“I thought I was prepared for this work, but I really wasn’t. My three years in India … hardest three years of my life, of all the things I’ve done, including being in the Marines. But it’s three years that I wouldn’t trade for anything. You couldn’t have paid me a million dollars a year to do something different.”
He was a Marine, then a cop for decades; he worked undercover investigating drug cartels and the Mexican mafia, as well as with the FBI on police corruption cases. As if that weren’t enough careers for one guy, he’s gone back undercover – now for International Justice Mission (IJM), which works to end slavery.
The thing is, because of the nature of his work, we can’t tell you his name. Meet Investigator V.
“Honestly, my first reaction was, what slavery? I don’t believe that. The IJM recruiter told me, back in 2007, ‘There’s 27 million slaves in the world, we were wondering if you would come help us?’ I instinctively said, ‘No, there’s not. How can that be?’”
In this deeply moving episode, V tells Simon and Natasha stories of rescuing young girls from sex trafficking, and what it’s like when a rescue mission fails. He describes how it feels to encounter evil like this, and how he thinks – or tries to – about the perpetrators. And he explains why he wouldn’t prefer to be using his retirement to play golf – as nice as that would be.
“I don’t think there’s anything that can prepare you for a little girl being raped every day, or a young boy that’s been enslaved and starving to death, and stand in front of him, and do undercover work and act like you’re there for nefarious purposes. I don’t know what preparation would prepare you for that … But I’ll tell you what, being involved in this work has been so good. It’s dark, it’s evil, it’s ugly, it’s costly. But the joy and the purpose that comes from it is just hard to describe.”
Find out more about IJM Australia here.