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Psychology Today Interview with PBJ Learning’s Founders

Psychology Today - It's National Human Trafficking Awareness Month - with PBJ Learning founders Dr. David Deeds and Billy Joe Cain - Psychology Today logo

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She spent well over an hour with us, covering so many topics. We can’t shut up when we start going, so the conversation flowed from one idea to the next. By the time we were done, she had filled up her brain to the brim with the reality of how a child could go from innocent to fooled to trafficked

Read the full article on Psychology Today, because that’s where the details reside.

Key points you’ll find in the full interview on Psychology Today

  • Human trafficking (slavery) is misunderstood, perverse, and highly organized.

  • Human traffickers are predators. Once they meet someone who seems vulnerable, they screen for psychological pliability.

  • The biological makeup of the brain of someone who has been trafficked changes over time from the trauma.

There are plenty of jobs and careers that require training and specialized skills; trafficking is no different

Human trafficking is slavery, and it is misunderstood, perverse, and highly organized

There are multiple types of trafficking types and situations, and the people that are willing to travel the road of owning and abusing human slaves are experts in all of them. 

Misunderstood: our pop culture normalizes human slavery through music, TV, movies and more.

Labor trafficking is perverse: stealing money by forcing someone to work without a benefit. Sex trafficking is perverse: buyers pay to rape someone.

All slavery is highly organized: to this day, the American (and international) agriculture industry utilizes slaves to plant, harvest, process, and distribute foodstuffs as a way to maintain and increase their profits. Historically, America has a long relationship with slavery.

Human traffickers are predators: “They’re exactly like lions”

Once they meet someone who seems vulnerable, they screen for psychological pliability.

Billy Joe Cain: They’re exactly like lions. This is not something they do in their spare time; this is their career 24 hours a day, and they are exceedingly good at this. They’ll shop outside of a bus station, and anywhere people might be confused about where they are.

Once they meet someone who seems vulnerable, they’ll move into the “interview” phase and screen for psychological pliability and manipulability. The next phase is gaining trust. That person will promise food, shelter, or convince targets that they’ll be their boyfriend. I’ve talked to a lady who actually got married to the guy, was in the family, they went out of town and he sold her.

The stories I’ve heard, I can’t un-hear them.

Then comes dependency or filling a need. The criminal comes in like a father figure or a boyfriend figure.

“My children were being groomed”

Mackenzie Littledale of Psychology Today: Billy Joe, the PBJ Learning website mentions that your own children were being groomed by a predator. How did you find out, and what were the signs that parents should be aware of?

BJC: I had known this guy for years and he was in my life; my kids treated him like an uncle. We were working on a project, and that’s when this started happening. He’d call, and sometimes my kids would answer.

For me, those first phases were already done when this guy targeted my kids.

He’d promise them things, talk about sex a little more, promise good things, talk about sex again. That’s one way the psychological stuff starts happening. The next phase is isolation. Take them away from their friends and family so they can really start manipulating. It’s a mess.

Luckily for us, we caught it in time because the kids trusted they could talk to us about anything. We taught them that the only “secrets” are GOOD secrets, like what someone is being given for a birthday.

The kids came and asked me why he was asking them what kind of pornography they should look at it. He told them a lot of stuff like that. My son came to me and said, “That’s weird.” We completely blocked him from calling the house and turned him into the police.

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Post-script: UNBELIEVABLE (or not?)

When you allow a comment section, you have to constantly pay attention to what is posted there. I have our site set to “moderate comments,” which means that if someone wants to post something, I have to approve it before it is allowed to be put on the site and you can see it. 

That’s because it is dangerous to let people post instantly! If you think about how other social media companies let you post constantly, can you imagine what it would be like if someone posted this type of content? 

This type of normalization of sexual conversations is exactly what we are talking about on this blog. It’s a type of grooming. 

Sickening.

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