Harold D'Souza and Katherine Chon
DescriptionKatherine Chon [no age given] interviews her friend Harold D'Souza [no age given] on his past experiences being a survivor of human trafficking to now being an outspoken advisor on the subject.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Harold D'Souza
- Katherine Chon
Recording LocationVirtual Recording
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00:07 Good morning, friends. My name is Harold de Souza. I'm in the Cincinnati, Ohio, and I am a survivor of human labor trafficking and that bondage, which happened in Cincinnati today. I'm a free man. That survivors are poor starters, but strong finishers. I would just like to introduce myself. As on three things. I'll just tell you, I'm a common man. I'm a failure, and I'm a sinner. And I think during my conversation with Catherine who's my beautiful friend, all this 3 concept with a shared will be explained automatically. So, thank you very much for inviting me to record on this particular night van. Thank you.
00:57 Hi Harold, so, this is Katherine Chon for the record and it is March 17th. 2021. I'm in Washington, DC. And, and I just wanted to thank you for your time today. Cuz I know that like, the last time we spoke you were parked in a parking garage running from house to house to deliver a food. And help get your friends to appointments and and I am really looking forward to our conversation today reflecting on some of the experiences. We've shared together and the experiences you've had in your work on human trafficking. So Harold, I wanted to first ask you like deer I remember but do you remember how we first met or a one of our earlier meetings?
01:53 Honestly, I do not visualize our first meeting but I do.
02:05 And I was at the rock bottom and I was like, who can I talk to her? Like, you know, such a high-level profile, but when I started having conversation with you, touch my heart, that you're so humble and dishonest, so, that is really amazing for me. But honestly, I do not recollect our first meeting, but I just we collect and appreciate and respect your lifelong that you are a very, very nice humble and beautiful lady fishing leave for victims of survivors. Like, we need that power. We need that love, survivors are starving For Love or victims when it's a boy or a girl because they get abused so much. And we as human beings are unable to communicate with anyone I come and meet you like you'll give me a she. Can you hug me? I feel so good for me. But thank you very much.
03:05 For Community, cuz we Inspire each other and a night. So, I remember one of the first times we met, it was in a government building. Are our building in downtown, Washington DC and you came in with a suit, very proper, very prepared with your advocacy points. And, and also, one of the first things that struck me was your Humanity. It wasn't just the messages that you were providing. But at one point, you were sharing a reflection about being a father and wanting to protect your children, and I don't know if I interpreted as this, but it was, we were specifically talking about trust in government systems and services and how you were sharing your experience as an immigrant. Where sometimes
04:03 It was really hard to know whether to trust that system. And I'm also an immigrant and I was like, well, he's speaking my language. It's so ironic right now. Both of us are here in this federal government building. But both have histories. We're from a family perspective. We've had be shared experiences of wondering, like how do we relate to this thing called government and what it represented? And so I'm just curious are alike since that moment given that we both have the shared experience. Like, how do you think about how you previously thought of interacting with the government and then what your journey has been like, along the way, where you've been a informal adviser a formal advisor, a collaborator, any Reflections on that Journey.
04:59 Yeah, this is a very, very part for the feedback, or question for the victims and survivors were watching in the United States of America. And globally. I had a different perception of the federal government or of the law enforcement agencies in the United States of America. Because I am an immigrant from India. And I always thought, like individuals, like you do not like drunken people and Katherine Legge of TriMet. Do you know? And I came to Washington DC Metro law, enforcement agency. I was so touched. I was so humbled, thinking flipped, because I met so many delegates, like you are still more when I'm ready for the first time you ever heard of that meeting.
05:59 And that makes a huge difference in the life of a Survivor and it takes time for them to digest. So that really has transformed me and blue on this platform on Ice open International. I have an opportunity.
06:25 To confess in front of all the victims and the public delegates. Like, you are like, Mother Teresa for me in my life.
06:35 I know this video of Mother Teresa from India.
06:39 Mother tell us all this time and I being at the Rock Bottom. That's what you have done from the day one. So I just want to say thank you.
07:00 Oh, thank you so much. Harold. Mother. Teresa is one of my mentors and I often when I'm in really hard places or very frustrated at how slow things might change, I often reflect on her words and her writings. So thank you for sharing that. I totally do not on the same platform. I am just a public servant and I believe public service is really important in that has been part of your life as well Harold. How
07:40 What has it been like going from where you were when you were like in your perceptions of whether it was government or anyone outside your family, too?
07:55 What you've done as a advisor on the u.s. Advisory Council on human trafficking, on providing recommendations to how federal or state governments are. Your local community is responding to human trafficking. What has it meant to you, too?
08:14 Be in a position of your own power and influence to make it better for other survivors of human trafficking or anyone who might be at risk for this issue.
08:27 How to spell Catherine. That's a very good question hours till my victims, survivors and vulnerable population. Number one, that what your mind can conceive and believe,
08:41 You can achieve.
08:43 And it's a blessing that in the year 2015.
08:51 President Barack Obama announced my name on the United States advisory Council on human trafficking ago. This entry was going on for eight months and I got to call in the evening at 6:30 from the White House and the saddle. Congratulations. You did this delay. No, denial. December. 17th was my birthday.
09:22 I know those in the news all over the world.
09:26 AutoZone on M. January 5th 2016. I was in the White House.
09:32 And that totally transformed my life.
09:36 I was so deeply touched and we were always addressed respected and well-liked. Is it, is it like a dream? But it is a reality. But everyone respected us so much that they never looked at us as survivors. They looked looked at as a sports and whatever advice and recommendation, the United States advisory council members did it was practiced.
10:08 On priest and followed an executed. I still remember like this in 2016 and survivors who were not on the council, still being invited. What is the blue campaign in different videos.com? Is a big is a big achievement.
10:37 And I'd like to thank. I think this is Barack Obama and deportation. Begin with the p. I t f.
10:52 You know Deb. I just want to share into like map victims or survivors and do we have our data of how many victims of survivors we have rescued and do we see that after 1 year 2 years of Fire?
11:17 That's what the number to we need to your mother. Perpetrators did not get prosecuted in the business. And this is all things. I've been practiced yet at the Ohio, state level by the Attorney General's office in Ohio, but they host by our Governor, Mike dewine. Because I work with them on human trafficking.
11:40 That is really cancel my life from Pain to pleasure. Thank you so much. When you were younger at whatever point in your childhood or youth, you can remember, did you ever imagine advising presidents Governors, others on how to improve life for like communities? That are very underserved. I what did you think you would be when you grew up when you were a child?
12:10 I told you in my initial introduction. That I'm a failure.
12:19 Have you tested? So when I was a child, I was a failure at life, from third grade, to 10th grade, Catherine. I filled it all the subject by subject. I was promoted by the teachers. I was very bad in studies. I never dreamt. I talked to Rose because I know toward I can do a good deal, graduate, 10 standard, or 12.
12:50 And forget coming to the United States of America. It was my dads. Giving me a lizard or do you have an office? You have a briefcase?
13:08 Walking in the family and my brothers and sisters were in quarters. So they were forced from the from the top and one from the bottom.
13:24 Still brother. I was the first I was the last.
13:32 I don't know what I'm going to do because I never had a passport.
13:36 But I think it's a God blessing. I pray every second, you not believe all the time. And when I, when I come to the White House, has I say, I say, I say a small prayer before I enter the entire Globe, not only for the United States of America. It's not me. And with that mind body and soul that I can change the world and come back to human trafficking globally.
14:24 I know it hurt flight bisulfite by Simon smart, like one penny to have a drink you like a Pepsi guy, putting thumbs up.
14:36 I can order Photo Candy.
14:38 So, I know the value of what is food that I meant, that I was still in a one person's meal.
14:45 Poor people can eat.
14:48 For people's meal, one person cannot eat.
14:52 Why do they tell you to share and care for others?
14:56 I noticed other thing, I learned from my father, as well, as soon as doing very well in India afterwards, when I graduated. I got a job. Not your chair.
15:10 About to start my hair today. Also.
15:16 Like I do that. There was one lady 77 years old woman to care for the dental because I'm doing it.
15:30 I will be just see it. I better. See a smile on a victim's face on a survival space. I think that is priceless for me.
15:37 Thank you. Say, you carry your at you literally carry your father with you, wherever you go and his words of advice of respecting the person not the chair, or the title keeps tells to keep you grounded. So what is your it? Like, where is your father now? Is he still your $2,000? I always tell myself that my dad is living real estate on August 8th, 2009, my father in me, and that's the way I look at it cuz you know, I always tell him that.
16:19 Life is changed not ended your virtues morals or values. Will remain lifelong.
16:42 It's not at all. It's not all about money or status or power. I don't know what a situation I've gone through. You know, they always say, that. You think you got all the money? You got everything straight line means, retarded, man. I just want to see what I can give you the world. Not what I can take.
17:12 Thank you. So Harold. I'm so glad your father is with us in this conversation as well alive and giving us his perspective, through your words verbalize, but I'm just curious. So, what what do you think your father would say to the life that you're living? Now, the service, the growth from the experiences, you've had that. If he, if he would be able to verbalize like on this call. What, what do you think he would say to us? I would say that. I think he almost I think I I know that he's happy. He's smiling. And the most important thing is that he doing in life, Outlets credit my dad, and whatever. It's not my accomplishment and the way I have reached platforms or goes in my life.
18:12 I'm in it. And think how did this happen? So does that thing with my dad got faith in the church like you, like, for me, your God, then every Monday, every human being Catherine, that is God. You have the power.
18:26 Letting my dad will be just going to keep doing what you're doing. Keep on helping victims and survivors important, you them, freedom, and Beyond you, like you just keep on doing that. I work as a child. And that's just like I was born and raised as a Roman Catholic in India. The population of Roman Catholicism is 2% in India. If you send this to take me to cycle and then on the scooter, in the front of the school, and then we let you know, whose hands or not.
19:26 What is Kabuto today? So, so during offer tea time? My dad will give me some coins and a spot in the sacristan bag and give you some coins as a child, and I support.
19:43 Something like that thing or maybe what I do like this on the cheek and my dad, Catherine, never, ever told me that they should not touch you or is not touch them close to them and do not believe by God's one day when I was in the US. When all this happened, when I was going through a rough face, and I think that it was their blessing that I got rescued death has kissed me, not once couple of times.
20:22 My traffic report hired a Hitman to kill me.
20:29 But I think when my destiny is written in God's hand.
20:38 Do that, that really means a lot to me. Thank you. The I've always been curious of Harold for you. The resilience that you had to.
20:56 Pull out from all parts that like your soul, your heart, your mind your body, as you were going through your own lived, experience of various hardships. What do it? Sounds like faith for you and your father's guidance and wisdom were really important.
21:20 Tools for your resilience. What else was helpful for you? In the past? What has been helpful for you recently. We're all going through a global pandemic together. Like, how do you how would you define resilience and
21:36 Any tips you'd like to share with other people?
21:40 Yeah, I think I bring phenomics in order to become more aggressive. I would say that survivors, like me had become super aggressive than regular believe. Katherine Arbonne Presentation all across the world midnight in India.
22:01 And then put a morning. I heard a presentation in Canada and in Dubai.
22:05 But there are ways and means to find solution to a problem and wisdom to identify.
22:16 So enduring find American to lot of stuff. In the US, the immigrants. Not get stimulus, package to the Americans. I respect them. They maintain social distancing.
22:32 So I don't go through them. So there are ways and means to help people, or do you need an art? Do I do, I do my work. Like hand wash the victims are so
22:46 Postie of love that dildo.
22:50 You know, that guy do whatever needs to be done is open International. My nonprofit will continue lifelong.
23:07 Do I just go with the mission in life that we are focused on for things, prevention, education, protection, and empowerment of victims, survivors will remember population and community members globally and eyes open. International is working to open, branches in 50 countries and vision vision and dream. Thank you.
23:32 It is so interesting Harold, you're talking about, this really Vivid childhood experience, where you're leaving the church service and people with Leprosy, are like gold like this to your cheeks and patting you on the head as a young boy. How? And then compared to like and what you were dealing with, now of us in different ways, but some overlap of people distancing themselves, not wanting to get sick or hurt. How, what was going to? I'm just getting what was going through your childhood mind when that first interaction happens. Cuz it sounded like your father was showing a lot of love for you and the others in that. But like from just do you remember like, how are you feeling personally back then?
24:32 The child.
24:33 And yeah, I think my dad never told me anything to my dad. Made me just took me and made me give you money and I did not want to do that when they come to take the money.
25:17 This has got to be a nice ass.
25:30 And then later on in life. I realized like you're at this age. You don't like, wow, like, you know what, my dad told me and what I did and maybe I was just like a postman with my father to do. What people tell me a tale of two things. Number one. I'm a postman.
25:48 Number two. I said I'd do it free disabled. Somebody is having a problem with the victim of Labor trafficking. I know that Catherine is working in the training that started, right. So what am I doing? I'm just from one person to another and I decided for eyes open International Catherine. That will not take a single penny from any victim. Come. What may I bring them back to dental appointment?
26:40 United peace, lily, light, blue on Monday for the dental appointment.
26:52 I didn't take that money and money and somebody has to do something.
27:23 And you don't you don't do anything with any expectations and I'm very happy. I went to see the smile on her face. She's happy. That's priceless. Miss. I got, I got my water bill is the blessings. You don't like I got returned in millions when I see the smile on their face.
27:43 So Harold, your father has was a big influence in your life. And you are a father. How are you? Like your father when your father in your children? Like what? How how is your family responding to the work that you're doing? How do you do you involve your boys at all Bradley and roll financially for the last 10 years and retired send a message in the finance. I have thought that would Empower them to live their life on their own.
28:25 Did you ever go to independent and not be dependent on anyone?
28:30 I'm going to die.
28:34 You don't like him and I said he found dead.
28:40 And today, my kids are so empowered. And at the same time, they are so grounded.
28:46 And does the values are so strong here. The value character education and fit as managing Finance or money is most crucial is whatever. Did you catch any more of your doctor? You might be a liar. Whenever you have your list of things to do to why? There's only pay the rent for single. Tell my kids number one, how much I can donate.
29:19 So, every part of your salary, should be.
29:30 Younger generation. Father always said, I am the President of eyes open International. But in reality, I flip, the script in the house. I'm down to my kids. Make a decision on my team members make the decision, but I don't control that are two things. I never been in controlling, you need to believe in Africa.
30:09 If any of the important that you can Alice and they making a mistake, I like I said, you know, making a mistake is not a mistake.
30:17 Making no mistake is a mistake. Mistake is a big mistake, but learning from your mistakes and helping other people to live a happy life. Like what I'm doing today is not a mistake to bring ticket. I'll be very honest guy. 337 my son. I will tell you good physically and we pay the penalty with Chris. That this is a reward. You said my son has an accident. I cross the road.
30:57 And do not believe play, my kids are very conscious. They're not there. Don't they understand the meaning, and then serve it is possible. And what a happy husband is a beautiful wife. I'm happy that my wife is still with me. She didn't divorce me with all these problems.
31:18 And mine's is a notice about it. So we are married for 27 years. And what does your wife think? Of all the the journey you've been in? Whether it's from the while you were in India, the travels to the US, your early experiences here or the war that you're doing now.
31:45 Yeah, she's very supportive, my wife, and my kids were hitting. My kids are not, we don't talk much, what happened in my life. Of time, and I'd like to come on the media platform. Everybody has his on his weaknesses and there's a trauma, like, they throw my son was slapped in front of my own eyes by my traffic for no Rhyme or Reason.
32:29 You know, and I didn't do anything. I just looked and I was quite
32:35 You know, that's what he's paying for. My son. My Dad cried, 420 seconds, maybe like 2 minutes or 3 minutes till I go to the graveyard to me, you know what to do.
32:48 Also helpless things that triggers in a survival flight, but he or she cannot yet. It is just the tip of the iceberg.
32:58 You know, and visit something like that happens in and out everyday, every second, every minute in human trafficking you're calling me, but in real life, when you're a victim, they don't care, show, me legal or anybody in my mind. I think I'm a criminal.
33:26 And they use for towards number one.
33:32 Number to Hancock. NY election number three. And number four,
33:42 And Katherine, no human being including you and me, what's come maybe, whatever it is undocumented to the Border eating grass use and drinking their own urine.
33:58 Nvld, trauma-informed are not here to hear this forwards. We need to respect them. And that is the reality of life. And that is, what is happening. And that is what I'm in the United States of America. Notice tell, you know, if you see something, say something, stop, everything and dial, 188-837-3788. So you're on your way to the gas station, to a restaurant and life. But when you prosecute one perpetrator,
34:38 You are saving hundred victims, focus on the perpetrator a trafficker. Thank you.
34:46 So, thank you so much Harold for sharing some of those Reflections. It's I'm always so inspired not only by your individual Journey, but your family's Journey because you're right the trauma, impacts the broader community in the family. So with your vision, through your organization, your work, your advocacy, your service.
35:12 I got a 50 years from now. Someone is listening to this recording of my two people. They've never met and having this conversation. Like what do you think? What do you hope will be different like 50 years from now? By then your children will be like older than you are. So maybe it's like their children or even grandchildren.
35:37 What do you what do you hope will be different? I think like, it was awhile. I'll be happy.
35:46 Give me, Lord of executor top.
35:54 Super excited. But I am all is working on that. How we can come back. I'll stop human trafficking.
36:01 You know, I do not want any world population to be traffic or people exploiting them.
36:07 You know, knowingly or otherwise Lawrence, so, I'm just working on that. And this is Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.
36:16 This is our eyes. Open International cannot do anything. We need two people to use anything of me and asked me if that is going to help educate our Young Generation and we need to see that they follow in the right track.
36:56 You don't understand my kids. Enjoy your life, but at the same breath, see what you can get back to the community, and if I can help somebody by not getting every drop matters, and that is what we are doing. Thank you.
37:12 So Harold's also out of curiosity, if one of your sons, or maybe both or their grandchildren, are your grandchildren, let's say, wherever they are in, life are carrying a picture of you and their pockets or jackets or bags. And I would love to see see that at some like, I hope that comes to fruition. So let's say like a generation or two under you. They're carrying around your picture as you're going through life. Like, what would you be saying to them individually? As you're like walking, like as your presence in their shirt, pocket or bag or suit jacket?
37:54 I don't understand. I don't understand the simple living and high thinking of Life simple and the Committee Member that is that is my father that if you cannot do anything good.
38:16 That is something that is against up to my mind, if I cannot help anybody, that's fine.
38:21 What are the same breath? I should not do anything bad for them? And that is with all my heart. Is that anyone enters your house?
38:42 To any religion, where does my house? I treat him? Like, I don't, I'm so excited. Like I don't like my dad's house for the first time. I got a small house.
39:02 Do you know, right? I tell people I came across a show them the laundry room in the bedroom to help yourself.
39:29 Harold, you continue to inspire me, reinforced through this conversation and know, you spoke of Mother Teresa and her spirit of service. And I see that very strongly and you are empathy and your service to the community, whether it's like right outside your front door, inside your home around the world. And would you like to give a blessing for like a closing blessing thought for to conclude our conversation today in honor of your father, your ancestors others that have been mentors are spiritual guides for you.
40:09 Yeah, I will fuss it that. Catherine. I need your blessings.
40:14 What's my night long and thank you for being a friend with me like talking on the phone? And I can call you later. Like you call me on the cell phone. Like I feel so good. I don't know how to express my feelings, sentiments, and emotions. But in the end, I would like to tell all my viewers across the globe were watching. This. Is that do not tell God. How big does Tom is in your life.
40:42 What does the storm?
40:45 How big do God is in your life?
40:48 And everything will be said for you believe in yourself and be happy. Thank you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it our time together. And I'm always leaving with some words of wisdom after each of our conversations.