The power of human assets to prevent child trafficking

When someone has lived around the world as a young person, what sort of job do they go into as an adult?

And what happens when someone sees something that then impacts them on a visceral level?

Today I speak with Lucy McCray, CEO at the Freedom Story. The Freedom Story is an organization that works to prevent child trafficking in Northern Thailand.

As a child growing up, Lucy became very aware of inequality, the raw reality for people experiencing poverty, and how where someone is born can dictate one’s life path.

These realisations started to shape her life’s purpose.

She talks about her move to Thailand, where she started to understand what statelessness means, and the implications of someone not having citizenship in any country in the world.

We hear about the real reason for people being trafficked, what prevents trafficking from happening and how to prevent abuse and exploitation from taking place.

Lucy talks about pity-based marketing versus stories that are more dignified for everyone.

And then we move to the shocking truth of well-known brands who have been caught having child trafficking in their supply chains.

Lucy tells us about a brand-new form of trafficking, which when you hear it, will realise you are exposed to it almost daily.

And then how creating unlikely partnerships is providing a powerful anti-trafficking solution. It’s fascinating.

This conversation proves that together we are stronger. And by thinking out of the box and giving people agency, you can scale impact.

This is a podcast rooted in hope. Showing the power of purpose. And that when you tap into human assets, anything is possible.

So grab that favourite beverage or throw on those running shoes, and here is Lucy.

00:00:03:15 – 00:00:32:07
Philippa White
Welcome to the show, where we expose new perspectives on our ever evolving world through the lenses of various industries, cultures and backgrounds. Our guests are disruptors united by a common goal to bring their purpose to life, whether they’re from the commercial world or third sector, from the Global North or the Global South. Expect an inspirational journey that will transform your perspective on just what is possible.

00:00:32:18 – 00:01:06:14
Philippa White
My name is PHILIPPa White and welcome to TIE Unearthed. Hello and welcome to episode 83 of TIE Unearthed. Now, as many of you know, I lived in Thailand for a little while while I finished my business degree. Now, without question, Thailand touched my soul on an extraordinary level. And as a result, not only are a handful of the stories in my book from my time there, but the experience was also a contributing factor to inspiring me to set up my company Thai, almost 20 years ago now.

00:01:07:07 – 00:01:29:00
Philippa White
Now, this is why it was such a pleasure to connect with Lucy McCrae, CEO at the Freedom Story. The Freedom Stories, an organization that works to prevent child trafficking in northern Thailand. And since Lucy was old enough to know what trafficking is. Has been on a mission to prevent abuse and exploitation before it happens in a holistic way.

00:01:29:22 – 00:02:00:02
Philippa White
In her role as CEO of The Freedom Story. She helps connect those with a passion to prevent children from experience seeing exploitation with those who are vulnerable and in need of support. Today, we hear about her story and how she got to working with the organization. The reality on the ground in Thailand. What challenges young people face, but also what is happening to ensure thousands of young people have a better future.

00:02:00:17 – 00:02:13:23
Philippa White
The work they do is incredible and I’m so honored to have been able to tell just a bit of their story. So now throw on those running shoes or grab that favorite beverage. And here is Lucy.

00:02:14:23 – 00:02:25:04
Philippa White
Lucy, it is so great to finally meet you because we’ve been exchanging emails for a little while and over the Christmas holidays. So finally, this is happening. It’s great to have you here. Thank you.

00:02:25:12 – 00:02:28:09
Lucy McCray
Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. And it’s great to meet you, too.

00:02:28:10 – 00:02:33:22
Philippa White
So I like asking this question. I ask it at the beginning of every podcast. Where where are you right now?

00:02:34:00 – 00:02:41:04
Lucy McCray
I’m calling in from Chiang Rai, Thailand. So the northernmost province of Thailand borders Myanmar. And wow, over here in Asia.

00:02:41:07 – 00:02:42:22
Philippa White
How long how long have you been there?

00:02:42:23 – 00:02:51:14
Lucy McCray
I’ve been living in Thailand for about eight and a half years now, in Chiang Rai, six and a bit years. And I did about two years in a bigger city down the road called Chiang Mai.

00:02:51:15 – 00:03:03:00
Philippa White
I would love to just understand a little bit about you before your involvement with the Friedman story. Your accent’s obviously not Thai. You don’t look Thai.

00:03:03:00 – 00:03:27:07
Lucy McCray
Yeah, totally. So I grew up moving around a lot. I am a dual citizen of the US and the UK, so I spent my childhood kind of bouncing between those two countries. We also lived in the UAE for a little bit in Abu Dhabi. We lived in Malaysia a little bit. So, you know, as a very young child, I spent a lot of time moving around to a lot of different places and cultures with my family.

00:03:27:07 – 00:03:45:21
Lucy McCray
But I was based in the US just outside Washington DC from the ages of 8 to 16. So most of my kind of formative adolescence I guess was spent in the US. So that’s where my accent comes from. And then at 16 we moved back to the UK. I did my undergrad and my master’s in the UK before I moved out here to Thailand.

00:03:46:00 – 00:03:48:00
Philippa White
I’m guessing your parents were diplomats.

00:03:48:00 – 00:04:02:12
Lucy McCray
Oh, it’s a great question. Yeah, it’s a good guess. Actually, it’s very common, I guess. My dad worked for a defense contracting company and my dad actually grew up. He’s American, but he grew up in the UK. So sort of on that side. The third generation of Americans living in the UK. So yeah.

00:04:02:12 – 00:04:21:13
Philippa White
Wow. No, I mean, I ask because obviously I live in Brazil and my children are Brazilian. I am very integrated into the life in Brazil. I would not say that I lived my life as a foreigner living here, but I do have a number of friends who do come from other countries that live here. And many are, of course, are diplomats.

00:04:21:13 – 00:04:39:06
Philippa White
And so, you know, a couple of good friends of mine have gone through the foreign service of the US actually. And so they’ve been Consul General or whatever the positions are here. And so it’s just interesting seeing their life from an outsider, you know, and having their kids doing exactly that, going to the American schools and all the different countries around the world.

00:04:39:06 – 00:04:56:13
Philippa White
And I just think while, you know, my partner is also a sailor and so he sails internationally and through his life, we meet so many interesting people also who are, you know, taking their kids around the world sailing for three years. You just think, gosh, these children are so resilient and so adaptable. And it’s fascinating just seeing that.

00:04:56:13 – 00:05:02:19
Philippa White
So you’re clearly one of those ones who who’ve had that amazing opportunity, really. I mean, there’s pros and cons, I’m sure.

00:05:02:19 – 00:05:18:01
Lucy McCray
Yeah, it was it was amazing. And I think adaptable is a great way is a great outcome from it, for sure. It’s funny, somebody described me as, you know, a classic third culture kid somewhat recently, and I was sort of scoffed off as like, no, I’m not a culture kid. And then my family’s been living in the UK for 15 years.

00:05:18:01 – 00:05:34:01
Lucy McCray
They’re actually moving back to the States and I realized, Oh, that really feels like home. And then moving back to the U.S. feels like a really big deal. That was like, Oh, wow, okay. Even as an adult, you do actually have some of those lingering third culture things in there, even when you don’t realize that you’re that much of a of a UK or a third culture kid.

00:05:34:01 – 00:05:43:03
Lucy McCray
So but yeah, it’s, it’s amazing. People always worry about, oh, you know, it’s going to mess up. The kids that I found it to be a very powerful and positive experience so well.

00:05:43:03 – 00:06:11:02
Philippa White
And it’s really nice to hear that my book that I very briefly mentioned to you, it’s called Return on Humanity Leadership Lessons from All Corners of the World. And it comes out in April, April 23rd. But I do talk about what I do through the work that we do is we help develop the human competencies that I think are necessary for leadership and to create more human companies, but also more leaders that are able to tap into those human assets that create better companies and better leadership is resilience is adaptability, it is flexibility.

00:06:11:02 – 00:06:31:06
Philippa White
Those competencies are absolutely fundamental for good leadership. And I do use these examples of, you know, a family sailing around the world. And if children have the opportunity to be flexible and adaptable and kind of learn that resilience at a young age, it does stick with you as you get older because you just you are a little bit more fluid and you’re not completely stuck in your ways.

00:06:31:06 – 00:06:53:03
Philippa White
And I think that that’s absolutely vital. And the fact that I also see it as a huge plus. So a huge gift that your parents gave you talk to us about the freedom story because you’re obviously a hugely inspirational person. You’ve lived all over the place. You’ve you know, you’ve had many opportunities. And it’s fascinating to understand what is the freedom story and then how did you get involved with the organization?

00:06:53:03 – 00:07:11:09
Lucy McCray
So it’s actually answer the second question first, if that’s okay. So I moving around a lot. I had kind of, I think a bit of a global perspective. I can remember being, gosh, I would have been maybe for like age myself being about 14 when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia just after on Boxing Day, I think in 2006 happened.

00:07:11:09 – 00:07:32:16
Lucy McCray
And I think that that’s something a lot of people connected with at the time, because there were Westerners on vacation and, you know, such a huge tsunami. And it was right after Christmas. And just many different things I think came together for it to be really impactful for people. But I remember feeling very impacted by it and then being based in the US at the time it was right around the time that there was, you know, Hurricane Katrina and things like that as well.

00:07:32:16 – 00:08:01:17
Lucy McCray
So I was growing up and becoming very aware of inequality and kind of how you’re circumstances of your birth will really dictate a lot of your life path and kind of was wrestling with that. And in high school I heard about trafficking for the first time and heard about kids that were being exploited around the world, people that were being trafficked in our supply chains and in all kinds of industries and was kind of immediately horrified by that and kind of decided at 1617 that that was what I wanted to do with my life.

00:08:01:17 – 00:08:16:19
Lucy McCray
And at the time, I feel like the only option for people to sort of fight trafficking, quote unquote, were to be a human rights lawyer. So that’s my path forward. It’s the only way to engage. When I sort of told everybody that and everybody in my life was like, Oh, that’s so nice. But I don’t think that’s actually what you’re going to end up doing.

00:08:16:19 – 00:08:39:12
Lucy McCray
And, you know, I’m pretty stubborn. So I was like, That’s what I’m going to do. Just watch me do it. And they actually ended up being right. So I didn’t end up pursuing a law path. I ended up pursuing more of an international development path, got my master’s in international development, kind of gained a wider perspective on what are all the different things that come into play in the lives of folks that are experiencing poverty or people that live in the majority world.

00:08:39:12 – 00:09:16:23
Lucy McCray
What are the paths that different countries and states have taken to development and things like that? I finished that and I was you know, I had lived abroad quite a bit and I had moved a lot, but I had never lived abroad on my own. And so I wanted kind of international experience. I came over to Thailand where large anti-trafficking nonprofit called International Justice Mission, or I am, and worked with them for two years, helping kids who had been sexually abused to hold their perpetrators accountable and to get kind of the healing, emotional support that they needed to heal from those experiences, as well as helping ethnic minority people here in northern Thailand.

00:09:16:23 – 00:09:37:07
Lucy McCray
They’re called help train people who are stateless to get documentation. And it was my first time ever really dealing with or seeing statelessness and what that was and wrapping my mind around the fact that people can be born in a country but not have citizenship in any country in the world. And if you don’t have citizenship in those countries, you’re so you know, there’s no country, then that’s going to guarantee your rights.

00:09:37:11 – 00:10:00:06
Lucy McCray
And I loved working with him there, huge organization. It was really good experience. But after about two years, I had met, you know, a number of different clients and a number of different people in the programs. And I was starting to really wrestle with this idea of what does it look like to prevent these things from happening, to prevent abuse from happening, to prevent exploitation and trafficking from happening?

00:10:00:07 – 00:10:23:22
Lucy McCray
Is it possible to actually prevent trafficking? I think trafficking is often portrayed in the media as almost random, like almost random kind of kidnaping. You know, people are kind of kidnaped and taken, but that’s often not the case. People are often targeted by traffickers because of their vulnerabilities. So I actually found freedom story around that time, and freedom story is really focused on answering that question.

00:10:24:00 – 00:10:44:07
Lucy McCray
Is it possible to prevent trafficking? So we work with children and young people that are vulnerable to trafficking in northern Thailand. And just like traffickers know who to target because they’re vulnerable, we know who to target because the risk factors and the vulnerabilities of trafficking are fairly well known and fairly established in this corner of the world anyway.

00:10:44:07 – 00:11:08:01
Lucy McCray
So we work with these young people to provide them essentially other opportunities to help them to stay in school, to provide mentorship and adult relationships that will help them kind of have stable stability in their life. We do human rights education to help them know their rights and access their rights. So what are your rights with various legal statuses or statelessness, and what are your rights as a child?

00:11:08:01 – 00:11:23:24
Lucy McCray
What are your rights as a migrant worker? And then also helping families earn more income through kind of a sustainable income program where we help them, you know, raise chickens and raise fish so that they can have a little more income and become essentially financially independent in the long term. And we’ve been doing that here for 15 years.

00:11:23:24 – 00:11:27:06
Lucy McCray
I joined the team about six or almost seven years ago now.

00:11:27:12 – 00:11:43:15
Philippa White
That’s I mean, it’s fascinating. We have similar issues here. Brazil has a huge problem with trafficking, if I’m not mistaken. Rachel Sparks, is she the one who set up the organization? And was there a film made about the freedom story? Is that.

00:11:43:15 – 00:11:44:09
Lucy McCray
Yeah, yeah.

00:11:44:18 – 00:11:51:03
Philippa White
And so what is just I’m curious just about how she set up the organization and where that all kind of came. Sure.

00:11:51:03 – 00:12:16:17
Lucy McCray
Back in 2008, Rachel Sparks was kind of set out to make a film about trafficking. So you can kind of remember back in 2008, that’s kind of when trafficking was first passing onto the scene as kind of an issue that people were talking about in kind of mainstream media and things like that. So she came over to Thailand to make a film about trafficking, and in the course of making that film actually met the man, the time man that would go on to become the co-founder of Free Story.

00:12:16:17 – 00:12:39:12
Lucy McCray
And he said, I never had a word to put to this phenomenon of trafficking, but the girls from my village are experiencing that. So I’ll take you. I can take you back to my village to meet people that this is happening to and to meet people that are vulnerable to this. So they actually came from Bangkok up to Chiang Rai and met a young girl named Cat and made a film about Cat and her family.

00:12:39:12 – 00:13:03:03
Lucy McCray
And that was what originally it was just supposed to be a film, but they basically saw that cat was really vulnerable to trafficking for many different reasons. And off the back of meeting her and making that film, they saw that if Cat could stay in school and access more education and had the support she needed, she could have other options and she wouldn’t be trafficked and she could go on to pursue whatever career she wanted.

00:13:03:03 – 00:13:22:17
Lucy McCray
She had so much potential. She just needed a little bit of support. So actually another Rachel joined with Rachel Sparks and Rachel Goebel and Rachel Sparks and how we our co-founders all started freedom story in order to give Kat and at the time 20 of her friends from the village the first group of scholarships that we provided and that was 15 years ago.

00:13:22:17 – 00:13:23:14
Lucy McCray
So Cat actually.

00:13:23:22 – 00:13:25:08
Philippa White
Now what’s Cat doing?

00:13:26:12 – 00:13:45:03
Lucy McCray
She’s amazing. She’s a she’s doing her master’s in administration. She was working as a teacher for a couple of years and then decided she liked teaching, but she thought she might want to be an administrator. I went to her wedding a couple of years ago. She’s really an amazing young woman, but she’s thriving and has taught us so much.

00:13:45:03 – 00:14:04:19
Lucy McCray
We actually use that film, which again, if you think back to 2008, it was a total different paradigm. It was a totally different way of talking about development. And Kat, when she turned 18, we asked if we could put that first film online publicly available online, and Kat at the time had been receiving support from us for almost ten years.

00:14:04:19 – 00:14:31:20
Lucy McCray
So you can imagine there’s a lot of different dynamics at play. And Kat actually said no, which was incredible. And so it opened up this opportunity for us to ask, can you explain why? Like, what are you thinking? And she basically said, that film is about me and it’s about my mom and my family. And if you watch the first film on its own and there’s no follow up or you don’t know anything else, there’s a lot of assumptions and a lot of places you could jump to in terms of what happened to Kat, which are not true.

00:14:31:20 – 00:14:58:11
Lucy McCray
You know, you could assume she ended up trafficked or she ended up exploited and in reality that wasn’t her path at all. And so she said, I don’t want people to only think of me as that little girl in the film. And so that actually helped us to launch kind of a parallel project that we have, which is called Ethical Storytelling, which is just a passion project, really of ours, where we want to help other people to learn how to do nonprofit storytelling or sort of social good storytelling better.

00:14:58:11 – 00:15:14:00
Lucy McCray
Yeah, I think so. We relied on that kind of pity based marketing, or I’m going to make you feel bad and therefore you’re going to, you know, give me money. And I can do good stuff with that money for far too long. And, you know, it’s exploitative of of people like Kat, but it’s also exploitative of our sort of donors and supporters.

00:15:14:00 – 00:15:21:00
Lucy McCray
Right. And exploiting their goodwill and their their desire to help. And so how can we tell stories that are more dignifying to everybody involved?

00:15:21:00 – 00:15:45:21
Philippa White
Absolutely. And I mean, just also having worked in the international development area for so long, it’s interesting how that move has happened globally and it should, because, you know, anyone needs to be so careful with how words are chosen and how stories are chosen even for ourselves. You know, you might be an anxious person. And if you keep telling yourself that you’re an anxious person, or if your family keeps telling you that you’re an anxious person, then you sort of create that story for yourself.

00:15:45:21 – 00:16:10:05
Philippa White
And and actually, if you tell stories that are rooted in empowerment and rooted in opportunity and rooted in hope or just potential, then you’re funding a story of someone or of an organization that you are investing in the future of whoever those people are. And it is it’s a completely different way of looking at it. And you start shaping the future of what those people stand for.

00:16:10:15 – 00:16:29:24
Philippa White
I’m going to ask a question that I’m sure a lot of people are wondering, and I’m wondering myself just because every place has a different reality and every place does have different challenges in this context of human trafficking, in the context of what you’re talking about. And just so I can understand it, what are they trafficked for?

00:16:30:00 – 00:17:03:09
Lucy McCray
Yeah, I would say so. Thailand is still a huge hub of sex tourism and sort of sex trafficking, both for international folks coming here, but also, you know, there’s a strong local market for purchasing sex. And unfortunately, that is still true of child sex trafficking. There’s also a good amount of labor trafficking. So both Thais trafficked to there was a pretty famous case of sometimes trafficked to the US or Labor, places like Dubai, Australia, Korea, but also Thailand is a we call it like a destination country for trafficking.

00:17:03:09 – 00:17:26:03
Lucy McCray
So especially neighboring countries that are, you know, less developed people either migrate here or are trafficked here for working in agriculture, construction, fishing. Probably five, six years ago, a huge study came out showing that there was a huge amount of trafficking in the fishing industry, in supply chains for companies like Walmart, Costco, Tesco to be kind of global.

00:17:26:09 – 00:17:27:00
Philippa White
And do they know.

00:17:27:00 – 00:17:47:19
Lucy McCray
Global supply chains? Yes. And I will say the government has done a good job, are making significant moves to improve and fight trafficking in fishing. It’s fishing and seafood processing because there’s a good amount of really cheap seafood that goes into pet food also not just for human consumption, but food and things like that. And then something that’s popped up in the last 2 to 3 years.

00:17:47:19 – 00:18:07:17
Lucy McCray
So very recent, we’re calling it forced criminality, trafficking into forced criminality. So a brand new form of trafficking that’s happening mostly in Myanmar law in Cambodia where people are physically trafficked, so they’re recruited online. So you see a fake job advertised. They’re not there. You don’t know it’s fake at the time that says, you know, come and work in Thailand or come and work in Cambodia.

00:18:07:17 – 00:18:37:13
Lucy McCray
You can make whatever amount of money for a time. Let’s say it’s $1,000 a month, which is, you know, a huge amount of money. All your expenses are paid for. All you need to do is work from your phone. And so we’re seeing people from around the world. So India, Uganda in the Philippines are very common trafficked to Thailand or Cambodia, and then they’re trafficked over the borders or Thais are trafficked over the borders as well, into physical compounds that are being run largely by Chinese crime syndicates, where people are forced to do scams.

00:18:37:13 – 00:18:39:06
Lucy McCray
So I’m sure you.

00:18:39:07 – 00:18:40:16
Philippa White
Oh my God.

00:18:40:17 – 00:18:58:07
Lucy McCray
Texts we get them, I get a couple a week here you oh we want to call you about your tik tok account or I’m calling from the bank or you have a package that hasn’t been delivered or they try to do it’s called pegboard trade. So where you develop a relationship with somebody online and then essentially get money from them.

00:18:58:09 – 00:19:00:13
Lucy McCray
So that would be like kind of a longer con.

00:19:00:13 – 00:19:01:08
Philippa White
But children.

00:19:01:08 – 00:19:01:22
Lucy McCray
Are able.

00:19:02:02 – 00:19:06:16
Philippa White
To do that. I don’t even understand how that why would they be getting younger children, even.

00:19:06:18 – 00:19:27:12
Lucy McCray
Adults and adults and young people? So from about 18 on, we’re not seeing as many children in this that’s happening on the borders. And when you don’t meet your quota, there’s a huge amount of violence and torture that’s happening with people. People are then sold. If you you know, if you end up not being a very good scammer, your traffickers will kind of sell you into the sex trade in those kind of areas.

00:19:27:12 – 00:19:39:01
Lucy McCray
So that’s been a huge new form of trafficking that’s been really difficult for the anti-trafficking sector in Southeast Asia to figure out how to combat, because it’s just it’s a very complicated new form of of trafficking.

00:19:39:03 – 00:20:07:04
Philippa White
So understanding about freedom story, because I understand the prevention side of things because obviously the more you educate, the more you provide that stability for for young people, they are less vulnerable. I mean, they are less able to be scammed into something like this. Right. So that that makes complete sense. You must work very closely then with the police or do you work very closely with other entities that then allow the prevention is one thing.

00:20:07:04 – 00:20:26:16
Philippa White
But if, for example, you’re working with a community and you’re aware of somebody that is potentially being abducted or someone who is is very vulnerable, and you can you can see what’s about to happen. Do you step in? I mean, what at what point do you stop and then hand over? I’m just curious. Yeah. Where does freedom Story stop?

00:20:27:03 – 00:20:48:06
Lucy McCray
Yeah, yeah, I would say we do and we don’t, but we work in collaboration with a wide network of other organizations and government and regional organizations as well, because we recognize that while we’re focused on prevention, there are still people currently being trafficked and exploited who need aftercare services or who need help getting themselves out of those situations.

00:20:48:06 – 00:21:11:07
Lucy McCray
So we have partner organizations that work on the aftercare side, or we work with the police, we work with the local government. And it’s interesting because we’re prevention focused. We have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of government branches, from public health to the Ministry of Human Development and Social Security, to the police or the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

00:21:11:07 – 00:21:24:18
Lucy McCray
So it’s quite a wide variety, recognizing that, you know, we’re just trying to build a net to hold underneath people and then to hopefully all together be able to catch people. And by each of us doing our role, that is really what can help.

00:21:24:18 – 00:21:26:19
Philippa White
What I say to you every day with the work that you.

00:21:26:19 – 00:21:53:21
Lucy McCray
Do, very easy to get overwhelmed, right? There’s like an estimate of 50 million people or something globally that are in trafficking situations and sometimes I sit there and I think, you know, why do we even bother? Right, because there’s just so many people and there’s so much that has to be done. But then I remember it’s going to sound really corny, but I remember the kids that we worked with, like Cat, who, you know, we’ve had like 470 kids come through the program as scholars and many of them are with us for 5 to 8 years.

00:21:53:21 – 00:22:16:08
Lucy McCray
So they’re with us for a good long time. And I because I’m based here, I have the incredible privilege of knowing a lot of them quite well, or at least having seen many of them grow up over time. And and just knowing that, you know, they have so much more opportunity and they have so much more potential and so much more access to these bright and beautiful futures just because of the opportunities we’ve been able to provide.

00:22:16:08 – 00:22:44:01
Lucy McCray
Right. And we always say we’re there with open hands and they take the opportunity that’s been given. They do so much work, so much, you know, they’re the ones doing their homework, showing up to school, like fighting the good fight for themselves. And we’re just there to kind of support them on that journey. I think another thing that’s that’s really exciting that we’ve started to do in the last year or two is work with even smaller groups of organizations or networks to equip them to do trafficking in their own communities.

00:22:44:06 – 00:23:13:17
Lucy McCray
So whether that’s small organizations that are based even more kind of in the community, even more locally or in networks of churches or teachers unions or networks of schools or Thailand has a wonderful village health volunteer network that’s run with the government that they go into each and every home in the village that they’re responsible for. So equipping those people to be preventing trafficking and be kind of frontline defenders for vulnerable children in their community in order to kind of reach more kids.

00:23:13:17 – 00:23:30:03
Lucy McCray
Right. There’s only so much we can do is freedom story, but we can really equip a network of people that can really almost in the in the US I think we have like a neighborhood watch type thing where they can be keeping an eye on and preventing trafficking. And we’re here for when they have things that come up and we can provide that support.

00:23:30:03 – 00:23:34:11
Lucy McCray
But just to help reach more kids and really scale more more impact prevention.

00:23:34:14 – 00:23:42:03
Philippa White
What are you working on at the moment that you’d like to share that sort of sums up your work or your mission that we’re sort of talking about today is.

00:23:42:03 – 00:24:12:10
Lucy McCray
Probably about that coalition building is the thing that we’re most excited about to create this network of like minded people that want to protect and prevent kids from being exploited, who we can equip with. We’ve got 15 years of lessons learned. We know what works and we know what doesn’t work. If you want to protect kids in your community, we can help you skip over all the what doesn’t work and cut right to what works, you know, and and really just equipping these amazing, passionate people to be able to protect kids in their community.

00:24:12:10 – 00:24:16:16
Philippa White
Is there anything that you’d like to tell our listeners that I haven’t asked you? Just in general?

00:24:16:16 – 00:24:43:08
Lucy McCray
I think the thing that I love about nonprofit work in general and in anti-trafficking is that we all have a role to play, right? Everyone’s passionate about different things. You might be passionate about trafficking or that or climate or animals or racial justice, whatever it is. I think what I love is, is that you have the ability to be engaged in X and each of us go through seasons of life where you can maybe be more or less engaged in those things.

00:24:43:08 – 00:25:09:19
Lucy McCray
But I think the thing that I always want to encourage people to is, is to think about what you’re passionate about and how you can sustainably engage in that, right? Whether it’s monthly giving or volunteering or if you have the thing that I always love that I think you’ll actually do really well is if you’re a professional, let’s say you’re a and you’re like, this is always the example, but if you’re a graphic designer, you don’t need to necessarily you know, you can, but you don’t have to like volunteer at the soup kitchen.

00:25:09:19 – 00:25:31:20
Lucy McCray
Like you could reach out to the soup kitchen and say, I can come and cook soup for you guys, but I could also help you with any graphic design needs that you have. And by providing and using kind of your professional skill set, I know it might feel like work more than making soup. I don’t know. But you can often really help them so that they’re not having to do it themselves or they’re not having to kind of struggle with it themselves.

00:25:31:20 – 00:25:35:14
Lucy McCray
I think I always use that example because I’m not very graphic design. My head like.

00:25:35:14 – 00:25:37:02
Philippa White
Covered health freedom stories.

00:25:38:10 – 00:25:50:12
Lucy McCray
It takes me like three times longer to do something like half as well as it would take a graphic designer even with canvas. So, you know, that’s kind of what I always think. People have these professional skill sets and it’s often something that nonprofits need.

00:25:50:12 – 00:26:27:02
Philippa White
So definitely, I mean, that’s the that’s we’re huge believers in it because it’s also using your skill set in a completely different environment, getting your head around challenges in a way that you probably wouldn’t be able to do in as a designer within that agency. For example, we’ve had so many designers actually who have been involved with our programs, sort of one of the most I talked about it in my book, actually, Trevor, who was a designer working at an ad agency in New York, and he ended up going to Malawi and he was on the ground in Malawi and it was about fuel efficient stoves, and they needed to get fuel efficient stoves into

00:26:27:03 – 00:26:48:24
Philippa White
the hands of local people. And before he got involved, I think 500 stoves were sold in two years and after 30 days working with the organization because yes, he did design stuff, but he also had the opportunity to really work closely with the organization and understand about the strategy and figure out what, you know, what could be done from a strategic point of view to get these stoves into the hands of people.

00:26:48:24 – 00:27:08:12
Philippa White
And he just saw things from a different point of view because he works in the private sector, in advertising, working with Nike and big brands. You know, people at the organization there are unbelievably good in the international development area. But when it comes to getting messages out to people and having them respond, it’s just it’s harder because it’s just not the skill set.

00:27:08:12 – 00:27:26:23
Philippa White
It’s different, right? And at the end of 30 days, there were 10,000 stoves in the hands of people. And it just, you know, that’s the power of just different worlds coming together to solve a problem. And that’s so yes, I actually am a huge believer in using your skills in a different environment because you get a lot out of it.

00:27:26:23 – 00:27:35:17
Philippa White
And the organizations do too. So I think we’ve come to the end. Actually, I’ve just a very quick question. Do you speak Thai of you picked up the language. You do?

00:27:35:17 – 00:27:38:09
Lucy McCray
Yes, I do. Yeah, I would just crazy. Yeah.

00:27:38:09 – 00:27:51:01
Philippa White
Wow, that is crazy. I can say I can count up to ten still. Okay. That’s a credit card. Yeah, I can do that and I can I think it’s tell me if I’m actually correct because I can remember noon songs. Sleep, huh?

00:27:51:13 – 00:27:51:22
Lucy McCray
Yeah.

00:27:51:22 – 00:27:54:04
Philippa White
Oh, of course. See?

00:27:54:18 – 00:27:55:11
Lucy McCray
Yeah, yep.

00:27:55:13 – 00:28:12:24
Philippa White
Yep, yeah. Okay. So I can still remember. So that’s cool. And I can say Cocoon Car, obviously. So Atika, I think that’s it. So yeah, but I’m impressed because I’m friend. I was only I was only there for six months, but I mean the script and everything. So yeah, that’s, that’s a hard language to learn. So that’s amazing.

00:28:12:24 – 00:28:27:02
Lucy McCray
Well, it’s been fun. It’s been a fun. I, you know, it’s tonal. So I say something wrong every day like, oh, yeah, you know, I’ve been very mosquito. And of course, what I mean to say I’ve been very busy, but everyone that, you know, everyone’s a good sport about it.

00:28:27:02 – 00:28:31:17
Philippa White
What is the one? I think it’s like Cal, Cal, Cal Coco or something like that. There’s like it’s that.

00:28:32:00 – 00:28:36:12
Lucy McCray
Is it’s like Rice Mountain meets depending on that.

00:28:36:12 – 00:28:59:10
Philippa White
Like, oh, it’s extraordinary. Lucy, it’s been so great to meet you and to talk more about your work, these podcasts are amazing because they’re just a really great way of just getting people knowing about the work that organizations do and hopefully get the word out there so people can find interesting ways to partner. So thank you for joining us.

00:28:59:19 – 00:29:02:23
Lucy McCray
For having me. It was this is a great conversation, so I really appreciate it.

00:29:03:14 – 00:29:04:24
Philippa White
Take care. Thank you, Lucy.

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