Actress Marisol Nichols on fight to eradicate human trafficking
Interviewer: Now to a celebrity who is using her power for good. Well you know her from hit roles in shows like 24, Riverdale but she also has the role of catching child predators and also she’s working to eradicate modern day slavery. She has a foundation and it’s called Foundation for a Slavery Free World and let me bring in now Marisol Nichols joining us now. Marisol it’s so good to have you here with us. And when we say slavery, it conjures up a particular history or particular image sometimes in people’s minds modern day slavery put that in the proper context of what we’re talking about here?
Marisol: Sure well I actually believe it was President Obama who coined that phrase modern day slavery when he was president, but modern-day slavery today according to some studies we’ve got over 40 million people enslaved in the world today whether it’s the sex trade the labor trade or organ trade which is horrific so hence it’s called modern day slavery because that’s what’s happening now.
Interviewer: Where do you, where does this or for you, the work you’ve been doing for years and years and years and we’re going to talk about. You’ve actually been involved in some of these sting operations even but where did this start for you become something that you really wanted to tackle?
Marisol: Sure, I started hearing about it back in 2012 and iI was hearing words like child sex trade and I’m like what child brothels? I’m like what do you what do you mean child and I started learning about this and the global aspects of it and how prolific it was and I think at the time there were about two, the estimates were 2.2 or something million children caught up in the child sex trade. And nowadays it’s over 4 million so it’s already doubled and I honestly I couldn’t sleep when I thought about it and as I learned about it I dove deeper and deeper and deeper because I believe the more education and the more knowledge I could get about It the more I could find a way that I could help and find something that I could do about it and so that’s sort of how I became involved and just as a as a mother as a woman as a human being I had to do something.
Interviewer: You’ve actually, I don’t (know if I) have this right about more than half a dozen stings in which you essentially serve as you go undercover or serve as bait. Can you tell me what that is like for you. I mean look you’re right you might play some roles on tv and you might be a cop here or there but this this is a this is real life and real danger and a and and different what is that like to go through these?
Marisol: It’s to be honest some of them are pretty terrifying. Some of them I’m really scared of. It happened because I came across in my travels and meeting with different organizations and senators, congressmen, the executive branch of the white house just learning and learning. I came across this organization called Operation Underground Railroad and it’s founded by Tim Ballard who’s former CIA former homeland security and we ended up teaming up and over the years we’ve done numerous ops together and I use my acting skills to either be pretending to be a victim to lure predators out of hiding that are trying to have sex with nine year olds and 12 year olds or a trafficker or a consumer and it’s depending on what’s needed that’s the role that i’m playing and it takes me to very dark places I can’t obviously say too much. We have some cases that are pending it takes me to foreign countries it takes me to different states it takes me all over and sometimes it’s it’s you know i’m pretty pretty scared, I’m writing a letter to my daughter in case I don’t come back trying to explain if something happens and fortunately I am safe and I’m good and I’m here and here we go.
Interviewer: Oh my goodness Marisol, but one thing on an up note here for folks who want to possibly make a donation to your foundation they can do so and also be helping out a veteran-based business. This is something cool. I know something, you’re excited to partner with this organization they’re down in Alabama right?
Marisol: They are. So it’s Colin Wayne from Red Line Steel and everything is made and manufactured in America and it’s by veterans right and Colin is an ex-vet who almost lost his life in Afghanistan and he came back and nursed himself back to health and he formed this company and has grown into this huge organization and I was so honored to partner with him and they approached me and asked me if I would make some products and and partner with them especially for veterans day and donations would go to my foundation slavery free world.
Interviewer: Congratulations! But really you should be applauded for the work you’re doing and again we don’t pay enough, I say pay enough attention or give enough attention to this very thing that you have been working and fighting for for the past number of years. So Marisol it is good to have you here. Congrats on your work. We hope to see you down the road okay.
Marisol: Thank you and thank you so much for having me.