Vanessa and donates his spare time to local charities, civic organizations, political groups, and universities. 

Some of Paul’s other achievements include being the recipient of the 2022 International Medal of Freedom, as the International Commissioner for Human Rights,  a board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and he is recognized as one of the Enlightened 50 Top Innovators committed to the common good. 

Welcome, Paul. Delighted that you’re with us. It’s a tremendous honor. 

Thank you, Phillip. I’m excited to share this with your audience. 

So, you have two equally fascinating personalities. One is as an international real estate and businessman, and the other, which I’m sure is your true passion, is the head of the Child Liberation Foundation. So, let’s start with the career that supported you and from which you retired in 2017. And that’s the company you co-founded, Bridge Investment Group. 

Bridge has almost $49 billion of assets under management, which includes over 50,000 US apartment buildings and extensive senior housing complexes. It has investors from around the world. How did you start this business and attract international investors, a feat which most real estate companies have not accomplished? 

Well, it started in my early 20s. I had a successful marketing company, which I sold when I was 29 years old for a good amount of money. I started investing in real estate, and I realized if I didn’t hire a guy smarter than me, I was going to lose all my money in real estate. 

So, I put together some guys, in fact, like John Pennington, who had done a bunch of imports and exports, and he knew how to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s. I knew that I could make it rain, but I needed somebody to catch the water. Otherwise, everything turns to mud, so to speak.

And I started investing my own money. In the beginning, when you’re building an investment fund and you have zero credibility as we did, the only way o to be able to make it work is if you have to contribute a considerable amount of money of our own, and we would tell people, hey, you know,  we’re invested alongside you. We have a 16% preferred rate of return, and we didn’t take any management fees. So, in the beginning, we had no credibility, and it took a whole year to raise a couple of million dollars, and a big chunk of that was our own. 

And so, after that, we built the company when it was small to be able to support itself when it was big. We made sure that we had audited financials on everything that we were doing, so it was easy for people to see our track record and recognize what we were doing. 

And then beyond me and John, you know, I remember early on that we were in this little office; it was so small that we would bump elbows if we turned around at the same time together. John asked the question, how do you become a multibillion-dollar company?  Did you see it at the beginning? And he said no; he said he would be there making phone calls, trying to raise money for  $25,000 by Friday. And he said Paul would hang up on a call, and he would turn around and put his little pinky by his mouth and say, John, we’re going to be a billion-dollar fund someday, and John’s like Yeah, yeah. Paul, we just need $20,000 by Friday.

So, it’s about that visualization of where we wanted to be, which is what I had. And he created the structure to make sure that we were doing it right from the beginning. We had so many people who came to us and said, hey, Paul, you know you can do a lot easier if you don’t jump through all those hoops. You don’t have to get approved with the SEC and all this stuff. All that paperwork, all the money you’re putting into Legal, that’s money you could put in your pocket. And I’m like, no, I’m going to trust John on this. And he did it right. He did it right, right from the beginning. He made sure that the structure was in a place where we could grow.

From there the key to success was bringing on partners with credibility because, again, I had credibility as an entrepreneur. I did pretty well for my marketing company. He did pretty well in his import-export company, but we didn’t know anything about building a fund. I told him… John, I said I was going to get you an honorary doctorate. I have an honorary law degree. Just because he studied the legal stuff inside and out to make sure we had it right. 

Well, then I got a phone call from my friend. He said, “Paulie said you want to climb Kilimanjaro.” I’m like, Where’s that? He’s like, “,Africa’s… biggest, biggest mountain in Africa”. And I’m like, “Well, I haven’t even climbed Mount Olympus, and I can see that out my window. So why would I go climb some mountains in Africa? That doesn’t make any sense.” No, he said. Well, well, we’re leaving in about four months. You’ve got to. You’ve got to give up your Saturdays between now and then and train. And it’s going to cost you about $10,000 to go. And I’m like, Well then, hell no. Why would I? Why would I give up all my Saturdays, train, give up $10,000, and go climb a mountain in Africa?

He said, well, let me tell you what we’re doing, he said. I’ve handpicked 12 of the top business owners and CEOs internationally that I’ve worked with and trained with over the years, and he said that, and they’re all going to go together and clean them out and kind of get to know each other. And he starts reading down this list of people who were coming. And halfway through, I said, Travis was his name, and I said, ”Travis, when are we going again?”

Because I knew that by building relationships with that caliber of people, I was going to expand everything that I was trying to create in my life. It was so valuable, and so I’m like, Hell yeah, I’ll go climb a mountain and throw up at whatever I have to do to go meet these guys. And in doing so, we met some key people that we brought on that gave us credibility as we started building the fund. One of them had done over $3 billion in real estate development, international stuff, and a whole bunch of other things.

And so, Joe can say, Yeah, me and him; his name was Doug. We became really good friends, throwing up at about 19,000 feet on the mountain, and I took him to lunch every month for the next year. Brought him on as a partner. Now we started to have credibility, which I didn’t have before, and we could start going after the bigger thing, which in the beginning was armed combat. It was raising money. Yeah, a quarter million at a time and half a million at a time from high-net-worth investors took a lot of work.

After we started building credibility. Then we brought on some bigger players, which allowed us to go international. So that’s kind of the beginning of the Bridge, and from there, if you want, I can kind of tell you how we took it to an international stage. 

Well, let’s talk about what I’ll call the care and feeding of international investors. Do you have to treat them differently than you would treat North American investors?

Well, we did. Our international investors didn’t want to be subject to double taxation and things like that, so we set up vehicles and structures that allowed them to invest in the US through something like a Cayman Islands investment fund. 

And in doing so, they didn’t have to fill out tax paperwork and everything else in the US. The taxes were still paid. It was paid through the corporation and the Cayman Islands, and everything was taken care of legally there. That’s why they didn’t have to deal with all of that crap; they could handle all the taxes in their country as well. So yes, that was a big thing with the international investors. 

We also had to make sure that our fund was set up to be respected by international investors. You know, we had other funds in the area that chose a local bank as their carrier. You know, we chose Wells Fargo in the beginning and some bigger ones.

Our legal counsel could have gone with some local legal firms, but no, we used legal firms in New York and Hong Kong and guys that were respected internationally so that our investors would see that, and we would have the credibility to go big and go international. 

So those are all super important reasons to look at our strategy through the eyes of an international investor. What do they not want to have to deal with is double taxation and filling out U.S. tax returns and all this stuff. And what kind of things give us extra credibility with them; that was important as well. 

It makes perfect sense. One of the phrases or one of the things you’ve written is that you had various encounters with people who steal or con others in business transactions … and who think those actions are simply part of doing business. Could you elaborate on that and specify whether these practices are more prevalent in some countries than others? 

No, I’m not going to throw any specific country under the bus, but I will say there was a general culture with a number of our investors in Asia that was just different. It was different from the West in that some of them thought that this wasn’t like the whole country, but many of them thought that if they could finagle a business deal and put something in front of you that you didn’t know or do something that I wouldn’t think would be moral and ethical in business. In their minds, it wasn’t about being moral and ethical, it was about, Hey, I’m a better businessman if I can put this in front of you and have you not see it. And I can say, “Oh, look, I got away with that.” 

No, I don’t do business that way. I do business with people who have integrity right now. We did have a lot of great investors from Asia as well. With that, we were fantastic. And so, it wasn’t across the board, but I did notice that there was a larger number of them who just thought that that was a way of doing business that was out of integrity if we could steal some ideas. That’s just because you’re a better business owner. I don’t feel bad about stealing everything. That is bad. You’re out of integrity there.

 Very much so, and that’s critically important. And in other podcasts I’ve talked about what is the truth or what is accepted, and what’s considered truthful or honest in the West is just different in other countries; what is truthful elsewhere is simply what’s appropriate for the situation. 

Yeah, exactly.  

Now on to your true passion: liberating children. 

Your website says … and these numbers are horrendous and mind-boggling: 10 million children are sex trafficked worldwide; 152,000,000 are forced into child labor; and of those 152 million, 73,000,000 people are engaged in hazardous labor in 143 countries. 

You described the Child Liberation Foundation as an umbrella organization that funds recipient charities to do the various aspects of identification, rescue, and reintegration work. Could you describe how the CLF operates and the functions that your recipients perform? 

Yeah. So, for a long time, the Child Liberation Foundation … you to go to liberatechildren.org and get some more information there. But for a long time, it was just a place where I put some of my own money, and it was funding some of the rescue missions that we did internally and things that we were doing to help other organizations. 

As we started to grow, we found more and more foundations that were doing great work … guys that were way more qualified than me; guys that were former Navy seals; Green Berets; and former, three-letter, agency-type workers that left their government jobs and wanted to dedicate their skills to fight trafficking in whatever way they could.

And so, as I identified these groups and these men and women who were fighting the good fight and doing such a great job, it was important that we could use my money and others’ to help fund their operations as well. We have a couple right now. One has a whole team of dark web forensic guys that go in and take down child porno sites, expose people who are doing these horrible things to children, and work with law enforcement on that. 

We have some other guys who are actively taking down pedophile rings right now. I have guys that have averaged 15 to 20 pedophiles a month every month for the last number of months. And they’re training law enforcement on how to find these guys, how to take them down, and how to get them off the streets so that we can keep children safe. 

Realize this: You can go rescue a child and, yes, make a huge difference in the life of that child. Or you can also arrest a pedophile. And save 10, 20, 30, even up to 100 children that that person could be affecting over their lifetime. So, getting them off the street and getting them to a place where they’re not going to harm innocents is a vital part of this fight. 

It’s like taking down the suppliers instead of just the buyers. 

Your stories are extremely impactful, and I don’t want you to repeat the story of the movie Sound of Freedom, but could you give us some stories about children whom you personally or your associates have rescued?

Yeah, there are a lot of them. We were in a country in Latin America, and we had worked our way up to the Head of the Dragon on this trafficking ring, who, through all of his connections, was trafficking hundreds and hundreds of children.

And so, getting in contact with him and his cell phone number. As I was undercover… at turning that over to the federal authorities, they were able to track his cell phone and find all of the different rings that he was associating with and get information as to their locations as well, which was just fantastic. And then he ended up bringing 23 children to a sex party. And of those, there were representatives from other rings that he was working with. And one of these other rings was working with some American children.

There was a little 13-year-old American girl who had been touring around Latin America with her sister who was 17, got wrapped up with some of these bad guys, and they ran out of money down there, and so they told this little girl, “Hey, you know, you start working for us and we’ll give you the extra money you need.” And they gave her drugs and then brought her into the trafficking ring. That happens all the time.

We’ve had many, many different situations where we met children who were being sold by their babysitter, by their mother, or by their uncle. Your listeners need to understand that it’s not just the children that are being abducted and taken on a container ship across the ocean to another country.

No, this is the kind of thing that happens in your own house, in your neighborhood, and it happens all the time. People think that the trafficking is the kids that are moved to another country. The majority of children that are being sold for sex, sleep in their beds at night; they’re being sold by a family member, and their parents don’t even know sometimes.

Some things that will happen are that one of these perpetrators will take a nude picture online and put the face of this young 12- to 13-year-old girl on it. So, it looks like she’s naked, and then they use that as coercion. They’ll say, “Oh, look at this. We’ve got this picture of you naked, and we’re going to send it to your dad. We’re going to send it to your church unless you send us some more other pictures.” And if you send us more now, they have real pictures, and then they say, “Now we’re going to send these to authorities unless you come and perform this sex act.” And now they’ve got a video of her.

And so, it’s all just fear and control until they’ve got these young women and even older ones that are unfortunately being trafficked and whose families don’t even know about it.

And you mentioned that this happens right under our noses. I remember when I lived in San Francisco, there was a trafficking ring that the police uncovered just a few blocks from where I was living. And  one doesn’t know what’s going on in the neighbors’ houses—you know, innocent houses just down the street. These horrible situations could be happening anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world.

Absolutely, yeah. It happens more often than people think. The reality is that one out of every four women that you know has been a victim of sexual violence as a child: for women as a whole, it’s somewhere between 40 and 50% minimum. It’s probably higher that sometime in their life they’ve been victims of sexual violence, and with men, it’s a little bit lower.

But still, it’s estimated that over 200 million men under the age of 10 have been sexually abused. And the average age of somebody coming out and saying this happened to me is 52 years old.

They’ve lived there. My whole life holding on to this trauma and not allowing it to release. I’m 52. I do have grandchildren. You know, I’ve already raised my kids. If people are holding on to that trauma for that long, then it’s affecting so many areas of their lives. And we must have these conversations with people so that they can open up. They can shed that pain and come to a place where they can heal from it.

Well, the largest sexual abuse scandal, of course, is with the Catholic Church. But it’s not just the Catholics; it’s in many churches, and I presume you’ll confirm that it’s sometimes just relatives. Many times, it’s their uncles, and other male relatives who may do this to them … male or female members of the family.

Yeah, it’s super prevalent, and it’s not just men who are perpetrators. This is what people misunderstand as well. A lot of traffickers, and a large percentage, more than you would think, of the traffickers that are selling children are female.

And so, you would think that this is just a male-dominated thing. But it happens everywhere. And It’s something we have to understand. There’s this cultural degradation that’s taking us away from our moral compasses. That is, we’re making it so that we’re objectifying women and we’re objectifying each other, and we’re coming from a place where we think that it’s OK to control or dominate in some way. 

I mean, even things like por **** phy. Now, everybody who’s watching this right now has probably seen por **** phy. It doesn’t mean you’re going to become a ped***ile, but every single one of these guys we arrested started with a por **** phy addiction. What happens is that for some of them, it’s like a drug, and they need something harder to have that same fix. 

 

And for some of them, harder is more grotesque, like rape videos or whatever. And for some of them, harder is a little bit younger. And pretty soon, they’re fantasizing about things they wouldn’t even think were attractive five years ago. And then they act out these horrific fantasies.

This is the evil we need to fight, and we need to change our perceptions of ourselves, change our perceptions of each other, and come to a place where we can heal from the trauma of our past so that that never ends up coming out in forms of physical abuse, verbal abuse, anger issues, or even, in some cases, passing that trauma on in terms of sexual abuse of others. That’s what we have to do to help people heal. 

 You spoke about men and how they would usually start with simple por *** phy. What about the women traffickers? 

I found that the traffickers, the ones that are selling the children, actually came from that life themselves. They were trafficked, and then instead of getting killed off as an organ harvesting thing or whatever else, they end up perpetuating the problem. And you would think that it caused so much pain in them that they wouldn’t want to cause that pain in others. But it’s the only life they know.

And unfortunately, it comes with an insatiable demand. Hundreds of millions of people are pursuing these kinds of things and are in demand when it comes to human trafficking. That’s what we need to fix because otherwise there are always going to be people who are going to supply that demand.

Undercover missions, such as the ones that you’ve often undertaken, require the equivalent of spy craft, financial and physical resources on the ground, logistics about infiltration and transport, potentially masquerading as a different identity, safe houses, and a lot more. 

I presume you did not attend the CIA school. So how did you learn all these different skills? And how did you learn to pull these elements together to accomplish an extraction?

We had really good teams that had been trained in a lot of that stuff. You know, one of my mentors early on undercover had been working for the US government in the CIA for over 14 years and was teaching some members of our team things to look for and how to work through them.

So yeah, I had the least amount of training from a lot of these guys, but I could bring a lot of resources, and unfortunately, Philip, the reason why it was effective for me and some of my other operators to do this is that I came from a place of financial security. 

You know, you think of the Jeffrey Epsteins of the world who, you know, had plenty of money and a huge ego. And that’s the kind of people these traffickers are looking for. They’re looking for guys with really big, arrogant egos and big check books. They think that they can do whatever they want with their money and their time, and some of them have gone down this dark road of controlling other people, mismanagement of their sexuality, even in their relationships, and then they go down a deep, dark road of engaging in these horrible activities with trafficked women and children. 

When you’re entering these incredibly dangerous situations, do you notify our embassies first as a kind of security measure? I wanted to ask whether you involve the local police, but police in many countries are corrupt themselves, and they facilitate the exploiters and the traffickers.  

Well, it is important to know that we don’t go into a country and just say, OK, we’re going to be big Rambo and just, go find these kids. No, we start with meeting with the vetted US connections in the area, people who were part of the FBI or CIA who had connections there, and the embassy in the area.

And from there, we identify top leaders in the federal police or the government in that country that we can truly trust. Because you’re right, there are a lot of people who are underpaid in the police forces in these small towns that are part of the problem, and so you don’t want them to know that you’re there undercover because you might get shot.

And so we do have a full authorization, and we’ll go in and say, “Listen, we want to work with you under your laws. We need to understand very clearly what we can and can’t say and what we can and can’t do, because really, we’re here working for you.” And this is what we’ll say to the head of the federal police, and we’ll say, “We will pay for everything. We will do all the work. We’ll find all these traffickers, and we will bring them to you on a silver platter, so to speak. And that you do the arrest. Arrest us as well. The bad guys will think that we’ve been extradited to the US to stand trial.

And all we ask is that the bad guys stay in jail for good. And #2, that we have full access to the kids and can get them, rehabilitate them, and return them to their families. We’ll give you all the credit; your people will think you’re heroes, and we’ll do a bunch of training so that your teams will know how to handle this with or without us once we’re gone.”

So that’s the key to success. We can’t just be a bunch of Rambos running around and finding these kids. No, this is a coordinated effort with trusted people in these countries. These are good men and women who work in law enforcement, usually on the federal level, and make sure that we have their blessing when we come in and help them identify the kids that are in their country being trafficked. 

That’s a fascinating and wonderful model: Give credit to the local authorities, and don’t take it yourself, so that they feel empowered. And then, obviously, I presume that their populations trust them to do the right thing.

Well, what’s so interesting is that you know, I won’t tell the details of the mission in the movie, but after that mission in real life, I went back down for about two months and met with the Brigadier General, the top military official in the area. And he got visibly emotional when he saw me, and he gave me this huge hug, and he said that there’s never been a US organization that has done better for the children in our country than what that foundation did and what you guys did. You guys didn’t take any credit? 

We couldn’t. We were undercover.

He said, “The media picked up the story and announced that Colombian federal officials arrested 20 traffickers, 20 to 25 traffickers, and 20 Americans and rescued over 100 children.” And the good people of Colombia rose and said, “Yeah, this is what we want.”  

And it created motivation, so those agents did five additional stings without our help over the next couple of months. We rescued hundreds of more children, and we had some teams that went back in to see if they could find any other children being sold, like a few months later, and these guys said, and all the guys on the street were like, no, no, didn’t you hear? Didn’t you hear that the Feds arrested all these guys who were selling kids? They even arrested all those Americans. You better not say anything. You know? They said you couldn’t. They’ve closed it down. You can’t buy children in Colombia anymore. We’re like, Yeah, that’s how you fix a problem right there.  

That’s amazing. That’s fantastic. 

After you rescue the children, do you keep them in the hostage country for rehabilitation and trauma counseling, or do you have dedicated rehabilitation centers in certain other countries?

It depends if the children were reported abducted from another country, then, of course, we get them back to their families. It’s easy to find where they came from. Sometimes the parents were involved; you know, half the children that were rescued in Southeast Asia and the Thailand area were sold by their own families. And in that kind of situation, you don’t want to return them to a family that’s going to sell them again. 

But we’ve also found that just taking kids out of hell and putting me into a new hell isn’t going to fix it, right? There are a lot of broken systems out there, and the foster care program in the US is a broken system.

And so, the goal is to get these kids into a healthy environment, preferably with a family… a family that can give them the love and support they need. One of the sister foundations that the Child Liberation Foundation helps, supports, and works with is out of Guatemala, and they have helped thousands of victims recover, and their model is beautiful. 

Their model is that they have this beautiful piece of property. They’ve got a farm with the chicken coops and greenhouses, et cetera. And then they have wealthy donors that want to come and help with what they’re doing that will come and build, pay for, and build something like a small house with three or four bedrooms and whatnot, but then they find a family and maybe a mom and a dad and a child that are too poor to live where they are, and they say, listen, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to give you a home. And we’re going to give you a job working here on the farm, and we’re going to give you three more children, right?

So, and then we’ll help pay for everything. And you’ll have therapists. and a psychiatrist there. But we need a loving mom and dad to be able to help some of these traumatized children work through some of their issues and feel loved and accepted. 

And so, it is beautiful to create this way better environment than just a random safe house and whatever for the kids but giving them that healthy environment with the mom and dad there. So just some little things about the different places we’re working with the Child Liberation Foundation.

Right now, one of our projects is what we call Liberating Wings. And Liberating Wings, or the Healing Wings Project, will take existing safe houses where the children have been brought in.  They may not have the same model that they had in Guatemala, but they’ve got beds, psychiatrists, and some people are helping them, but they don’t have a place to expand their creativity, their talents, and their gifts, and focus on healing as well.

And so, we’re building extensions on those facilities… called it a liberating wing. You know, an extension, but it is just a room; you know, it’s a room with sound and some art-type things in there, and a place where they can learn some different skills. And so there are things that we can do to help them truly heal as they work through some of these issues and learn new skills. So, they don’t end up growing up and not knowing what to do with their lives. 

It’s amazing.

Are there… I’ll call it a rehabilitation farm. In other parts of the world, are there similar situations as in Guatemala? 

Yeah, we’re expanding that model right now. Now that I’m done doing undercover, we’re putting a lot of our resources into expanding the vision and scope of the Child Liberation Foundation. And so that’s something that’s our full-time focus. 

Wonderful! Assuming that the parents are loving and did not sell their children into slavery, at what point after rescue do you notify the parents that their children have been saved? 

As soon as we can find them for sure, that’s an important part of finding those parents and seeing really what was going on. We had one recently, but it wasn’t recently. It was a few years ago in Acapulco that this girl was being sold. She was 13 and was sold by her aunt. The aunt was working with the traffickers. The aunt… the mom had no idea that this little girl was being babysat by her aunt, who was showing her por **** phy and telling her, Oh, your daughters, you know, I mean, she was telling this little girl, you’re going to lose your virginity sometime anyway, you’ll lose it to these Americans, who will pay a couple hundred. She was charging us thousands of dollars for this child. And you know, grooming her to be trafficked.

So of course, that mother was notified immediately because, as you know, she had no idea what was going on. That aunt was booked into prison. And so, yeah, as soon as we can find the kid’s parents, we’re getting her back to them. 

And I assume you ask the children whether the parents were collaborating in the trafficking and selling of the child?

Yeah, sometimes the kids don’t even know. There’s probably more work that needs to be done to find out really what’s going on with that. So yeah, the therapists handle all of that stuff with the kids, finding out where they came from and what their background was. 

I mean, we had a child recently. She was originally in Ecuador. Her mother died when she was 8 years old. Her father was a raging alcoholic, and so they took her to live with her uncle. At 8 years old, by the time she was 10, her uncle was raping her, and she told the family that they didn’t believe her. 

And so, by the time she was 12 or 13 years old, you know, she’s been being raped at home by her uncle, who’s supposed to be her protector. The traffickers notice her behaviors at school, and they start grooming her and convincing her to go with this one trafficker, who convinces her to leave and go with him to Peru and buys her a ticket to Peru. 

They went to Peru, and then he took away her passport, bought her some sexy clothes, took away her phone, and said, here’s what you’re going to be doing. And you need to bring in $1000 a day by prostituting your body; otherwise, you’ll get beat up. She ended up having to do that for a couple of years. She got beat up a few times, and the last time was so severe that she was in the hospital.

And so, then the authorities were called, and we were able to identify where she had come from and where they were selling her all of this stuff. In that situation, where did she go? You know, you don’t want to go home and send the child back to her alcoholic father or her raping uncle, right? It’s super sad. How many of these kids come from these horrible situations at home and go, you know, out of the boiling pot into the fire, so to speak? You know, it’s going from bad to worse. And getting trafficked is what’s going on. 

Can you tell us any other rescue stories? 

Oh, I have lots of those. We have lots of them. There’s a documentary called Operation Tucson that talks about the rescue that we did in Haiti. Thirty four children were there in Haiti, and no,  you were not going to see me there because I was still undercover at the time. And I didn’t need to be known to the world. You’ll see me a couple of times. My face is blurred, and I’m laughing with the traffickers.

I had been under deep cover for months. I’ve been to Haiti several times. I wanted to cut the head off the dragon and make sure it wasn’t even coming back. And so, in doing so, found all these traffickers, and one of them, at the end of that documentary, you’ll see this little girl that’s holding this teddy bear. She’s 14 years old. She was taken when she was 7. 

Her parents were killed in the earthquake in Haiti, and nobody even knew she was alive. She was being sold for $20 many times a day for sex for seven years. First, I was the first person to find her. I went and worked my way up to what we call a Level 3 trafficker. These are the guys who physically hold the children in captivity, and it was me, one of my operators, and this female trafficker who we were introduced to. She sticks this key in this door, opens it up, and the first thing I see is a dirt hallway. It was dark and dimly lit, and there were multiple cell doors down the left-hand side. No windows, no other access. She opens up one of these cell doors. I see that it’s not even a bed. It’s concrete… I mean, it’s a steel plank held to the wall with a chain.

And so, it could fold up in this 6-foot diameter room and dirt floor. To the left of that was a concrete block. And this little girl was sitting on that concrete block. She looks up, like this happens all the time, with this blank look in her eyes. That child didn’t speak for two weeks after we rescued her. And from what I was told, the very first words she said were, “I didn’t think anybody would come.” She had given up hope seven years earlier. 

Yes, of course

So, she was rescued with 34 more children. She’s now in a healthy home, learning to dance… back to school. So yeah, there are so many just like that. 

Incredible work that you’re doing. What else would you like our listeners and subscribers to know about your mission, and how you accomplish it?

Well, first of all, I’d love for you guys to follow me on social media. You can just type in Liberating, and I’ll be the first one that comes up. Liberating.humanity is what I’m under on Instagram and Facebook, and everything is under liberating humanity. It’s a little dot in between liberation and humanity. 

So, if you just type in liberating, I’ll come up, or you can go on the website and get some resources to keep your family safe and things that you can do to help heal and learn more.

You can find us liberating and then a hyphen or a dash, liberate-humanity.com will get you a lot of great information and things that you can do to keep your family safe, or if you want to donate. Either there or directly to the Child Liberation Foundation, and there are links on liberating humanity that should get you to the Child Liberation Foundation. Or you can go directly to liberatechildren.org. So do that, and together, we as a global community can eradicate child trafficking. 

And all of your contact information and the websites that you’ve mentioned, will also be under your bio on the podcast link itself so people can go there and do it. 

Have there been … well, I shouldn’t ask if there have been any, but I presume there have been threats to your personal life over the years. 

It’s not entirely safe being in this space, but you know, we, all of us, know how to handle ourselves, and I believe in God. And I was protected face-to-face with these horrible people. And I think that we’ll be continuing. I know that we’ll continue to be protected in that way. And so, yeah, the actor who played me in the movie, Eduardo Verástegui, got threatened just a few weeks ago. Someone threatened him. So yes, it does happen. And it happens a lot. 

So, we’re fighting evil face-to-face with the most evil people that would sell children. We’re fighting that. But there are so many good people in this world who are getting behind this movement that I know that we’re going to win. 

Absolutely. This has been an extraordinary Global Gurus interview with Paul Hutchinson, and I thank you so much for joining us and sharing your stories, and for the extraordinary, marvelous, unbelievable work that you have done and continue to do for humanity. It is a great honor to know you. 

Thank you.  

Thank you, Philip. I enjoyed spending time with you and saying hello to your audience.

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