The Exodus Road: Thank you, Carl* and Robert*, for talking with us today about your recent experience as undercover operatives for The Exodus Road. We want to ask a few questions so others can get an idea of what it’s like to be an operative in Asia. So, let’s get started!
First, can you tell us about the vetting process and your preparation time?
Carl: Based upon my initial vetting, I was not sure what to expect. I had visions of very unknown territories, and I felt almost nervous. However, I was very pleased and not stressed at all. Of course, I have been to Asia three times now and was familiar with some of the places and areas.
I would rate the trip 10, and I’m looking forward to another deployment!
TER: Thanks! What feedback can you give us about your training in Asia?
Carl: I felt very equipped and comfortable. I loved practicing with the equipment and getting used to the environment.
Robert: One thing I liked about our first assignment was that we observed a target. With this assignment, it allowed us to ease into the work. … I believe this is important for first-time agents so they do not feel too overwhelmed.
TER: Did you feel safe during the investigations?
Carl: I always felt safe and felt everything was planned out well and executed well. I’m sure there was always more potential danger than most may have realized, but did feel like there was always an extra set of eyes and hands with us from a supernatural standpoint!
TER: How did you feel about your team of undercover operatives? Did you get along and work well together?
Robert: Great connection with the entire team. The morning debriefs were a great addition to the day. This allowed us to share and bond even more. Each agent was praised in front of the team, and I felt what we were doing is and will continue to make a difference.
TER: What were the biggest challenges you faced as an undercover operative?
Carl: It’s hard to explain. I have been on many mission trips, and I somewhat knew what to expect. But, when I actually walked in the houses selling 12-t0-16-year-old girls, I was so overwhelmed. I thought, “Yeah I’ve read about it, but here it is, right in front of me.” I wanted to weep, but I sucked it up and did what needed to be done. I don’t think a day has gone by where I have not wept over what I saw. I will be praying and remembering their faces often.
TER: What were the highlights of the trip for you? Or, what impacted you the most?
Carl: I would say the H-1* case has impacted me the most. I saw so many young girls, and I knew I got to go and sleep in a room about a half a mile away. But for the rest of that night and every night since, they have been sold. I know I was able to lay a brick by gathering new video footage. If I could complete the wall or be another part of it, I would fly back next week. … I’m so grateful for that opportunity and for the role I was allowed to play.
I would also say being able to sit and talk with a Ugandan trafficked girl was very eye opening. To transition from playing the role of a sex tourist to a man who cared and could actually speak life into her future was very rewarding.
Robert: The biggest highlight has been bonding with the team and making life-long friendships in a way most people never will. Watching the video and getting just the right screen capture is always very fulfilling for me. Having the opportunity to hand off cases to the police and see them agreeing with the team’s assessment was a big plus.
TER: Is there someone you met during your trip who you will never forget?
Carl: A little girl I saw and was able to record in the H-1 area. … She was maybe 12 years old or 13. I remember her smile and laughter as I tried to repeat her name and messed it up. She looked so innocent, and yet I won’t forget the things she had to do.
Robert: I did not get her name but there was a girl on the dance floor who was holding onto one of the poles and looked like if she could, she would melt into the pole and disappear. She wanted to be anywhere but where she was, and my heart broke knowing she couldn’t leave.
These responses have been edited for length, grammar and clarity.