The Protectors® Podcast

#446 | Alana Stott | Author SHE WHO DARES

August 16, 2023 Dr. Jason Piccolo Episode 446
#446 | Alana Stott | Author SHE WHO DARES
The Protectors® Podcast
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The Protectors® Podcast
#446 | Alana Stott | Author SHE WHO DARES
Aug 16, 2023 Episode 446
Dr. Jason Piccolo

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Alana Stott joined The Protectors® Podcast to talk about her book SHE WHO DARES, human trafficking advocacy, and a ton more.  

Ever found yourself captivated by stories of resilience and personal growth? That's exactly the kind of journey our guest, Alana Stott shares with us in this episode. From her roots in Aberdeen, Scotland, Alana unfolds her story around the complexities of being a military spouse, the pain of losing a loved one, and the unique struggles that come with her husband's transition from a special forces soldier to an injured veteran. Her openness about these experiences not only shines a light on the hidden struggles of military families but also showcases the power of resilience.



Support the Show.

Make sure to check out Jason on IG @drjasonpiccolo


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Send us a Text Message.

Alana Stott joined The Protectors® Podcast to talk about her book SHE WHO DARES, human trafficking advocacy, and a ton more.  

Ever found yourself captivated by stories of resilience and personal growth? That's exactly the kind of journey our guest, Alana Stott shares with us in this episode. From her roots in Aberdeen, Scotland, Alana unfolds her story around the complexities of being a military spouse, the pain of losing a loved one, and the unique struggles that come with her husband's transition from a special forces soldier to an injured veteran. Her openness about these experiences not only shines a light on the hidden struggles of military families but also showcases the power of resilience.



Support the Show.

Make sure to check out Jason on IG @drjasonpiccolo


Speaker 1:

Hey, welcome to the Protectors Podcast. Excellent guest today. New book she who Dares Alana Stott. How are you?

Speaker 2:

Good, thank you. Thank you for having me, jason.

Speaker 1:

And I've been following you on social media for a while. You have a lot going on, a lot of things, a lot of things, a lot of people that you're really kind of invested in, everywhere from mental health to human trafficking, to women's empowerment, to all sorts of topics. So welcome to the show. I'm excited for this conversation.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Thank you, I'm excited to be here.

Speaker 1:

So she who Dares, let's talk about the book real quick. Well, not real quick. We could talk as long as you like, but you know it's kind of the off of the. The SAS is he who Dares wins. So yeah, let's talk about that.

Speaker 2:

It was, um, so she who Dares started off really. I mean, I've always loved writings, or writings always been a bit of a passion. So it was really a bit of a journal. I just used to keep notes on on things, Um, and then when my husband released his book, relentless, a lot of people would read it and say, when's Alana doing her book? And I was like, well, funnily enough, I've got some bits here. Um, but I still wasn't fully sure if I wanted to do that.

Speaker 2:

I enjoyed other writing. I enjoyed like playing with fictional writing and business books and things, but I wasn't sure 100%. And then I started talking to a few people about some of the things that I would put in the book, and one in particular was like, well, actually I'm going through something similar and I would love to read how you dealt with it and a few more things that I was I was talking about and I thought you know what? Yeah, this book could help people, so let's just get it, get it out and then see how it goes. So it really is just a journey through my life.

Speaker 1:

I think people I mean with chat, gpt and AI and everything and it's great right but people want to learn from other people's experiences. That it's like Goggins puts out a book and people are like they'll latch onto because they want to learn from other people's experiences. They want to learn from what they've done. So you've had a lot of experiences in there and the book is really going to be about kind of showing them, I'd imagine.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I'm 100%. I think AI is super interesting, but there's nothing like the personal experience, and I think me and Dean we both talk about that in the way that we try not to use any cliche and anything that we're doing. It's all about we've actually done it and this is the experience and this is what we learned, and this was a failure and this is all the different things. So we try to only talk about things that we've either been through ourselves or that we can completely relate to. Yeah, so it goes back from my childhood. So I was born in Aberdeen in Scotland. I talk about my upbringing there and losing my mum at a young age and the things I had to go through at that point, right through to my teenage years and younger years than meeting my husband, having kids, everything throughout my life, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Being a military spouse is not easy, and that is a difficult situation in itself. Going through life, raising kids and everything but dealing with the deployments, the adversity, the moving that must have been. Do you touch on that too in the book?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So when I first met Dean, I was a bank manager and I'd done quite a bit of traveling myself, so traveling was something I enjoyed. I didn't know in Aberdeen I didn't really a military kind of place, so I didn't know a full lot about the military. My dad was in the military and I knew that side of it, but I didn't know the kind of military wife setup because that was never really me. I was always. I was a bank manager, I owned properties, I'd done development. I was always had some sort of hustle going on myself.

Speaker 2:

So when Dean was like, right, this is what military spouse life is like, I was like, okay, well, that's not what I'm going to do, so that's not going to be me, but I will 100% support you in everything you're doing and what it is you're doing. I wasn't all because he was special forces. I was terrible at that side of it where he was like, yeah, a lot of people don't really know what their husbands do. I think he had friends that actually were in the special forces but their wives didn't even know they were in the military. You know, it was that like secret as to what they were doing and I said, no, I kind of want to live a little bit different than that. So we were always really open and I felt for mental health wise when they come home from these missions and everything else that they're doing. Not being able to decompress with the person you love the most confused me a lot. So I really wanted to be there for him. He didn't have to tell me anything secret or anything that he couldn't tell me, but I wanted to make sure he understood that I was there to listen when he would come home and that he never had to be out drinking away his thoughts or thinking that he couldn't tell me what he'd done in the stuff that was affecting him. So I wanted to always be there on that side of it. But it was a different world.

Speaker 2:

And then when he got injured, we had this whole new thing to learn because he'd gone from being he'd been in the military, his dad was in the military, so he'd been a military brat, as we call it. Then he'd done his time himself 16 years and then he was just injured. So that whole world just ended for him immediately and he was told you're never going to be able to serve with us again, and that just really blew his mind a lot and then, I think on the first tour after he was injured, one of his friends died. So that sat with him a lot as well and it really affected his mental health for sure.

Speaker 2:

And then, because of his physical health then being he was unable to walk at first and all these things, he then couldn't do what he would naturally do to tackle his mental health, which was physical work. So it was a whole new realm of things. So I went from being this, you know businesswoman who was single all her life, to now. I've got this new mission and it's to keep his head straight and to keep him focused on the next stages and to really go for this, this new life of rotation.

Speaker 1:

You brought up a lot of great points in there. You know when mental health is, it's a two-way streak and a lot of times when we think of special forces, we think of the stoic warrior always keeping and embracing on the inside, or the wounded warrior who's, you know, mentally wounded, who embraces the alcohol or the other ways to deal with the demons or deal with the darkness and deal with the stress. But to have an open relationship, it's a two-way streak and you as a spouse coming forward and saying, okay, you don't have to tell me the secret stuff, that's fine, but tell me what's going on in your mind, or telling me anything so you could be a partner. Because it really is a partnership and in order to deal with that mental stress you really need a solid partner.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think that you know they say 95% of the SF world get divorced, and I can see why that statistic is. But where I grew up in Aberdeen, it was the oil and gas capital of Europe. So the sort of setup was you would generally be away two, three, four weeks on, three, four weeks off. So it was that rotational lifestyle was common to me and I remember my grandma and my grandda had that for maybe 50 years or something and she always had a role that when he docked, whenever he came on shore, she would always tell him to tell her the day after. So he had his one day to decompress with his mates and do his thing, and then he came back and was the family man. So they had that setup and it worked really, really well for them. But I mean, I know a lot of families. It's like right now you're on shore, you're back with the family, you're going to do this, you know, forget about what you've just done. And I find that I think for me I personally experienced it.

Speaker 2:

So, dean, after he'd been injured, we had to find a new challenge for him. He was working in the security field. We'd run a security company since he got out. But he was immersed really strongly in Arab Spring. So Libya was his home for a really long time and he was getting into more and more really dark stuff while he was there and I said, look, we need to find a way that you can still have this adrenaline from the special forces, but that you're not going to be coming home with clothes soaked in blood every time, every time. So I said well, how about some physical challenge? You know we can get working again. He was enjoying cycling because it was low impact on his knee and he was able to do these things. So we said let's cycle. And we found the longest road in the world. So we said let's cycle from Argentina to Alaska. Raise some money for mental health to do it. So he set out to break two world records on that.

Speaker 2:

But during the challenge, in the middle of the Pan America Highway, there's the Darien Gap, so between Panama and Columbia, which is impossible, you can't cycle through it. So the Guinness World Records allow you to either ferry across or fly across, and we'd originally planned that he would ferry across because we had the support vehicles. However, there was trouble between Columbia and Panama just at the time that he was doing it, so he wasn't allowed to. The ferry wasn't operating, so he had to do the flight across, which meant I had to get two sets of vehicles, one South America side and one Central America side. So on the day that I was meant to have these vehicles shipped down from Florida to Panama, we got a call saying that the paperwork wasn't right and it wasn't going to get loaded for another two weeks.

Speaker 2:

And I'm back in Aberdeen with my two kids at this point Tommy wasn't long-born and I said, well, we need the cars there in 10 days. Deans land in there in 10 days. And they said, well, that's impossible, it's not going to happen. So I spoke to my assistant and I said, look, find some people who can fly across to Florida and drive them down to Panama like super fast. So we phoned lots of people like special forces, guys, guys, we knew around and they were like that's a really dangerous trip. You don't want to be doing that, driving at night, doing all those things. I said, but you guys can do it. And they were like, no, no, it's too dangerous. And then they did say yes, was going to charge like a huge amount of money to do it. So I said to my assistant let's just get in the car and drive around yourself. So she was like, yeah, I'm up for it.

Speaker 2:

So we, we flew out the next day to Florida, got the cars and just drove all the way down to Panama. We done it in eight days and got there just as Dean was arriving. But it was an intense driving. I'm telling you this story because it was so intense and we were just like really going for it. We got like held at gunpoint and Honduras, we had like just all sorts, because Nicaragua was kicking off at the time, there was all sorts of things going on. So we made it literally just at the last minute here's your, here's your cars.

Speaker 2:

And I just flew home and I remember sitting on the plane after everything that happened.

Speaker 2:

I hadn't slept for days, there'd been all these things going on, and then I got home and my dad handed the kids to me and just downloaded everything that had been happening with him and the kids in that 10 days and I just kind of sat there listening but thinking about everything that I'd just done, and I think that was the moment for me that I thought, wow, these guys, this must be what it's like.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I had a tiny taste of what had happened. But for the guys coming home and just being like hit by normal life, it was intense and I thought, wow, I have a different perspective now on how I'm going to deal with things going forward. And I was able to talk to some friends and say, look, when they come home, there's this decompression that needs to happen in their head. And if you're telling them you don't want to hear about it, or you don't want to give them that time, or you don't want to speak to them, or you're home now and you have to look after the kids in just an hour way of life, then it's not great for them. And this is where this high levels of men struggling to cope, I think is coming from.

Speaker 1:

You know that is an excellent, excellent story, because you don't think about it until you're in that situation, when you're feeling you're getting that intense situation where you're like, oh wow, I have an adrenaline dump and adrenaline is huge and like I could see, like him leaving the service at 16, 17 years. He's not the only one. I've talked to so many people that have been injured mentally and physically, who had to leave the service after 12, 18 years and they miss that adrenaline. It's not even they miss it, it's, it's addicting. Adrenaline is like a different type of drug in a way. And then here you are, here you are experiencing that and going, wow, now I know why they need to decompress for just a little while.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, 100%. And I think that that that communication side of it and sometimes deans come home to me and we sit together and say nothing but I mean, there, I'm ready, let's do it. If you don't want to speak and just sit here and stare at each other, that's fine too. But just having that somebody who's there for you and that you can sometimes you don't really know exactly what they've been through, but you can give a little bit of empathy, a bit of something that this is look, I don't know what you've been through, but I can listen and I can, I can hear and just be there for you. I think that's because we do. I mean, yes, you've, as a wife and a mother, you probably are going through a lot, because we do live life as a single parent for most of the time. You know you are living that life, so you are going through a tough time, but they've equally been through a tough time. I think it's important that we understand both sides.

Speaker 1:

You know, that kind of transitions into a lot of other questions I had for you today was like I was, I was trying to. I'm looking through your bio and everything I'm like, well, where do you get this experience with like the fundraising, the banking, the money? And you know me being a quote unquote single mother at our times. You really you're really not just focused on the family. You have to focus on the finances and everything, but your background isn't banking. So you know, how did the fundraising and getting into like your missions yeah, so I started working when I was 11.

Speaker 2:

So my mom was a single mom. She raised the three of us and, you know, always looked after us really well, but there was no extras. It was like, you know, we were fed, we were clothed, but anything extra we had to sort ourselves. So I wanted extra. So, 11, I went off and got this job done at the railway cafe. They couldn't pay me, but they were able to pay me and like food and like different food that I didn't really get at home. But I got the experience. You know. I learned customer service, I learned working with cash, all these things, which meant when I was 12, I got a paid job and I was working like an efficient chip shop and the guy that it ran it was an alcoholic, so he would disappear to the pub every every afternoon, usually the busiest time. So I was kind of running this, this fish and chip shop, by myself.

Speaker 2:

But at 13 was around about the time that mom started getting sick, so she then wasn't able to work and the bills still needed to be paid, so the money that we were making then had to go towards helping her. So I wanted to make more money and I found this. This job in tele sales, like telemarketing, got the job there and it was a commission basis, so it was, you know, you earned whatever you sold and I really enjoyed that way of working and I liked the kind of butt stop with me on how how I could earn money by 14 mama transferred to like more hospice care. So it was really just. This wasn't just like an extra treats anymore, it was like no, we've got bills to pay, we need to use this money. So I wanted to make more and more money and I think before this I'd always enjoyed helping people. It was always part of my almost DNA through. Like my mom was the kind of person who helped everyone. My great, great auntie, who I spent a lot of time with, she was just amazing. She grew up during the war and things and she taught me like you help people first. That was, that was what you do, and if you've got the ability to help 100%, you have to do it. So I had both those mindsets of wanting to earn money and wanting to help people, but this family to support now as well. So I went up through the telemarketing and realized actually door to door sales was was even more money than things. But in Scotland door to door sales is a tough, tough job, especially in the winter. You know eight o'clock in the evening in December is hard work doing sales. And then at 15, unfortunately, mum had passed away by this point and we so this is now just full time life now of doing this. So, but again I was making more and more money.

Speaker 2:

But then when I started I got, I found this job in debt collecting and again it was. It was commission, but there was other money to be made. But once I started working in that field, which was really male dominated it was a really male dominated environment and I knew when I went into it I wasn't going to be able to do what they do. You know I couldn't be aggressive, I don't haven't got that nature. But so I approached it in a new way and I said look what happened, how did you get into this situation and how can we? How can we solve this? Because you know, my mum was in debt and we used to have the guy knocking on the door and we would hide underneath the window till he went away. I didn't want to put other people through that. So I would sit and really do like budget plans with them and see how they got into the situation, what we could do to get them out of it, really work out as a whole, rather than just give me my money that I'm due and what happened then. They would pay me first because I was always helping them. They would pay me first on the list and I became one of the top debt collectors in the region and I really enjoyed both sides of that. That. I was helping these people and I was able to make good money while doing it.

Speaker 2:

And that was really then later, when I got offered the bank manager position. Once again, I had zero experience. I had left school really young. I just worked my way through. The position said it had to have a university degree, all these various things. But I went for the interview and got the job and just had to learn very quickly about banking and money and bonds and shares, which I just I would just go home at night and study all these things and learn. But I got into really understanding how collecting money worked, how making money worked, how all these different things happened During the 2008 financial crisis. We were in the bank and people were losing money left, right and center and I was having to work my way through how to deal with these things, how to deal with, like repossessions, all these awful things that were happening. But I was always learning, always picking up knowledge.

Speaker 2:

So fundraising I started the real big fundraiser we'd done was when Dean done the bike ride and we had to. We'd set a target of raising a million pounds, so like 1.3 million dollars for this mental health cause for Prince Harry. We said we were going to do it for his thing Because Dean and him were friends. So this was kind of new for me because I'd never done such a large scale fundraising project. But then when you also add in the royal connection, the political side of it just came into it. So then I'm dealing with we were raising money which started off as one charity but turned into 11 charities and then we were having to work out how the money flowed and what we done with it. And there was so much stuff around working with the Royal Foundation and fundraising.

Speaker 2:

I learned all these things working with donors, working with the recipients. I spent a lot of time with the charities and how they worked. I was working with 11 mental health charities that none of them would work together. So I was having like a real issue with getting people to realise that the collaborative effort was how I was going to be able to raise this money. And the only way that I could get them to actually work together was by dangling cash and saying, look, I'm not going to give you this money unless she's actually worked together. So I learned about that angle of it and it was just all these years of learning about money and the different ways that money is given and taken and things I thought and actually it was here in Orange County.

Speaker 2:

I was a business colleague of mine was a really prominent business guy. I was in the middle of a meeting with him and he took a message and almost broke out into a sweat and I said what's wrong with you? And he said, like this is the part I really hate. I said what he said I've got to go and send the invoice and ask for the cash for this and I was like why do you hate that part? And he says, well, nobody likes asking for money. And I said why do I don't, I love it? And he says no, that's really weird because most people you know it's like public speaking, it's a big fear for people to ask for money. So I thought that's when I thought I'm going to write a book about it, because I know that for nonprofits and for just people in general, if it's an issue, then I can help.

Speaker 1:

So you know I am buying that book. I just started a foundation this year and, like everything you're saying is like like me, I hate asking for money. So I started what they call the protectors foundation. So in in the US you know, you've been here for a long time A lot of our small time police departments, fire departments, everything have no resources.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I was a federal agent for 20 something years, so if I wanted to go to training, I just like I will go there and do this, you know. And then the same thing with the military when I was in the military. It's like you want to go to training, okay, put in for a, find a course, you can go to it. But the thing is, with these small departments, so many people are making like 15, 18, 20 bucks an hour to put their lives on the line and then if they want to get advanced training or just any training, they need to literally pay the three or $400 out of their own pockets.

Speaker 1:

So I started a foundation to do that. And the big thing is, I don't want to ask money from people. I want to ask money from my corporations and businesses and everything else like that, because a lot of people like my circle, my people that follow me, the people in my circle, they, literally they don't have the money to. You know the chip into the foundation. So that's the thing is asking for money, like I could ask everybody all day long for money, but asking corporations and stuff.

Speaker 2:

Yeah it's like I always say fundraising is a business. That's the first thing that I teach people is that you're if you're approaching it as a collect fantastic cause, amazing. But I might have zero concern about the police. I might not care whether they get trained or not. But if you approach me and say, well, actually, if this is how much tax you'll save if you donate this much, or you say, well, this is what you benefit to your company, or your company had this bad press and if you've done this, that would bring this in, you know so you're. If you approach it, the cause will work for your mates who are really interested in helping that. Or you know, if we're doing like to save the dogs and you speak to a group of dog lovers, you're going to get like the 10, $20 and things.

Speaker 2:

If you want that big corporate money, you need to look at it like a business plan, like you're almost approaching them with this business plan, and the majority of that plan needs to be like this is how it's benefiting you.

Speaker 2:

This is what the benefit is to you for this, and it might not be just the tax benefits and the tax release. It's good to know all that details, but it could be, as I've said, there could be something that's happened and with them that needs to be rectified PR wise, and it could be that. That's what I always say is look at their corporate social responsibility They've normally got that within their annual reporting and things are somewhere within their website and try and get a link to what you're doing, to what they're doing, and build that in together. As long as it's ticking some sort of box within them, then you're going to get in and get in the room with the right people. I've seen people waste so many time with the person who's three or four steps away from the decision making and you're just going to have to tell that story three more times to get to the right person. So try and get to that right person who can make the decision first.

Speaker 1:

I love that, the marketing and the tax relief that's like sometimes you're going to have a problem too with. The finance person over here has no idea what marketing is doing. So try and I like the idea of doing a business plan too Come up with a really like pitch it and that's the thing with the military background is, like you know, in the US base we do operations orders, so you kind of write down everything you're going to do. I'm sure the UK does it, the same type of mission planning, but consider this a mission and I guess you really have to have all your ducks in a row and go in there and pitch it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I mean Dima, tell you that when he plans an operation, he'll just say exactly what's needed. He's not going to say, well, we need 10 tanks and it's going to cost this much, and it's going to do it and we need to fundraise for that. No, he's just saying, make sure those 10 tanks are there when they're needed. So he's never had to focus on where the cash, cash stream comes from. And then even you know if he's doing. I used to have a real problem with him sending invoices when it came to like, you know, if somebody's been kidnapped and he needs to go and rescue them out of Columbia, he would. All he wants to do is go and rescue that person. And all I'm doing is say, invoice first, invoice before, but this is life. And I was like, yeah, but what's the value of that life? What is the value of the work you're doing? You know you need to be able to put that into perspective while you're this guy's being rescued, and this is when you need to be knowing your value.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you just mentioned something that is so tough for anybody in this protector community is that money and the value your time is money.

Speaker 1:

You know one of my friends has always told me like they're always like hey look, you're always doing this and that and this and that. For these other people, it's a lot of your time, it's it's your livelihood and like, for me, like you know, like the podcast, this is like my passion, but it's also, in a way, it's a business, the foundation I have to look at it is like okay, this is something I need to do and I need to in order to help other people. I need to raise money and treat this like a business and treat this like, not just like, oh, it's like a nice to have.

Speaker 2:

That's excellent advice 100% and your foundation is for helping people. That's what your foundation is for, but the fundraising side of it is what you need to treat as as a business, because you're not going to. You know, if you were starting a bit, look at the people on, like Sharks tank or Dragons Den. You know. You see, the one and the ones who always do well are the ones from the military. You notice that that they've come in because they'll come in and they'll have their plans set out. They'll know their numbers, they'll know their pitch, they'll walk in there and they'll be clear and concise. The ones that are failing are like you know, this is a good product, just buy into it. Like it doesn't matter about all the other stuff, and it's like no, no, you're asking these people to invest in you. They want to see that you know everything and that you know your facts, because they don't want to be running it for you. They don't want to be doing it.

Speaker 2:

They want you to be, and it's just the same when you're looking for foundation investment. They want to know that you're going to go and do a good thing and that their money is going to be spent well and that they're going to, you know, get whatever they're looking for at the other end.

Speaker 1:

I love it. You know you're not also you're. You do so much and that's a great. One great thing about social media is you can kind of get a snapshot of what people are doing in their lives and what they're very passionate about, and one of them is human trafficking. How did you get involved with that and be very passionate about that?

Speaker 2:

So during my younger years I obviously was quite vulnerable to the elements of you know, 14 year old girl with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders with nobody really looking out for her. So I was taking advantage of quite a bit at those kind of ages. And then, as I grew up and I got to 17, I moved away from the area that I lived in, was in a new area and unfortunately I found myself in the wrong situation and two men it's actually assaulted me, but at this point I decided that they were going to, I was going to go to the police and they ended up going to jail. And then a lot of other women came forward and then during that time these women all dropped out and they still went to jail just on my evidence alone, but the other girls were too scared to go ahead. But during the actual process I learned about what it's like for victims of these types of crimes and it really got me into working in those areas so working in the rape crisis centers and doing all these kinds of things around sexual abuse and it led me into learning a bit more about trafficking. World sexual abuse and trafficking are two different things, but there is obviously a huge connection there and I just was in those kind of circles and I was. I would help people, I would do bits of counseling, I would do little bits of things here and there.

Speaker 2:

And then it wasn't until a bit later in life that a friend of mine it was during the Haiti disaster, and a friend of mine approached me and said, look, I need to go in. There's what they do is, whenever there's a disaster, they set up these little makeshift orphanages where the kids end up and then the traffickers move in. So she said, look, I need somebody to protect me, because there was already a price tag on her head to go in. So I was asking all these guys to go in and they were like this is the cost. And I was like but this is just a woman on their own who goes in, like you got to do it for free. And they were like no, but, as I said, I teach people their value. They were saying, no, they couldn't do it. And I thought one day I need to be able to do that. So it happened to be as Dean had been injured.

Speaker 2:

He had to then do his civilian qualifications in close protection. So he said well, why don't you come on the course with me and learn about close protection, so you can do it yourself if you get this request? So the protection course in the UK is very different to the US because we don't use weapons at all in the UK, so our training's all just based around the knowledge factors of protection. But there's one course called the Nubis and it was run by a guy called Jyns Johnson. He's ex-SAS, he was. He kind of trained the Mujideen in the seventies and eighties. He would like cool as you can get this guy, he knows this stuff. So he was running the course and it was a four week residential course where you just basically go and live there and just learn everything about close protection, surveillance, driving, training, everything that you can think of apart from weapons, because you're not allowed to.

Speaker 2:

So the way he taught me was very, very different to the way he taught Dean. Like I was only female there, so I was learning in a completely different way but stuff that I needed to know. And actually during the close combat training I was pregnant, which I apologize to Molly for all. She went through and signed my tummy during that. But once I'd done it I was like, well, that was a percent. Now I've got a lot more skill here to be able to help when people like Celia ask me for help in there, but I need to know a bit more about human trafficking.

Speaker 2:

So then I just went down and just started learning myself and started working with other organizations and that was what we on 13, 14 years ago and I've just been doing it ever since and just picking up more and more knowledge.

Speaker 2:

But using the fundraising side of it I've never set up on my own because, as you'll know by speaking to other people, there's so many organizations out there and the thing that I'm trying to do is get people to collaborate and actually work together and choose the right paths on who to support. A lot of the work that I do is in the preventative field, but that's not the kind of sexist side. The people, when you're looking at trying to get that maybe Orange County housewives to donate, they want to see like rescues and, like you know, these amazing scenes of kids being in people's arms, being rescued, and that's not what I'm focused on. I'm focused on stopping them needing rescued ever in the first place, and trying to get people into that mindset is like if you could go into the preventative side. We don't ever need to see that and we shouldn't really want to see that either.

Speaker 1:

Couple of things unpack there, no, but it's a. There is so much about the human Cause me. I'm very passionate about it. I write about it all as much as I can when I have relevant information. I cannot stand the vigilante looking, the knocking out in the doors and everything Cause someone.

Speaker 1:

Coming from law enforcement, I know when you get into the enforcement world in order to have a good case and put people in jail, you need one. A lot of times you need witness statements and willing witness statements. You have to build cases and you have to do law enforcement. You can't just snatch and grab people and hope that they're going to be better, that you're going to be able to rescue them. And there's a lot of organizations out there. We both know them and I'm not going to get into that rabbit hole and that cancel culture of calling any of them out, but there are so many out there and a lot of times, a lot of people out there.

Speaker 1:

If you go to the IRS website and you go to query the nonprofit you're looking at, take a look at their bank statements, take a look at their filings and look how much money goes towards salaries and quote unquote operation costs and if 90% of their money is going to salary and operations costs. There's probably a problem, but the greatest thing you said not going to say the greatest thing, but you said a lot of really good things was preventative. A lot of parents don't know what real trafficking is. A lot of people don't know what real trafficking is the enticement, the pulling them into the world through different means. It's not like the van rolling around in a neighborhood and grabbing kids and next thing you know they're trafficked and they're going to be thrown into Connix Bucks or trafficked in Saudi Arabia. Now, a lot of it is it's happening now and it's a lot of it's virtual.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and I think when I think there's a lot of stuff that you've said there, now I again I try and not get into specifics about any specific organizations, but it does piss me off when I see, when I see anybody abusing women and children, I get annoyed, and that can be done through traffickers, but also can be done by people who use the cause to further their own and it annoys me so I kind of I don't put them in the exact same box, but they're close. It's as I say, we work in the preventative and that's I mean, don't get me wrong, we ever need to work in the other ones. But the work that goes into rescues and actual rescues between all the, the task force around the world and the people that are actually involved, the intelligence gathering and making sure that this goes Right so we can actually get a conviction, is huge. So if we believe that one person can go in and do this and then that this person is going to end up, the other thing about that side of it is, by the time we've got to that stage, the victim is pretty hardened. You know they're not going to like open their arms and be thank you for saving me. You're amazing. They're like they're arguing, they're like I'm not a victim, I'm not going through anything. So if you're doing that, you could ruin like so much work that's gone in with the other people that are trying to actually make it happen. So I genuinely try and stay away from that side of it.

Speaker 2:

Unless we're needed specifically asked to buy the people that are running the operations, then then we would get involved. But other than that, it begins at the start and I always say that there's these stages of, like grooming, abuse, trafficking, and during the grooming stage, this isn't actually illegal. You know, the first stage is that, the bit that's actually legal, the love bombing, all these kind of things that is going on. But this is where we need to get it, this is where we need to actually stop it and this is where, like, every single person is capable of doing something to stop it. And I hear a lot of people say, well, let's just keep our kids off the internet, let's just not give them phones. That's just like no reality.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's like ban. No, us in the 80s banning this from play parks or ban is like that's not well one. It's a bit crap to not be able to go to go play in the park. But what we want to say is you know, is that guy there? Is there a creepy guy in the park? You got to tell mom and dad as soon as you see him and if he's back, you know, we inform the police. We do these kinds of things. That's what we done back then. Now you know, this is their play bar, the internet, and we want to teach them how to be as safe as possible. Because you're banning them, they're finding another way. Like a thousand percent they will be on the internet whether you say they can go on or not. You want to make sure that they've got the tools to be able to if somebody does approach them and if somebody is being creepy that they're coming to you and go creepy guys here. You know and I think that's Something that I try to teach moms and dads is that you've got that like split second moment when your kid comes to you and says something and you're either going to react by going.

Speaker 2:

You know, thank you for sharing that with me. Let me have a look at it. Okay, I'll deal with this now. Thank you very much. Or you can be like what the fuck? Why were you even talking to them, you know? And then that's it. They're not coming back to you ever again. You've got such a finite moment to to able to show them how you're going to deal with these people and Teaching them the basics, and I think that's where so I do a program that's. It's based from 46 year olds, eight to ten year olds, 14 plus teachers, parents is a different program for each Individual group, because you do talk them in a different way on how they're, how they're playing on the internet, and then how to deal with each, each section of it and really like everything that I do around. That is just stopping that, those moments happening and understanding what grooming is. The grooming isn't, as you say, like we're.

Speaker 2:

You know, I was actually talking to my assistant about it the other day and she was saying like I said what's your understanding? And she says, well, it's like kidnapping. And then it's this. And I was like no, no, let's talk through it. And she said but surely not everybody is susceptible to trafficking? And I said well, look, have you ever changed your hairstyle because a guy said he likes it better? Or have you, like, not wore that shade of lipstick, or maybe not wore that specific outfit?

Speaker 2:

If the answer is yes, then you're susceptible to it because it's just a mind control thing. And then, once they get you into that control the the difference is I guess it's the the the problem that it's still not an illegal thing at this stage. You know we've got the. I mean I would argue that there's kind of wrongful mind, wrongful act there, but, um, it's difficult to prove at that stages. But if you can teach your child to kind of watch out for these signs or watch out for around your mates, you know, if you're seeing your mates starting to suddenly close off from the family or pull away or this guy's kind of giving her a bit, you know you can. There's a lot of resources to see what the signs are of grooming, because if you can stop it there, then we can stop the rest.

Speaker 1:

That is that's critical grooming and identifying and being open to it. You said something a really I, I, I I'm adamant about with my kids is Listen, they're gonna go under social media, they're gonna do this or gonna do that. Me, I choose not to have my kids anywhere near my life just because Stuff like that. But the thing is, have an open conversations with them being, hey, you know what? There's creepers out there like my tour, gets so mad at me when I tell her like okay, you can go play soccer in a park, but bring your phone with you and I got needed or you're at and if you're not checking it, I'm like but is in a park literally 200 yards in my house. But the thing is, I know what kind of people are out there, but kids don't understand it. And when it comes to grooming, you brought up a really some.

Speaker 1:

Really everybody, almost everybody, is susceptible to some sort of like social influence. I mean, I am, I mean you are, we all are. It's just that these people, the the ones who are doing the grooming, they're experts at it. You know, you are an expert on raising money. You've had a lifetime of experience With money, you have had a lifetime experience doing these and that, this and that. That makes you an expert enough to write a book about it. The groomers out there have the same experience and they're and they're not just working on your kid, they're working out like five or six other kids at the same time and they're becoming professional at it. That's their business. It's a business to these people.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that was a percent, and I think I mean we've spoke to a few in In in prison and it's funny because in prison they put them together so they start learning lots of different ideas, different ways to do it, which is really interesting. But yeah, it isn't that. You know, they're not specifically, it's nothing personal to them whatsoever. This is just a way of making money and this is like these girls are just the commodity involved in it. So, and and your daughter or son is quite and I think the other thing that I like to get across a lot of people always say well, you know, this only happens in either third world countries or only happens to poorer communities.

Speaker 2:

You know, and I was speaking to a group of ultra high net worth Individuals and they were saying well, obviously, my kids and I was like look, is your kid in the house? Are they isolated? Are they alone? Do they have somebody to talk to? Do they have? You know, and a lot of the rich kids kind of do have this little wing of the house to themselves that nobody really speaks to them. Mum and dad are busy all the time. You know, in the internet it's their friend and we don't get a lot of attention or there may be like next generation. So they're just as susceptible as what you know poor third world countries are.

Speaker 1:

It's, it's absolutely, it's not just third world countries and it's not poor, it's not rich, it's, it's everybody, is a target everybody. And you know, and like when you were saying you're talking to young, young, young kids, you have to. Unfortunately, there's difficult conversations that have to be made.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think, with the level of apps that are being made on a constant basis and it's like oh, mom, can I get this app because it's really cute and I can add one-in-one with the little cute teddy bear, but Are we looking at that app and seeing what's behind that app? So, when we're speaking to to the young ones, even if the parents fully investigated that app and it's like, yeah, okay, we'll put that on the computer, just giving them a little hint, like if anybody says anything to you, come and tell mommy and daddy about it. You know, just a little like the 46 year old one's a super easy, fun little program that you go through and, um, so it's nothing intense. And the other thing that I would say is my I mean my kids are raised. I'm actually doing a podcast later on this afternoon with my daughter about human trafficking.

Speaker 2:

So, because I think that that's important, she'll talk to her peer group. She's 12 and she'll talk to her peer group in a way that I can never do it, um. So so she, she's been raised since she was a little girl in the security world, so everything she does is almost just natural, you know about, even if you go to a hotel. She kind of Counts the doors to see the fireworks. That is she'll, she'll. She's the one who's doing the lock in and Blocking the doors, but nothing out of fear, just out of Basics. And my seven year old son now, when Dean goes away on trips, he's the one who's doing the double check on the doors before we go to bed at night and all these little things, and again it's just a fun thing, a normal thing now for them to do. It's just being built into them. So I think the younger we can get them recognized in little things. Here it is.

Speaker 1:

And you write children's books too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'd you know I'm. I forgot all about that. I mean, You're like a jack of all trades. So what are the children's books about?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the kids books. So I've always, as I say, I love writing, and little poems was the stuff that I've always just done like, and when I was growing up, my, my granddad and my mom would always leave little poems written around the house. So I've always done the same. So Live your own way was the first one they wrote, and it was me and Dean actually were sitting I think it was Father's Day and Megan had sent Dean her her book, the bench, and Dean was reading through it and I was like, oh, yeah, that's good. Um, and he was like, do you not like it? And I'm thinking, oh, it's okay, yes, he said, well, could you do better? And I was like, well, yeah, I think I could. So I said like, okay, I'm gonna go and, um, write live your own way. So I done it.

Speaker 2:

About 10 minutes, the, the wording of it, and it's just really about a little girl going through life with her friends telling her that she shouldn't do things because they're too dangerous or they're too difficult, or, and she Decides not to do them because they're they're telling her that they wouldn't do it and in the end she kind of goes back and just went. You know, she just lives her own way. You know she understands her friends, but she wants to do her own thing. And then the series kind of goes on from there me and my friends plays. Um, I took the top five immigration to the us and Took them back to their, their home countries. So the kids travel around the world in these, these home countries and just learn about the different cultures. And then who to help?

Speaker 2:

Today was really the one where I talked for myself, because people are always saying how do I help other people? And I was like just open your eyes, there's, there's always somebody around that needs help, that that you could do something. So, um, it's just about this girl going through her day, seem ways, and that she can help and help them people. So they're all. They're all quite fun to to write and play with, but yeah, it's a little escape. The children's books I love it.

Speaker 1:

Well, I appreciate you coming on. You know I like talking to people about different things and learning. That's the greatest thing about this podcast is learning something, and you've definitely taught me a lot today, especially for the foundation and stuff. But everybody, your book is she who dares. I'm excited. Shath Alana stop.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much for having me, jason. It's been nice.

Alana's Military Spouse Journey
Soldier's Journey
Journey of Making and Managing Money
Fundraising for Nonprofits and Foundations
Passion for Preventing Human Trafficking
Recognizing and Preventing Grooming Importance
Conversation on Children's Book and Learning