tv Sex Slaves MSNBC August 26, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
i told him she should have called me, i would have done it for free. >> working alongside kat is dottie laster. >> we're unlikely partners. i'm justice, she's jesus. >> dottie and kat have joined forces to rescue and extract trafficked victims working in houston hotels, motels and massage partners. >> to document kat and dottie's initial inch actions with the women the team sets up hidden cameras. >> hey, amy? >> hi. >> hey. these are friends. >> hi. >> hi. >> no. they're not police. not at all. nobody's going to have -- we bought your time. >> the most lucrative victims for pimps or traffickers unfortunately are young. >> i was 14 and they found me,
took me home and put me in the back and had sex with me and beat me. oh, my god, it was horrible. >> girls are beaten, starved and their family members killed in order to make them go do things they wouldn't do. >> a lot of the tricks are there to have sex with the girls and a lot of girls are called to rob them, beat them, kill them, whatever. >> hey, come here. hi. >> i've in the gang and in the streets by the time i was 8. >> it came about a month early.
>> are you playing with me or did that happen? >> i'm so sorry. >> over the the years, dottie and kat have come into contact with hundreds of young women and girls. many refuse their help. undeterred, they continue to seek out victims and bring them to safety. elija rising is a non-profit christian ministry dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of trafficked women and children. its team members specialize at first identifying victims and then helping in the critical first 48 hours after their rescue to transition them out of what's known as the life. >> we have an operation called back page outreach and so that's where we contact girls.
>> a prostituted woman to come into our hotel room. >> and act like i want to purchase sex. >> and so once she walks in the door our undercover guy kind of tells you straight up. hey, look, we have kat and dottie talk with her and try to get her to exit tonight. >> elija rising operates independently of law enforcement, but always within the strict boundaries of the law. they offer victims a safe escape without the fear of entrapment. ♪ >> it's december 2013. dottie and kat are about to spend a week trying to give trafficked sex slaves the best christmas gift ever. their freedom. the team is planning for a motel-based rescue on houston's bizzenette avenue. security personnel must be on their toes. they briefed the team for tonight's mission. scott, a weapons and tactical instructor who trains lauchl
agents heads up a four-person security squad which he has positioned strategically throughout the property. >> remember, this is a very, very dangerous part of town. a lot of bad things happen. >> so we surround the building, north, south, east and west in cars and we have eyes on the building. >> everybody maintain your situational awareness and keep your eyes open and ears open. now, primary alpha escape plan will be two, if we grab a girl and she agrees to go with us is to immediately go down the hallway and take a right turn down this door, go down the hallway and to the fire escape and go down the stairs. >> lock and load. >> i like to work with daniel because he doubles as security and fake john. >> my background is i was in the united states marine corps for five years and i also have three children, three daughters and this hits real, real close to my heart.
>> the team scours the internet for vulnerable girls and young women. >> one possible victim, a girl who calls herself kimmy. >> she advertised on the back page that she was 4'4" and the photo that she posted was of her sitting on the bed and her feet didn't even reach the floor. >> good evening. i was trying to see if you would like to hang out? >> you're available? do you have any idea that might be? because i have to go back to a meeting this evening. [ indiscernible ] >> now? >> okay. that would be great. >> to document kat and dottie's initial interactions with the women, the team sets up hidden cameras. these cameras allow a rare and unvarnished glimpse into the dangerous underworld of sex trafficking.
♪ >> hey, how are you? come on in. >> hey, my darling. >> hey. >> it's okay. nobody's in trouble. >> oh, my god -- >> we want to pay you. >> would you like your money? >> we're not cops. i promise. we just want to talk to you. we just want to make sure you don't have to have sex for an hour. here, take the money. come get your money and if you want something to snack on. you can take the money either way, but we just wanted to -- to make it so that you don't have to have sex for this hour. we're here to help people not to do anything that would hurt you at all. my name is kat. >> my name is dottie. >> dottie and kat. >> we bought for your hour and you're welcome to sdpa do nothing if you'd like. >> have a nice evening.
>> she stood there for a minute. >> that was the jacked up encounter that i've had. i've been here since 2007 and that was straight-up jacked up. she was about up to there with daniel. >> someone was -- and it just melted and if we can just shut the phone off and it just killed me because we had her for a second. ♪ >> when i get emotionally connected i get really pissed. she cries and i just get pissed. >> according to the fbi the average age at which a girl enters prostitution is 12 or 18. many of the girls are victims of physical and sexual abuse. suspicious that kimmie may be underage and in danger, cat alerts the police and provides
them with her detailed description. ♪ >> the department of justice estimates pimps control nearly 90% of all prostituted women and children in the united states. if they go against their handler's direction, women and girls often risk brutal punish am. fearing fizz will cal and emotional retaliation from their pimps, many trafficked victims dottie and kat encounter refuse their help. kat french and the elija rising team work 24/7 to uncover the secrets of houston's illegal sex trade. today kat visits a brothel recently busted by the authorities. >> that was probably more heinous than i wanted to see or that i expected. i've seen pictures of the red light districts in india, and in
cambodia and that compared to it. >> creepy. inside this atrium area there were cages, but you could tell they weren't for animals. there was four to six of them in there. i have my graduate degree in sossology so i was always at least academically connected with, of social inequality and around 2007 it dawned on me that virtually every issue of jeopardy and oppression that is sustained by women you can find it in the commercial sex trade, and so that's how i wound up here. >> dottie laster has spent a decade dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of trafficked victims. after obtaining degrees in sociology and relations, she's working with law enforcement and
govern am agencies across the u.s. >> i've met too many who are pitted at age 12, 11, 15. my youngest victim was 3.>> i've that was in houston. ♪ >> during one of their hotel rescue a temps, kat and dottie meet london, a young call girl. ♪ >> how old are you? >> 18. >> 18. that's so young. wow! >> paying bills. >> yeah, i'm stressed. what makes it stressful other than just doing it? >> the clients. >> tell me about them, i mean -- >> obsessive, ones that get crazy ones. >> when you said you had some really difficult customers, what do you see?
>> last time i had an african dude, he, like, followed me out the room. he was taking me back to england with him and he had a long, black cape on and his face was edward cullen white and i ran out of the hotel at the same time and he was, like, i love you. you don't know me. i've been looking at your picture since monday. it can't get no worse. that's the way i look at it and try to think positive so positive things will happen. ♪ >> we didn't get her the first time, i'm, like, no, this girl is not where she wants to be, obviously. so we thought maybe she was a viable candidate for an extraction so we contacted her again the second night. >> unaware kat and dottie have set up another meeting, london arrives at the hotel for what she thinks is a date with a new client. >> looks like you may have company.
>> copy. >> she's here. ♪ >> hey, how are you? hi. >> come on in. >> are you going to sleep? thinking about it. are you sleepy? [ laughter ] >> wow! >> you all look crazy. >> you girls are crazy. >> i know. we're crazy. crazy for you. hang out with us. >> what did you think about last night? today? >> it wasn't last night. >> it was just last fight. >> for real? >> wait, what's today? >> tuesday. >> it was monday night. >> i don't know the days anymore. >> what day did you feel like it was? >> friday. >> she seem commed fortable at first and she was very comfortable talking to us about nothing and we started talking
about what we could do to had her out. >> i know you didn't ask, but if you had asked what it would be like to leave the life tonight we would exit the side door fire escape and whoever it was that dropped you off wouldn't see. >> you could see her, she just clammed up. she was quiet and she started fidgeting with her hands. you could tell she was nervous. >> i want to be independent. ♪ >> despite their efforts, dottie
and kat are unable to convince london to go with them. she leaves in a car with a man who may be her pimp. ♪ ♪ >> i've been nothing, but mad this whole night. this job makes me mad. >> it's more irritating. >> the more i press the issue of getting her started on a new life the more she shut down and stopped talking to us. >> she thought we saw her a week ago. her day, 24 hours feels like a week. >> she was wearing the same clothes she wore. did you notice that? >> kat doesn't give up and texts london. >> you -- we are not giving up on you. pack a go bag and i'm going to go find london. everyone go home and go to bed. i'm going to find london. i'm going to find a way.
♪ kat french and dottie laster make a second attempt to rescue a trafficked victim named london. despite high hopes, the team fails to extract the young girl again. they call it a night. but soon awake to unexpected news. >> this is -- yeah. this is my excited face. the last thing i texted her driving away, we are not giving up on you. pack a go bag and text when you're ready. i will be there in 30 minutes. ♪ ♪ >> i woke up and i was getting a text. it said i'm ready, and so i immediately tried to scramble the team because there was an extraction.
>> yes, this morning. i don't even have time to reflect because we're going to meet london again. i was, like, thank you! the team convenes for an important security briefing prior to their rendezvous with london. scott, head of security outlines the detailed game plan for a safe extraction. >> when we get to this location i know everybody will want to jump out and run in there. be cautious. walk slow. >> i don't want to scare her either. >> put her at ease and we'll watch what's going on. >> fairly thin, black male approximately 6 feet tall is what i guessed from the backseat. watch for him, he'll have eyes on you immediately. >> once the girl agrees to go we have protective rights to keep her from acquiring her. we will put protective barriers up and most likely he'll back down and they usually do. >> we convened at the rally point. daniel, the driver, me ask
dottie in the white van which will be the pickup van. the whole time london was texting back and forth. >> no, i need $1500 and then i said, where can i find you? >> i assumed that it was just about the money and it was not her talking. >> i would say it's about 50% chance that it's a setup. but there is a 50% that it's not a setup. >> it's a game and unfortunately we're playing our par of the game to get her to have another chance to leave. after repeated texas, london asked dottie and kat to meet her at a nearby mark, fearing this could be a setup, the team arrives with added undercover security. >> the most important is to keep everybody safe and we're here to be that buffer and that shield and i'll be miked up. i'll have an earpiece in this ear and an earpiece in this ear and i hear what's going on. if something bad happens i can
rush in and save somebody or protect somebody. >> as soon as we pull up with the place and i'm looking at ins and outs and where do i need to stop so i can just get out of there. >> kat and dottie arrive for their rendezvous. >> we got out and we go and she's not there. >> she didn't show, and i kept eyes on where kat and dottie went inside this little market and she wasn't there and then phone conversations or text messaging to kat was that she was close and across the street, and we moved to a better position to get a better shot on what happened. >> as the team waits, they keep a close eye on the people around them. >> we had some dicey, kind of high-alert situations in the parking lot. >> we saw a guy in some army fatigues acting way too animated. >> he walked right by the van,
really six inches from the van looking in the van and hollering about something on the phone. >> i'm feeling a little vulnerable right now. >> let's go. >> they're together. >> but he didn't hurt us. >> but i think they knew that we had other people around. >> and, so we waited a few more minutes and then london appears. >> she said she sees me and she's coming down. >> the the girl didn't come out of building that she'd said she was in. she actually came from across the street and that's when she was spotted and we all had eyes on her. >> we got her. ♪ ♪ >> and i saw her little body across the street. >> she was walking really, really slow which told me that she was extremely scared.
♪ ♪ ♪ >> and when she greeted me she gave me a hug, and i held on to her. i let her know i meant it. and then she said i just need the money. >> and i was, like, oh, they sent her. she's not free. >> and i said i'm not an atm machine. we wanted to keep that as a budget for you to start your new life. and she knew what we were saying, but she's on the phone receiving instructions. >> head down, covering her face. she didn't look at kat and dottie, but for a split second. >> this is money for you to leave not to give you and you go back. she said, i understand, and i thought we had her for a moment
and then they pull out and they'd been watching the whole time. >> that's the one from last night. >> i was -- in a position where i really couldn't see one of them very well and i pulled forward and i could see how many we had and how many individuals we might have to take care of. >> as london heads for the car, kat decides to take matters into her own hands. >> i don't know exactly what they said, but it got heated really quick. the guy is getting all agitated. he was just ugly and agitated. he was yelling something, and i didn't pay attention to. >> you don't know what they've got inside that vehicle. it was a risky move. it is extremely dangerous to confront these people. there their is their property. they're criminals. >> scott, and the guys are you control her. the more you tell her, the more she'll go into it. kat is the wild card and just wings it, basically and the
reason that we're here is to try to make sure that as she gets wild and out of control that nothing bad happens. we're there to protect her. >> she got in the car and just for just a nanosecond i was just, kind of perplexed and just kind of reeling about the whole situation. >> london is in the backseat with this little tiny child, maybe 4, 3, and i'm waving, come on, london, and she rolled the window back up and blew me a little kiss. >> she's not going? >> she's not going. ♪ ♪ >> you know what is interesting? the team thought that i was behaving in an emotional, irrational way and i was running recklessly into danger, and i wasn't. it was strategic, um, because i was trying to create some tension that would hopefully resolve in london making a choice.
>> kat french and dottie laster experts in the rescue and rehabilitation of sexually trafficked women have been unable to secure a successful rescue the entire week. >> i stay motivated when these aren't successful or we have setbacks because you just can't lose hope. as long as you've got hope, you've got momentum and you've got possibility. ♪ the team sets up their next operation at a motel near houston's airport. >> it looks nice and after dark pretty much anything happens. >> we had no idea it was going to be so busy out there. >> i saw your ad in the back
page, and he had trouble scheduling them. can i meet you tonight? >> she's on the line with somebody. >> we were desperate, actually, everybody got on a phone and after 20 calls we had two respond. >> all right. no problem. bye. >> once again, to capture these encounters, hidden cameras are used to gain a glimpse into the dark underworld of trapped and trafficked sex slaves. this meeting was with a young woman who calls herself asia. >> oh, hey. >> hello. >> what's going on? >> hey. sorry for the pretense. >> it's okay. >> we need your help with something. >> what? that's why we invited you in. >> okay. that's fine. we don't want to scare you.
>> what's your age? how old are you? >> 18. >> 18. were you nervous when you walk on the door? >> yeah. i didn't want to knock on the door. i'm still in high school and i'm graduating this year. so, yeah. >> where is your parents? >> um, well, my dad, i don't talk to him so i don't know where he is, but my mom, she's at home. >> does she know about all of this? me, not really, but i don't live with her because i was molested by her husband. i stay with my brother and sister. >> so your sister was doing this and then you had to stay with them? what if you -- what if you just quit right now?
what if you came to a safe place and let your brother and sister go on home and start a new life? >> i don't know. >> we can make it happen right now. >> as dottie and kat chat up asia, security spots another young woman pulling up to the hotel. dottie interrupts her conversation to get an update. >> i noticed some activity i'm, like, what? just tell us. the other girl's here. >> the girl in the backseat, she's getting out of car. looks really young. she's coming in. >> the target vehicle that pulled up had two male occupants and one female. most likely they were armed. >> if they get out of the car i need you to walk over there and write down the plate number and take the picture with your phone if you have to. >> the second woman knocks on the door. her street name is cocoa. >> and she came in, and i'm, like, she's 14. she's a kid. >> nobody's law, nothing.
please, have a seat. we have some treats and candy. >> we're having a cheat pizza party here. >> you can tell we're okay, can you vouch for us? we're okay? >> asia takes on the role of unpaid spokesperson for elija rising. >> we're still going to pay you. okay? >> okay. second, if you want to stop doing what you're doing, you can stop, like, right now and they'll take you somewhere, but everybody -- whatever you want to accomplish, you can do that and they will take you to the exit right here and, like, they have people here so nobody will come up and do anything to you. >> it was really -- this girl gave us credibility. >> so tell me, cocoa, when you knock on every door, what does it feel like? >> when i came to your door i heard women in the background and i was, like, okay. i guess they want a m menay twa.
>> how about we go get your clothes and your baby right now? >> it's not that easy because, like, my clothes is in one spot in a house with another hotel that i have to go get and i have my baby at my mom's house. >> if you want to get yourself out. >> we'd be happier if you got yourself out right now because we're set. >> i have to do -- i can't get out safely. >> i know, and we don't want to push something -- >> either now, tomorrow, cocoa >> what's wrong? >> what's wrong with your tooth? >> then as kat and dottie are talking, cocoa begins shaking uncontrollably.
>> my tooth is bothering me. >> oh, i know. >> you were shaking so much. >> what can we do, sweetie? you're stressed in every way possible. >> do you have a blood pressure thing? >> oh, my gosh, i could feel her shaking inside through to the outside. >> feel her pulse? >> do we need to call emergency? >> she broke down and there were signs that maybe she had been given medication earlier that was wearing off. >> her heart rate was racing and her blood pressure skyrocketed and it was almost like septic shock or something. >> you need to take my pressure. >> she's going limp. >> can we call an ambulance? ♪ ♪ coming up, two guys are walking up.
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kat french and dottie laster sit in a houston hotel room trying to help two young women they believe are being sexually trafficked. midway through their conversation, cocoa begins losing consciousness. >> she's going limp. can we call an ambulance? >> i knew we had to get someone up there. her whole body stopped responding. >> one team member calls 911 while others attend to cocoa. >> now out of communication for over an hour, both asia and cocoa's handlers grow increasingly anxious. >> the phones kept on going off and going off and the messages became more and more urgent to them to get out of there. >> you want to take these two? >> it's all right.
take your money, take that, if i give you my number will you keep it safe? okay. which one of these? thank you, sweetie. >> first girl's coming out. >> she just wouldn't crack. >> as asia leaves, cocoa's condition worsens. the people who brought cocoa, now suspicious, make their way into the building, but just as they do, the ambulance arrives. >> two guys are coming. two dudes are coming. >> her guys, copy. >> she's tremoring, we need them now. >> the target, and they became agitated when she wouldn't come downstairs and started pacing the lobby and a temped to come upstairs. this was an open entrance to the back of the hotel that i had to be concerned about. >> it hurts so bad. >> this pain is really, really sharp.
>> this is worse than having a baby. >> two guys are walking up, three people are now walking up. >> with cocoa's drivers now earning the lobby, scott prepares for a confrontation, they may be armed. >> hi, guys. can i help you? ambulance? come on in. i took my blood pressure medicine. >> there's one in the building and two outside of the building. >> copy. ♪ >> and now one --? it was a little bit chaotic because she was still unstable physically. >> i think he's trying to find his way upstairs. ♪ >> paramedics were concerned that the tooth had gone to infection in her body. >> cocoa's tooth is severely infected. ♪
♪ >> the paramedics recommend she get immediate care. cocoa refuses to go to the hospital, but she does agree to leave with dottie and kat. the girl is going with us. she's going with us. >> let's do it. are we good? >> we are ready. >> we'll retreat from here, get to a safe place and find this dentist. >> they'll be coming out of the emergency exit down there. >> without that medical emergency i don't think we would have gotten her. >> after the paramedics left, the bad guys just bailed on her. they just left her. we got that disruption. she told me once i knew they left the parking lot i knew i could go with you. >> we're ready to go. ♪ ♪ >> once we started her out of the hotel it was just a walk down the stairwell, and out the east side stairwell through the fire escape and into a waiting
van. ♪ >> so we scrambled to find a 24-hour emergency dentist which was about 40 minutes, 45-minute drive. ♪ ♪ >> we all loaded in the cars, caravanned up to the 24-hour dentist where we spent the rest of the night. ♪ ♪ >> we're here. we got a dentist and he's opening up his shop and we're going go in and get that tooth fixed. >> as the dentist examines cocoa, a few elija rising members head out to purchase new clothes for the victim. they immediately organize a plan to get cocoa to a safe place and begin lining up people to help start her new life. >> she has almost no teeth that have not been infected. they're chipped, decayed,
broken. this child has been walking around with a raw nerve in her tooth exposed for she said a year. >> she was probably dealing with infection, fever, i mean, pain and i don't know how she expected to turn a trick in the condition she was in. ♪ ♪ >> coming up -- >> wow! what a difference 12 hours makes. xwxexe
and that provided her way of escape. ♪ ♪ >> it was an incrediby well-timed seizure, you've got to admit. >> the dark area is the decay right there. >> going to get through here and she's going to need to rest. we're going to walk out with a whole package anda i new life and a new person. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> i seen cameras and people running from place to place, and i seen this white van and everything is running through my mind like questions, who are these people? what am i doing? where am i going? >> how difficult was it to go with dottie and kat? it was very difficult for someone that just randomly will take you and help you and support you and be here for you,
whatever you need, just tell me. it's crazy to see someone that you don't know show me more love than someone i've been calling my family for a long time. >> this person that put her in that position, this trafficker is actually a family member. i was so mad. here is a woman in trouble with a little baby and there is a viper, predator out there benefiting from that. >> since i was little, i was sexually abused. my mom not being in my life when i was a child. she was in prison. i didn't have my father. it was either go out here with these people, bad people or go with these people that say that they can help me. >> these girls aren't just teenagers or whatever. they're kids and most of the time they've been grabbed as children to do this. they've forgotten what it's like to be a kid again and grow up and do what kids do.
>> after surgery and a good night's rest, dottie and cocoa retrieve her son who was being looked after by her mother. they reconvene at elija rising's headquarters. >> here at elija riding, we do the initial points of contact through the first 48 hours and that's what nobody else wants to do. they land here and we take them to either detox or 30-day stabilization and hopefully on to a long-term program. >> elija rising staff members organize a detailed plan for cocoa's immediate future and find her accommodations outside of houston. at the safe house where she'll be taken she'll have access to psychologists and professional counselors. >> wow! what a difference 12 hours makes! >> the person shaking in my arms hours earlier, you wouldn't recognize her. she looks just robust, healthy, normal, radiant and she had her little 6 month old baby. i get this, like, atomic explosion of hope in me.
♪ ♪ >> stabilized, she's going to stabilize for a little bit. >> if i didn't go with them i would still be knocking on doors at this moment. i'm actually in a safe place right now in my head, in my heart. ♪ ♪ >> cocoa's days as a victim may have come to an end, but for dottie and kat, their effort to rescue other sex slaves continues. >> we go wherever the girls are on the streets, in the hotel room, in the brothel, wherever we can find them. america is beginning to wake up to the phenomenon of sex trafficking, and i just want to help throw gasoline on that fire. ♪
san francisco, the business of sex for sale is booming behind the facades of illegal massage parlors. >> observed a license masseuse topless with her breasts exposed. >> young women from all over the world are trapped in a cruel game of debt and sexual servitude. >> get dressed if you don't mind. can you leave the room for a minute, please. >> this is not a massage parlor? >> no, it's not. >> it is a big game for them and they are good at it. >> eventually something's going to break and i'm going to be there. >> let's go. let's go.