Laugh or Cry, Giggle or Gag… AND BE ALERT!

By Becky McDonald, President & Founder
October 14, 2020

My office millennials tell me there is an “issue” brewing on the internet. Maybe I should say “boiling.” It is a weird video by Kraft on Mac & Cheese with a play on the words “nood” (as in noodle) and “nude” (as in porn). Because kids are the main consumers of Mac & Cheese, it is rather odd that Kraft sanctioned this. It is obviously not professionally done. The woman’s eyes keep darting. But believe it or not, I’ve been asked to comment. I have three things to say.

  1. GO MOMS: Three cheers for moms that are ALERT to the smallest things. Usually, I avoid these kinds of things because “commenting” on some things just leads to further foaming at the mouth. Moms, however, do have a duty, and I love the fact that they are “watching” for what is inappropriate for their children. I doubt my mom, whom I love, would have even “known” of such a video. I know I didn’t—I had to be told by a mom of five tiny little men. Fortunately, I am no longer raising little people. Go moms for noting this and drawing other moms’ attention to it.

  2. SEXTORTION: Right now is the time to be extra vigilant in all things on the internet that your children might see. I just wrote an article for WAR, Int’l about a new trend in trafficking and warned that I would be speaking about the issue of Sextortion. For sure, a child might naively be drawn into something that you do not wish. I’m preparing RIGHT NOW for an eight-hour training on how to recognize the subtle signs of trafficking.

    I’m NOT saying this is trafficking. However, I am drawing people’s attention to SEXTORTION. This is real. The camera on your computer stays on even after you’ve turned your computer off. Through this lens, predators can watch your children dressing for bed (if in the bedroom), view your bank records (while I was on the East Coast a couple’s entire bank account was wiped out because there were bank documents lying in view of the camera on their computer), etc. To understand this better, read the breaking News Post below.

    I’m told Bill Gates puts his phone in a freezer. You needn’t do that—just put a post-it note over the camera when you’re done using your computer! This is an issue WAR, Int’l has been speaking into for over five years and has asked the Supreme Court of Michigan to address. It is finally coming to the attention of others. Pictures are acquired either through the camera or, as in the alleged case of the teen mentioned above, through targeting local girls. The “extortion” comes in when the predator shows the picture and threatens to “send it to their entire group of friends,” unless they are given more pictures. From there it escalates.

    I will be teaching about this very topic on Saturday, October 17, 2020, at our Civilian First Responder (CFR) training conference, and you are welcome to attend either in person or online. You can register for this training at

  3. LAUGH OR CRY, GIGGLE OR GAG. A word of caution to moms: Do NOT, I repeat Do NOT overreact. If you do and your children see it, you just drive them to the very thing you are seeking to avoid. Always remember that your reaction is where your children take their cue. If you’re afraid, so are they. If you’re freaked, they’ll wonder why and want to understand. You need to put on a stoic face and brush things off in their presence with an honest but unflappable demeanor. Let’s get real, please. I know we want to lock our kids up and let them out on their wedding day, but that ain’t happening. If you lock them in a tower, they will be Rapunzel and just climb down. If this does come up, please have a sense of humor and just talk it through.

    For your “homeschooling pleasure” (that’s a joke), I looked up the word “nude” in over 20 languages. Use this opportunity if it comes up—and you must—to be interesting, not frigid and condemning. I choose to laugh rather than cry and giggle rather than gag. Well, I’m not really giggling over this one… the news video, that is. But I did giggle at some of the words that mean “nude” in other languages. Just for you moms… here are a few:

    • Bengali: Nunga Punga (my kids know this word well)
    • Hmong: Liab qab
    • Irish, Maltese, Welsh, and Zulu: Well, they just say “Nude,” so maybe we are descended from those races.
    • Polish: Nagi
    • Swahili: Uchi (sounds like an allergic itch)
    • Igbo: Igba oto (Where is that language even spoken… hello?)
    • Catalan, French, Portuguese, and Galician: Nu
    • German: Nackt (Pretty sure I remember that from my grandma)
    • Icelandic: Nakinn
    • Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, and Serbian: Akt (sounds like Hogan’s Heroes)
    • Basque: Biluzik (sounds like bed bugs)
    • Danish: Nogen (I thought that was your head)
    • Dutch: Naakt
    • Albanian: Lakariq
    • Cebuano: Hubo (some Hobos are hubo)

    Just in case you decide to travel… (just kidding) beware! Seriously though… please read the link to the teen accused of sextortion. This is something you need to KNOW.

Civilian First Responder Conference: A “Valuable Day of Learning”

Civilian First Responder Conference:

A “Valuable Day of Learning”

by Ron Garrett | Guest Writer & WAR volunteer

Did you know that last year in the United States
there were nearly 11,000 cases of human trafficking?1
(And those are just the ones we know about.)

Earlier this year, I was invited to attend and review a Civilian First Responder (CFR) conference that was held at Grace Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan. It was a valuable full day of learning presented by Women At Risk, International.

Because I have had no training on human trafficking and no experience working with this issue, my previous knowledge regarding this subject was limited. I had watched a few docudramas, but as products of traditional Hollywood writers and producers, these movies generally left me wondering whether their portrayal provided an accurate picture of human trafficking. I found that the CFR conference provided the clarity and accuracy that I sorely needed.

How does someone become a victim of trafficking?

In this CFR training, I learned what the human trafficking “on-ramp” looks like. Human trafficking may involve an entire network of men and women who initiate contact with potential victims. This network can extend to some teens who work as recruiters for pimps and madams. A perpetrator has something to gain by exploiting youth and others. Although deceit and cruelty are common elements, it’s usually the money that motivates them.

I was surprised to find that, in many cases, the recruiters are women. Where a man might appear creepy or pushy, a woman may be more effective at building a false sense of security. This faux comfort creates a gradual progression towards bringing another woman or a young person into bondage.

While some traffickers build false friendships, another effective type of deception, where perpetrators may operate in a more public setting, is the lure of a job offer. Surprisingly, this can start with an innocent looking advertisement for a babysitting job or a modeling gig. Little does the respondent know that a more sinister agenda is soon to be revealed.

What does a trafficking victim look like?

Although it is true that poverty can put people in vulnerable situations, not all victims are poor—and not all are women. A person of any age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status can fall prey to traffickers.

While victims can be adults, teens, or children, a teen or young adult’s lack of life experience makes them especially vulnerable to predators. Unfortunately, perpetrators know how to present themselves in ways that can draw a teen into some “new venture” that has been contrived. The desire to be involved in something that seems fresh and exciting—or to be thought “cool” in the eyes of their peers—can sway a potential victim in the direction of making a poor, but life-changing, decision.

If a youth has a history of misrepresenting or withholding information from parents or other authority figures, it is a short leap for them to fabricate stories about where they are going or what they will be doing. In their quest for excitement, they might feel justified in contorting stories about plans to meet up with a new “friend.”

A person of any age, gender,
race, or socioeconomic status
can fall prey to traffickers.

Children are also trafficked—frequently by someone they know, and often by someone who lives within a quarter-mile of the child’s home. I heard first-hand witness accounts of situations where a child was sold by her own mother and others in which the mother was the primary sexual predator!

These stories have helped me realize what some human trafficking victims have had to endure. Often through no fault of their own, they have been lured or coerced into an existence filled with lies, betrayal, and great pain. Many have had significant portions of their lives stolen from them.

Would you recognize signs of human trafficking
in your community?

Human trafficking can take place anywhere: in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. It may even be taking place in your own neighborhood—or in mine. If it were, would we recognize it? Would we know how to respond?

Because of this conference, I have become more aware of everyday warning signs. For instance, if a child wears the same clothes every day, that could be a red flag. Another warning sign might be that a child does not go to school. An additional area to note is whether the adults interacting with this child seem to be there for the long term. Does the interaction seem kind and familiar or threatening and abusive?

If a teen is asked to show identification and has none, he or she may be a victim of trafficking. The presence of an older, overly generous male companion can also be a warning sign. It could be that this adult is not a friend at all but rather is an enforcer posing as a boyfriend.

To be sure, without this training, I would not have been able recognize these specific situations or behaviors as potential signs of trafficking—nor would I have been equipped to respond appropriately.

How prepared are you?

Human trafficking is not the kind of thing we typically talk about at the dinner table or around the water cooler. Because we talk about it rarely, or not at all, there are major gaps in our understanding of what we can do to help. For me, the CFR training filled in a number of missing pieces.

We don’t have to work in law enforcement
or social services to make a difference
in the battle with human trafficking.

Having attended many conferences over the years on a range of different subjects, I can truthfully say that I found the CFR conference to be one of the most beneficial of all. The materials provided were very complete and quite helpful. All of the speakers had compelling stories to tell, based not on things they had read or heard but on their direct personal experiences with human trafficking. It says a lot to me that Women At Risk, International’s founder—the conference’s main speaker—has worked with this issue for more than thirty years.

We don’t have to work in law enforcement or social services to make a difference in the battle against human trafficking. By educating ourselves, and then educating others, we can bring forth an increase in awareness. The greater the number of eyes and ears tuned into this problem, the more that will be uncovered. John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Simply shining a light into this darkness—raising awareness—is an important and effective action that all of us are able to take.

Your next step

If you were to see any of these signs in your community, would you recognize them? Would you know what to do? How much do you really know about human trafficking? Now is the time to learn how YOU could help prevent another person from becoming a victim of human trafficking.

To learn more about attending or hosting a CFR conference in your area, please visit our website. You may also contact us by email or call us at 616.855.0796. Don’t see a conference in your area and can’t host? In addition to our live seminars, WAR, Int’l now offers CFR conferences in digital form so you can experience this training at a time and place that works for you! Click here for more information!


  1. Statistic taken from the 2018 National Human Trafficking Hotline Fact Sheet, which documents 10,949 human trafficking cases based on contacts to the hotline. This figure does not reflect the full scope or prevalence of human trafficking in the U.S., for which it is nearly impossible to find or compile accurate data.


Guest writer Ron Garrett serves as one of WAR, Int’l’s many faithful volunteers. A mechanical engineer by profession, he has also taught engineering design & manufacturing courses at Grand Valley State University and is now enjoying an active retirement. In addition to his service with WAR, Int’l, Ron also volunteers for several West Michigan refugee resettlement organizations. This is his first writing project for WAR, Int’l.

WAR, Int’l’s writing & program staff would also like to acknowledge Taylor Laird for her assistance with the editing of this article during her internship with us.

published October 2019