Welcome To The Kandid Shop!!

Modern Day Slavery: The Epidemic of Human Trafficking

This is a content trigger warning. In this episode, we will be discussing human trafficking, sex trafficking, and assault, and this may be difficult and or triggering for some of my listeners. Please use discretion when deciding to listen to the show...

This is a content trigger warning. In this episode, we will be discussing human trafficking, sex trafficking, and assault, and this may be difficult and or triggering for some of my listeners. Please use discretion when deciding to listen to the show and take care of your mental and emotional well-being.

On this episode, I had the privilege to sit down for an important discussion, on human trafficking with two amazing guests.

Visual artist and Filmmaker, Malinda Baum, and Author, Speaker and Author, Speaker & Host of the Love& B Loved podcast, Lena Cebula, 

The Stats

  • 24.9 million people are victims of human trafficking globally (2017-2019)
  • 16 million people are trafficked for forced labor in the private economy in the US
  • 4.8 million people are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
  • The average age of trafficking victims is 12-14, with an estimated total of over 5.5 million trafficked children.
  • Women and girls are disproportionately affected, accounting for 71% of all victims, while boys are also trafficked at around 40%.
  • Online recruitment and grooming increased by 22% during the pandemic.

Key Takeaways

  • Human trafficking is a serious and widespread problem that encompasses not just sexual exploitation but also forced labor in the private economy.
  • There are more slaves today than there were when slavery was legal ~ Malinda Baum.
  • Trafficking is a problem in all 50 states in the US but states with ports, large airports, and major transportation routes such as Texas, California, Florida, and New York have a higher rate of trafficking.
  • Human and labour trafficking affects boys as well as girls ~Malinda Baum.
  • Boys are more susceptible to trafficking as traffickers find it easier to target them.
  • Recruitment for trafficking often happens through grooming, which can involve building trust with the victim through activities such as sports, online games, and hanging out on the street corner ~ Malinda Baum.
  • For girls, sex trafficking often involves grooming through manipulation, fear, isolation, guilt, and shame ~Lena Cebula.
  • Traffickers often play on our human need for love, belonging, community, and care.
  • Risk factors for human trafficking include dysfunctional families, substance abuse, and mental health issues  ~Lena Cebula.


Signs that someone is being trafficked

The signs that someone may be in a trafficking situation, include secretive behavior, depression, paranoia, and changes in behavior such as using drugs or skipping school, grades dropping, unexplainable tattoos, unusual calls, doing things out of their income level and lots more. It is important to talk to individuals, especially children, and ask questions if there is suspicion that someone may be in a trafficking situation.

If you have been a victim or you know a victim of human trafficking, regardless of your journey remember you are never alone, you are significant and your life is valuable. It is possible to be successful and thrive after trauma. If you need help or resources please contact:

National Human Trafficking Hotline 1 (888) 373-7888 SMS: 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO") 24 hours, 7 days a week,  English, Spanish and 200 more languages For more information, resources and ways to help go to  http://humantraffickinghotline.org  

 About The Guests

Malinda Baum is a talented visual artist who combines her passion for photography and film with her dedication to social good. As a photographer and filmmaker, she helps justice-oriented organizations to connect with others through powerful imagery that challenges assumptions, shifts perspectives, and promotes empathy. Her work is often used by organizations whose causes are not well-represented by stock images or staged shoots, and she is dedicated to capturing the true impact of their work.

Malinda's work has been recognized by several professional photography organizations, including the Texas Professional Photographers Association and the International Professional Photography Association. Malinda decided to use her skills to begin the journey of making #BoysToo, a documentary aimed at raising awareness about human traficking. Through this film, she hopes to help people recognize and prevent more cases of human trafficking.


Lena Cebula is a survivor of human trafficking and abuse who has overcome a difficult past to become a powerful voice for others. In 2019, Lena published her book "Miraculous", a raw and transparent account of her life. Today, Lena Cebula is a wife and mother of three, and uses her experiences to inspire and encourage others. She is a social justice advocate, blogger, professional public speaker, host of the Love&BLoved podcast, and soon to be certified life coach. Lena uses her platform to raise awareness about the reality of human trafficking and to offer hope to others who have faced adversity. Her mission is to encourage, inspire and to offer hope, and through speaking engagements, raise funds and awareness and make a difference in people's lives.


Guest Contact Info:

Malinda Baum






Lena Cebula






Intro Music by Anthony Nelson aka BUSS





Kandidly Kristin


Modern Day Slavery

Kandidly Kristin: This is a content trigger warning. In this episode, we will be discussing human trafficking, sex trafficking, and assault, and this may be difficult and or triggering for some of my listeners. Please use discretion when deciding to listen to the show and take care of your mental and emotional well-being.Reach out for help if you need it. Thank you.

Hey, hey, podcast Nation. It's your girl, Kandidly Kristen and this is The Kandid Shop, your number-one destination for Kandid conversations.

If you're a new listener, please follow, like, and share the show with your friends and if you've been here before, welcome back.

Today, I am having a much-needed and important discussion on human trafficking and joining me are visual artists and filmmaker Malinda Baum and author, speaker and host of the Love& BLoved podcast, Lena Cebula, and I hope I pronounced that right.

So welcome, welcome, welcome ladies to the Kandid Shop.

Malinda Baum: Thanks so much for having us.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh, you're welcome. I'm grateful to you both for joining me and taking time out of your day to spend with me and my listeners.

Human trafficking is a thing. It's a big thing and it's often seen as something that happens in other countries indeed here close and is exclusively about the sex trade, but in my research, I found that the reality is human trafficking is broader than just sex.

So, I'm going to give you guys the definition that I found for human trafficking, which is the practice of exploiting adults and children for use as commodities or objects in conditions of sexual and labor servitude.

So, are we talking about modern-day slavery here, ladies?

Malinda Baum: Very much so. There are actually more slaves today than there were when slaves were legal.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow. Now that's a stat I didn't know and I'm a stats person. So, I went to the Human Trafficking Institute just to pull some stats so that the people that hear that can understand how broad a problem this is.

So, there are 24.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world, and I think these stats were from 2017 to 2019. 16 million people are trafficked for forced labor in the private economy in the US private economy includes private individuals, groups, or companies in all sectors except the commercial sex industry. 4.8 million people are trafficked for sexual exploitation, and the average age of trafficking victims is 12 to 14 years old, though there are some that are younger, currently, the total for trafficked children is estimated to be in excess of 5.5 million.

That's a lot. That's a big number. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by human trafficking accounting for 71% of all victims, though boys are trafficked just as much at around 40% and maybe that number is higher now. During the pandemic, online recruitment and grooming increased by 22%.

So, ladies, those stats are scary. They were surprising to me as I started to dig deep into the human trafficking issue. But behind all those numbers, and those ridiculous numbers are real people.

Lena, if you could briefly share your story with me and my listeners?

Lena Cebula: Yes, absolutely. Oh yeah, the numbers are horrific and these topics are very hard to handle, but I would like to share my story, to show the world that there's hope.

 I would never have imagined that after 20 years of silence, this is what I would be doing; standing on stage in front of hundreds of people, and my story will be broadcasted all over social media. Because in the past I was afraid of judgment and rejection and I thought my story was of guilt, shame, and condemnation. But now I know that this is the story of salvation and I hope you guys see hope.

So, I was born and raised in Ukraine and my parents struggled in their marriage. They became alcoholics and lost well-paid jobs at my home government turned out the electricity and hot water for outstanding bills. We were hungry all the time. We were literally starving. So, my home was infested with black mall cockroaches and mice, and we really struggled in poverty trying to survive. I was raised in a home full of strangers who brought booze and drugs, with parents who did nothing to protect me. So, it became an easy target for those guys.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Lena Cebula: I was drugged and raped in the basement of my apartment numerous times. So, when I thought things couldn't get any worse, one month before my 15th birthday, I woke up with severe abdominal pain, scared and confused, only to realize I was in labor. I didn't know I was pregnant. I didn't know who her father was, and my little baby girl died, three months later from health complications, and I buried her when I was 15 years old. I suffered from depression and anxiety and panic attacks. I started using alcohol and drugs to medicate my pain. Later on, I turned to heroin because it was better to be high than feel worthless, hopeless, abandoned, and broken.

So as the years went by, I saw people dying around me or who went to jail and desperate in this despair I needed to change. Oh, my goodness guys. I met this lady. She brought me to her house and offered me fancy coffee and sweets. I was so impressed. She told me that she would be able to find me a job. No specific, just a job. Without much, I accepted, eager to escape. So, her team went to work and was still on heavy drugs, I vaguely remember that report and how I got through customs. I'll never know, but I woke up hearing the Muslim prayer, the "Allahu Akbar" call to prayer. I ran out, and I was so confused and terrified because I was in a foreign country.

So, that nice, rich-looking lady sold me into human trafficking.

Kandidly Kristin: What country were you in?

Lena Cebula: I actually found out later on I was in Cairo, Egypt.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

Lena Cebula: Later on, they forced us to crawl under the barbed wire crossing the Israel border. So, I was sold into a brothel in Israel and I was there for almost two years.

Malinda Baum: Wow.

Lena Cebula: Then I actually was thinking just recently about this because I was bought by the family business and learned that it's very important which brothel one ends up in because most of the girls who came with me, they died or went missing or never heard of again. Although it was a horrible situation, of course, for me, I was fed clean. I made some money as well, and nobody could rape me or beat me to death. But in the brothel; my bodyguard shared the good news of God's love with me, and when my grandpa passed away. Oh, actually he had a heart attack and he went to comma and I went to pray. God miraculously answered my prayers because I knew that I don't deserve any forgiveness or any answer to the prayer. But it was something that actually triggered me to leave my brothel.

Guys, I'm telling you in most cases, you will never leave this kind of situation alive unless you have been rescued by the grace of God. I cannot even explain how this happened, but they allowed me to leave and go home.

Kandidly Kristin: Really

Lena Cebula: Like Ukraine.

 So, I came back to Ukraine and I thought maybe I'm going to start a new life, normal life. I do quotation marks. But my other bodyguard, who was like a brother to me, stole all of my possession and my trustworthy aunt stole all the money that I was saving before. I ended up being so betrayed and had huge anxiety and panic attacks.

So, I just went and got one bracelet on me. I sold that bracelet and I was on heroin again for the next few years. Still, then I became the right hand of the number one drug dealer in my city because I needed to pay for drugs. After using probably those five people, I have this feeling in my soul, it just was coming from within me, that understanding that I'm going to be dead because I can be murdered because of what I was doing: all the overdose. I decided to quit. It scares me so much because I felt God saying to me, you are made for more. So, I actually quit heroin the second time.

I almost died from withdrawals, but was thinking just about getting a normal job. It was a terrible situation back home in those times.

Kandidly Kristin: How old were you at this point when you came back to Ukraine after being away?

Lena Cebula: I was around 20 years old. So, I found later on I just didn't know what to do.

The second time, I actually sold myself willingly and why wouldn't I? That's all I knew. I thought that my body was a commodity and they had no work as nobody took me, and then they brought me to Canada. But in Canada, I had like no paper trail. They started the process for me to stay here.

So, I actually went to school started classes and started learning English from level zero.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Lena Cebula: And what's interesting is that the people who were there said for the first time I heard that I was over 20 years old, that somebody said, do you know you have rights? I didn't know I had rights.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

Lena Cebula: No, I never, I never even thought about this.

So, they told me about billings and how in this country you have rights. So, I made the move, I ran away and escape trafficking, and I live in the shelter for a few months. Then with the help of one of my friends, I got my first room in the house and then I got into cosmetology government credit school.

So, in a year I finished my English and my cosmetology course and I started working as a hairstylist. For 12 years, I was a hairstylist. Very interesting, while I was in hair school, I met my husband and at that time I wasn't looking for anything or any relationships. I just was trying to get out where I fit in this society during the day because everything was so different. It's like I have to learn a whole new way to behave, communicate, and deal with my trauma as well. But he came my way and I would not pass that opportunity.

Kandidly Kristin: Right?

Lena Cebula: It was fantastic. So now, 16 years later, three kids later, we are together and have a private marriage. Not without its own challenges

Kandidly Kristin: of course.

Lena Cebula: But you know what? Everybody who is married or has been married, they know that when two people get together no matter what, you have to work and it is going to be challenging.

While I was working as a hairstylist, I felt strongly to write my autobiography and share my story. So, in 2019, it was published and I thought it was for someone to read my story and faith and overcoming adversity and Survivor and just for encouraging to give hope. But first of all, it was such an amazing tool for me to deal with my past trauma.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

Lena Cebula: One piece of advice I want to give to anyone who never spoke or is still, having something inside of you; guys, if that burden is still there, just write. You don't have to write a book. Write a letter, and put it on paper. If you need help, you know, sometimes shame stops us from speaking up. Just speak with someone whom you trust and it will help you. Especially if you are in an abusive situation and especially if you are trafficked, talk with someone who will back you up. You're not alone. This is the biggest lie that we believe: that we are not worthy to be saved, that we're not worthy to be loved, that we're not worthy to be free, that we are alone. That is a lie. So, write that down, ask for help, and reach out.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah,

Lena Cebula: That's my story.

Kandidly Kristin: Well, Lina, thank you. Number one, I'm so, so glad that you are still here with us and making the impact that you are after what I can only say is a horrific childhood and young adulthood. I'm really glad you're still here to be sharing your story.

Malinda Baum:

Malinda, while Lena's story sounds typical of what most people think is human trafficking, you know, a young girl, a brothel, that kind of thing, you know it affects boys as well. And if you could talk a little bit about your upcoming film: 'Boys Too, and the why of that story.

Like most people, up until a year ago, I was under the false assumption that only girls were trafficked. A year ago, I met a man named Bob Williams who runs one of the three safe houses in the United States dedicated to boys who have been trafficked. That's when I realized and learned how widespread it is for boys. The numbers climbed. They have been climbing because we have put so much focus on girls being trafficked.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes.

Malinda Baum: Traffickers find it easier to traffick boys.

Kandidly Kristin: Now, Malinda, for purposes of your movie and the conversation trafficking, you're talking about labor or sex trafficking for boys or both?

Malinda Baum: Both.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Malinda Baum: Most of the safe houses deal exclusively with sex-trafficked boys.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh, okay.

Malinda Baum: So, most of the stats they give are based on sex trafficking, but labor trafficking is huge as well. I would lay odd. Most of our houses were put up by people who were trafficked at some point. Some really part of it, yeah.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

Malinda Baum: Agricultural construction. You stay in a hotel. Your maid is possibly being trafficked. Your nail salon tech may be trafficked. So, a lot of places that you don't think of have trafficking because labor is such an expensive part of the business. If they can get a body for half the price,

Kandidly Kristin: and this is the illegal rate to do this, okay?

Malinda Baum: Yes.

Kandidly Kristin: Because it seems so widespread that it's almost, their moving is with no regard for consequences.

Malinda Baum: Right? They get the individuals and they take their papers from them. So, these guys, have no recourse. They can't leave because they have no papers, they're being threatened and they're being held and not paid. Often, they live in the same places they work.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow. Ladies, talk to me about recruitment and grooming for either type of trafficking. What does it look like in real life? Because you know, in your head and the people that are listening, they see a movie and it's like, you know, but I'd like a real representation. Somebody listening might have a kid who's being trafficked and they don't know it. They just think it's somebody being nice to them. So, either one of you can take that or both.

Malinda Baum: Yeah, that's often the case most, at least in the US, a lot of the people who are trafficked or trafficked by somebody that they have allowed and gained trust with.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Malinda Baum: So, the grooming process, I know for the boys, the grooming process is usually through sports, online games, just hanging out on the street corner.

Kandidly Kristin: That makes sense.

Malinda Baum: That kind of stuff...

Kandidly Kristin: How about the video games and the chats in those games? Is that Very often?

Malinda Baum: Very often. That's one of the biggest spots. I looked up stats yesterday for 2021. The top three recruitment locations were online dating sites, the street and Facebook. With online gaming coming in fourth.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. And Lena. The grooming for a girl for sex trafficking specifically, what would that look like? What could a 13, 14- or 14-year-old right now be on the lookout for?

Lena Cebula: Well, first of all, I want to say that human trafficking can happen to anyone because some people are more vulnerable than others. Significant risk factors would include dysfunctional families, substance abuse and mental health concerns. Some people have been held against their will, but some are afraid for their safety, you know, and must have been manipulated and controlled with fear, isolation, guilt, and shame.

I always think it is just like a physical force, but there's so much more involved and I do believe they were the biggest misconceptions, especially after movies like taking violence, and kidnapping. We actually have this misconception that the traffickers don't know the victims, but we are talking about the grooming, and this is mind-blowing because most of the time family and friends are involved and that is terrible. The most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that women and girls are being trafficked; men and boys are affected as well. Sometimes they are about i13, 14 years of age, they're teenagers, but actually, it's so much scarier than that.

Malinda Baum: They can be younger,

Lena Cebula: Yes! they devour everyone. It doesn't have an age group. It can be young as four years old and as old as 60 years old and all in between. It does not discriminate against color, race, the gender. Like it's that scary. I have like goosebumps lower my body because it's actually like really scary.

What I would suggest is to literally look for red flags because it’s a major problem; these days it can be very hard to spot. You know, like if we would see kidnapping and violence, we would have that intuition and red flag. We would take the action right away because you cannot be involved.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Lena Cebula: You can see somebody being ...

Kandidly Kristin: latched on the street. Yeah,

Lena Cebula: exactly or is something happening? You're still going to call 911. You still going to get some action going. But this time, honestly, the person who trafficked as well as those around them may not even know that this is happening. I interviewed one of the ladies and she said if I knew the red flags, I would figure out that one of my cousins who always come for the holidays was being trafficked.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

Lena Cebula: She has been sitting at the table within the house, being trafficked by her own family. She said, I would see the signs and I would look for behavioral changes.

 I do believe it's number one. If you have someone in your family or someone you know, friends or neighbors, their all this life of the party, excited and fun, then from nowhere, becomes very secretive, very depressed, paranoid, you know, stuff like that. You have to be diligent and ask those questions, you know?

Because maybe it's a live situation, maybe it's some other problem. I'm not saying that everything is or it will be trafficking, but how do you know if you don't ask those questions?

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Lena Cebula: Especially with young people right now, through Covid being so much online. Traffickers are playing on human needs, love, belonging, community, and care for, you know.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

Lena Cebula: Everybody, busy parents are working to provide, you know, and guess what? You don't have to be raped to actually have trauma.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, I agree.

Lena Cebula: And the kids, especially young children, they don't understand that this is trauma that the parents always working to provide, to pay the bills You Know, and they play on the trauma. They are available to them. They give them money, they give them attention and that's what grooming is, and then maybe they take some pictures or do something, that is embarrassing. And then they are blackmailing them with I got this on your media. And they can destroy life through media. So, then they ask them to do stuff

Kandidly Kristin: So, they won't show the picture yeah,

Lena Cebula: So, they imprison them. You don't have to be in chains or imprisoned physically to actually be a slave.

Kandidly Kristin: I Agree.

Lena Cebula: That's what they do, and they'll threaten their family too. It's like, okay if you don't do what we say, we will hurt your family.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right. So, ladies, I know this is happening in all 50 states across the US and abroad, but are there states that have a disproportionately higher rate of trafficking Malinda?

Malinda Baum: Texas, California, Florida, and New York are probably the four tops in the US because they have ports. And they have large airports and the International Highway System and the National Highway systems run through them. So, they're easy targets to get and move and they don't have to come from other countries. Right. But they can move them from state to state, city to city.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. So, Lena, you talked a little bit about signs that someone like me could be on the lookout for, that someone they love may be in a trafficking situation, either forced labor or sex trafficking. Malinda, what do you think are some other signs that the everyday person can look for?

Malinda Baum: One of the things that one of the boys I've spoken to point out was that ‘ask the child if you think they're just a bad kid’, they're hanging out on the corner on the weekends and you think they're just the bad kid,

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Malinda Baum: Ask them what's going on. Most of the time it may take more than one asks for them to feel comfortable enough to tell you. Right. But talking to them, because it can happen to you. It could be the kid next door, in your nice cushy neighborhood even.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Yeah.

Malinda Baum: So, talking to them, all the signs that Lena spoke of, you know, the change in behavior, all of those things, especially if they look like they have started using drugs that they never did before, right? So those kinds of behaviors, grades go down, you're getting calls from the school because a kid's skipping.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Malinda Baum: There was a story of a kid here in my local area whose trafficker picked them up at school and dropped them off at school.

So, they could still be living what looks like to be a normal life to everyone else, but at night and on the weekends and at other times, it's a horrific dark time for them.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh, now they were picking them up from school and bringing them to school from their home or from wherever they were being kept from?

Malinda Baum: Wherever they were trafficked, no matter whatever, hotel, whatever.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow. Now, I'm just trying to imagine the level of fear that a kid must have to have eight hours in school and never say anything.

Malinda Baum: Right.

Kandidly Kristin: Huh. That's crazy. So, I guess my next question is for everybody that's going to hear these safety tips for kids and or adults to guard against, you know somebody's determined to do something and they're determined to do it, but what are some things that parents, adults, even kids, for themselves can do to kind of put a safety net around themselves against this trafficking?

Lena Cebula: Again Khristin, before we move on this question, I'd like to add a couple more, red flags

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely

Lena Cebula: because that can trigger someone to actually take those actions that we going to talk about in a minute. So, there's another thing like, because one part is like fear, guilt, shame, and condemnation. But there's another part when the traffickers, like grooming, buy them new clothing, like new clothes, they give them money, they give them a new cell phone. Something like to draw especially young kids who are from low-income communities. Then, if you see somebody start dressing provocatively or over the top, that it's something different. So that’s, like a switch, you know, like 13-year-olds have like a hundred bucks in their wallet something like that or really expensive stuff. Especially, if your kid is coming with a piece of jewellery and stuff that they cannot afford.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Lena Cebula: Ask those questions. Especially if they start isolating themselves from the family and they have some kind of secretive boyfriend or secret cell phone or something in secret that they don't want to share with you, there's a kind of concern too. And of course, when they already are victims of a trafficking situation, they're going to be fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive tense, nervous or paranoid and a hundred per cent if you guys see signs of abuse like bruises or fractures on anyone and especially if there are new tattoos, Like branding symbols or names. Somebody comes home, with the name of the guy on the body, that's a branding symbol.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh wow.

Lena Cebula: Some of them have actually branding symbols of the gang or the organizations as well. So, pay attention to what their tattoos are. Although sometimes teenagers want to be rebellious and they do the flowers and whatever.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right.

Lena Cebula: You have to ask why you cutting hair. It sure is like extremes. why the tattoos? What does it mean for you? My kid wanted a tattoo too. She's 15. I ask her why you wanted a tattoo, and she showed me what she wants and it was completely innocent.

But you have to know that if this is names or branding symbols plus all the other signs, that might be dangerous.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Lena Cebula: So now we can talk about what we can do about it. Would you like to take this Malinda?

Malinda Baum: And the tattoos are usually visible. So that they can see them from a distance. So, somebody else, another trafficker, will know to whom they belong.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow, I never thought of that. Thank you, ladies, for that. I have tattoos and I never really thought about it that it could be, you know, a branding kind of thing. Ugh. Yeah.

All right, so safety tips. Give us some tips.

Malinda Baum: Know what your children are doing on the internet. Most especially teenagers are going to baulk at that, but it's important that you know whom they're talking to, why they're talking to them and that you lock down that they can't post pictures of where they're at, what they're doing. One thing that has kind of fallen out of favor with families for quite a while, which is a good thing is putting names on everything that your child wears. It makes it way too easy.

Kandidly Kristin: Way too easy. Yeah.

Malinda Baum: And, look for those signs like Lena was talking about when they're doing things that are out of your income level and you don't know where they're getting that money from, right? They all of a sudden want to spend all their time in one place or on the flip side, they don't want to go somewhere they used to want to go all the time.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. If you suspect like really, really suspect, that somebody is in a trafficking situation, what's the best way to communicate with them so that they're safe, but so that you can extend, an offer of help?

You Know, you can't just be walking up the folk and going, hey, are you being trafficked? So how do you communicate with someone you think is in a trafficking situation or you know is in one?

Malinda Baum: First, you need to get them away from who you think is trafficking them, because they're not going to tell you with them nearby

Kandidly Kristin: okay?

Malinda Baum: You need to get them someplace safe and then you need to get the cops involved. They're not going to say anything with the trafficker nearby, and it's going to be difficult to get them away from them. For that's her property, that's the trafficker's livelihood.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Lena Cebula: Yeah, that's what I would say.

Definitely, if you see someone in immediate danger, or you or you suspect someone is being trafficked, call 9 1 1 or your local police service, they will guide you and they will ask all the questions. Sometimes you don't even have to be involved personally, but if you do want to get involved, another thing I would recommend connect, you can call the human trafficking hotline and actually ask those questions. You know, say, I know this person who is being trafficked. I see all the red flags. What can I do? And they would say, okay, you need to call the police now or they going to say, can you remove that person from that situation? Just what Malinda was talking about can you do that? The person says, yes, it's possible or no, not possible. What else I can do? They can guide you through exactly what you need to do.

Another thing I want to say, is they all like anonymous. So, if you don't want to give them your name and everything, it kind of gives you even more hope and pretty courage to actually stand up and do those calls and do those moves. Sometimes it's pretty dangerous actually to get involved and there are lots of professionals who do that, so don't be afraid to do that. But don't put yourself in danger because if you are going to be harmed the victim is going to be harmed as well and it's not going to get that result that you both are going to be safe. So, get more information.

There is an amazing organization I can give you, Kristin, for your show that actually fights against human trafficking. Go on their websites and read the signs, what we can do about it and how to protect the survivor, how to protect them from trauma, how actually we can recognize the victim and what to do. Definitely, there are so many things you can get involved in it. Even if you don't have anyone around you being a victim, you still can participate too in this cause because it's such a huge problem, and you think like, oh my gosh, what can I do to help? But you can help, you can be informed, you can volunteer, you can advocate, you can boycott the products like in, companies permitting, human trafficking. Again, I listened, to this gentleman’s interview, he said, if there was no demand, then they don't need the supply.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah,

Malinda Baum: I have several books here and I was reading one yesterday and one of the things that brought my attention was it's the only business whose supply equals demand.

Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm... Wow. That is crazy to me. So, Lina, you actually answered my next question and that's ways that myself and the people that are here on this show can help fight human trafficking and raise awareness. So, I'll make sure all of that information is in the show notes. So right now, starting with Melinda, if you could just give me speaking back directly to my listeners, your last thoughts on this topic, and things you would want to say to someone sitting across wanting to hear from you about this problem with human trafficking?

Malinda Baum: Human trafficking happens in every neighborhood. It doesn't matter if it's a rich, poor ghetto country, white, black, blue, red, or green. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood it is. Trafficking happens. It happens to all sexes and all genders. Some are a little more susceptible than others. LGBTQ tend to be a lot more susceptible. They also tend to get kicked out of their homes more frequently when they come out, so they end up on the street and then they have survival sex.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Malinda Baum: Just be aware and help. It takes a village to raise children. Yeah. It takes a conscious village to raise healthy children and that's what we need to work towards. It's all about being aware of what's going on and doing what we can to help stop it.

Kandidly Kristin: Right. Because, you know, 10 small things equal one big thing. So, if everybody did their part in their circle of influence then you know more people are aware. January is human trafficking awareness month. So, it's why I wanted to do this episode now so that in my small way I can help to raise awareness about this problem.

 Lena, what are your last thoughts to my listeners?

Lena Cebula: Yes. I do believe regardless of your journey or someone that you know, you guys remember this, you are never alone and I want you to take that away. You are significant and your life is valuable, and I know that it's possible to be successful and thrive after trauma. There are so many people who will come and support you. Just speak out if you need help. You are not alone.

Kandidly Kristin: Thank you both for that. So now I would like each of you to share your project events, books, films, and contact information so that somebody that listens to this can reach out and connect with you, either of you.

Malinda, you can go first.

Malinda Baum: I'm currently working on a documentary about the human trafficking of boys. It's titled '#BoysToo'. You can find out more information on it, and I'll have resources and such on my website about trafficking at https://www.boystoothemovie.com/

You can email me either at info@boystoothemovie.com or Malinda, but most people don't spell my name correctly, so Info's probably better.

Kandidly Kristin: The correct spelling will be in the show note guys.

Okay. and Lena, what you got going?

Lena Cebula: Yes, well my published book, it's called 'Miraculous: my journey from hell to heaven' and you can get that book at https://www.amazon.com/Miraculous-My-journey-hell-heaven/dp/1545673403 and you can check out my website as well https://loveandbloved.com/.

There are lots of tips and organizations that I'm supporting that you can look through, lots of information there, fantastic people whom I'm meeting along my journey and I'm asking them to be part of that amazing community that I'm building to support not only survivors, there's lots of stuff that we have mission and trauma and we need help. So, it's a really cool website, it's brand new, http://lenacebula.com. If you would like to purchase the book with my autograph, I can send you my copy with the autograph to my email: lenacebula@gmail.com.

Proceeds and some of the portions are going to support survivors to fight for freedom, an organization that fights against human trafficking that I'm part of, and if you would like to talk to me, just shoot me an email or text. Everything is on the website. Honestly, I'm trying to find the best way for people to connect with each other and with me and with the organizations that I support. So, if you go to my website, you can communicate with me, connect with me and with all those organizations, and honestly, I stand by them over the years. They've been fantastic and the people and organizations and what they do for the world, for the survivors, to rescue people, it's just amazing.

If you feel your heart actually moved and you're thinking, oh my goodness, I want to be part of it, please connect with me. I will connect with you. Whatever you think. If you are feeling that you can volunteer your time, your funds, prayers, everything is valuable. You can do what you can with what you have.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely.

Lena Cebula: So, don't think that this has to be something so grand that we cannot afford or we cannot or not able to do. We all can, everybody can help somebody with what we have, we all are able and when we get together, that's where the power comes from and we stand against injustice and fight for human rights.

Kandidly Kristin: I agree. Thank you so much. Malinda, I know the movie is not out. Do we have an anticipated date? Because my goal is that when it is ready for release, I do a screening. I have a Facebook and I would love to have a way for them to see it and promote it within my circle of influence.

Malinda Baum: My goal right now is to release it next January during human trafficking month.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice. Mm-hmm. Perfect. Please keep me updated.

Malinda Baum: Oh, I will.

Kandidly Kristin: I really appreciate both of you, not only for sharing your time but your stories, your information, and your advice, with me and my listeners. I can't tell you how important this is to talk about and to continue to talk about and fight against.

Malinda Baum: Yeah. Thank you.

Kandidly Kristin: You're welcome.

Lena Cebula: I appreciate it so much.

Kandidly Kristin: You're welcome.

So, all right guys. If you believe you or someone you know is or has been a victim of human trafficking, or you may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please, please, please contact the US National Human Trafficking Hotline at 18883737888. Or if you don't want to talk, you can text 233733. This hotline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it's in more than 200 languages. The calls are confidential and answered by highly trained anti-trafficking advocates.

Kandidly Kristin: As always, all of the key takeaways that we talked about and my guest book, film, and contact info resources, will be in the show notes. If you want to support in any way, you can do such by donations, or volunteering, you can go to. www.humantraffickinghotline.org and there's a wealth of information at that site. It will literally blow your mind when you read some of the stories and stats about this issue.

 Ah don't forget to go visit my website at www.thekandidshop.com kandid with a K. Listen to an episode or more, drop me a review, sign up for the mailing list, like, follow, share, and please tell your friends about the show.

Ladies, again, thank you so much for joining me for this important episode, and until next time, I want everybody out there to keep it safe, keep it healthy and keep it Kandid.


Lena CebulaProfile Photo

Lena Cebula

Author, speaker, host of Love&BLoved podcast

I am Lena Cebula. I am wife and mother of three beautiful children. I am an author of spiritual autobiography called Miraculous, drug addiction and human trafficking survivor. I was raped numerous times and had a baby at 14, she died 3 months later from health complications. Today I am Christian, social justice advocate, blogger, speaker and host of Love&BLoved Podcast.

My mission is to encourage, inspire and to give hope. That there is a chance to have love, joy, peace and wholeness again after everything you’ve seen and done!

My WHY:  Sharing the Good News of God’s love and creating awareness about the reality of human sex trafficking.

Malinda BaumProfile Photo

Malinda Baum


Malinda Baum is a visual artist specializing in photography and film for change-making organizations and causes. Her unique professional journey has sharpened her perspective on the human experience, resulting in imagery that changes the way people see each other and themselves.
Mother of four and military wife, Malinda’s always balanced an innate drive toward service, family, and creativity. Pulled toward a greater purpose at 33 years old she trained as an EMT, later enrolling in the fire academy as the first female on the squad. She then spent 13 years as a firefighter and paramedic.
With a belief that images can speak more profoundly than facts, Malinda is driven to capture images, stills and film, that explains topics and context where words often fail. She’s produced multiple series on homelessness and her work has been featured at SXSW.