Actor Dean Cain doesn't believe in privacy when it comes to protecting his children, especially from predators in the trafficking industry.
He stars in the new film “Trafficked: A Parent’s Worst Nightmare,” inspired by multiple true stories from American suburban families whose lives were uprooted after one of their children was abducted and trafficked.
"I just think it's a hugely important topic and subject for today that people don't really appreciate how dangerous it is, [and] how many predators exist out there for our children,” Cain told The Christian Post. “My son is 20 years old now but I've been having these conversations with him for 20 years, about the internet and people and safety and situational awareness and all these different things.”
“Trafficked,” released on Jan. 26 and available on Digital HD and DVD, tells the story of "Allison Riley (Sophie Bolen), a beautiful young girl with a bright future and a dream of becoming a veterinarian. On the eve of her 16th birthday, she sneaks out of her house to meet a handsome boy she met online and disappears,” the synopsis states.
“Her parents, Joanna (Kristy Swanson) and Case (Mark Boyd), contact the police who assume that Allison is just out with a boyfriend. They reluctantly hire Private Investigator John Belton (Dean Cain) who has a reputation for making his own rules. Belton quickly discovers that Allison had likely been trafficked by a handsome young man she met online and that he’s on a race against time if the Rileys hope to see their daughter again.”
The “God’s Not Dead” actor said everyone is susceptible to peer pressure, especially young people online.
"We all want someone to like us and pay us attention and that sort of situation,” Cain said. “So to see it happen with this one girl and her story, I think, is a very effective way of warning everybody about the real dangers of human trafficking and predators for our children. That’s a very clear and present danger. Unfortunately, in this day and age, the internet lets everybody into your room.”
The Joel Paul Reisig film, distributed through Virgil Films, shows the excruciating journey that parents face when discovering their children have become victims of human trafficking.
When it comes to safeguarding children from being lured by predators, Cain doesn’t pull punches.
"Parents and children may not like what I'm going to say but that's too bad. Know your kid's passwords, monitor them online, monitor them when they're playing on the Xbox, monitor them all the time,” the single father advised. "My son, he was allowed to play all kinds of things but he had to be in the room with me. So the conversations he was having with people, he was in the room with me, he was stuck, there's no one else he could run to.
"I played games with him all the time. So I got involved. I'm on the games with him and playing things with him. I'm there and paying attention. I knew all of his passwords. And I said, ‘If you have something and there's a password to something that I go to get on your phone, anytime I want to look, if you don't give me the password, or it's incorrect, or you hide something from me, your phone either swims or flies. I'm chucking it in the toilet or in the pool because there's no negotiation.’"
Even with strict rules, bad things can still happen but Cain wanted to offer his “best piece of advice.”
"It's a horrible invasion of privacy for your children, but they're your children and you're trying to protect them. For me, I say invade their privacy, look through their school bag, look through their stuff, let them know they haven't earned the right to be a private 100% [individual],” he maintained. “You're not an adult. You’re still my child and I'm doing this for your well-being. As much as you might think you know at 12 or 14, or 10 or 16, you don't and I'm only looking out for your best interest. It's a hard thing to do but that's what I did as a parent.”
Americans usually do not grasp the severity of trafficking unless it hits close to home. However, it is closer to everyone than they think, he noted. As shown in “Trafficked,” almost a million people in the United States are victims of sex trafficking.
"It's something that I think should be up in the forefront of our conversations, especially with all our kids on the internet, and how that opens up your entire home and their lives to predators,” the “Lois & Clark” Superman actor warned. “My two god kids are nine years old and I have these conversations with them all the time, just like I had them all the time with my son growing up and he still makes mistakes, it still happens because it's tough to be so closed off and it's unfortunate, but you have to.”
A staggering statistic announced on NBC's "Today" show in 2016 revealed that every 30 seconds on average, someone falls victim to sex trafficking.
"Sometimes we don't like to face our uncomfortable truths in this country,” Cain said.
“The media is its own animal. What the media chooses to focus on sometimes to me is shocking and I'm part of the media. I hosted the ‘Today’ show a ton, I co-hosted ‘Fox and Friends’ and all sorts of things. In that sense, I am part of the media and people don't want to talk about uncomfortable, awful things.
"We hide so much in our media — the violence and the danger of certain things, or even the reality of opioid addiction and things like that. The reality is, it's a really terrible, awful, ugly thing to see. To talk about human trafficking, well, you're stepping up to the next level.”
There are even situations where families sell their own children to prostitution in the U.S., he lamented.
“This stuff happens way more often than it should and I can't speak to why the media wouldn't cover it more or make more of an issue of it other than the fact that it's ugly, and it's uncomfortable to talk about,” he said.
In the film, Cain is a part of a company that gets hired to help families find their missing children. In real life, the actor is also a law enforcement officer. He serves as a reserve police officer in Pocatello, Idaho, and a sheriff's deputy in Frederick County, Virginia. He works with the Crimes Against Children Foundation, which deals with human trafficking.
"Every department has an Internet Crimes Against Children department, a unit. Most of them do and they go after these predators. They have a very sophisticated way of doing so but it's incredible how sophisticated the bad guys are,” Cain detailed.
"We know who a lot of these predators are. There’s just a way to have to take them down. There’s ways to get the word out there. One of them might be to make a television show about it. We've discussed it, we're in the process of it because I'm an officer, that could change things.”
Cain is looking to do a TV show “taking down some of these bad guys, and telling the stories.” He hopes that a show on this evil will get “people more aware and more savvy and able to protect themselves better.”
Sex slavery is estimated to be a $150 billion industry with most of the planning happening online and the dark corners of the internet.
And traffickers can be anybody.
"They’re everybody, you don't know, you can't tell. Sometimes it's crime organizations,” Cain said. “It's really shocking to see who the people are who do this and who the clients are, who are aware of what's going on.”
"It could be your everyday neighbor, it's people you wouldn't expect,” he cautioned, “or people that you would expect — the obvious, the crime cartels and groups that do that. Whether it's gang activity, which certainly exists, and it's this huge, wide, varied cross-section of bad people who do this and allow it to continue and perpetuate this.”
Cain said human trafficking is a “worldwide business and it's huge.”
“It's just awful. It exists in so many countries in so many places. The fact that almost a million people go missing here in the United States a year tells you it's a giant problem. If it happens like that in United States, imagine how bad it is elsewhere,” he insisted.
"It's unfortunate, but it's the world we live in. It's not like this is unprecedented either. This is the world we've always lived in. I pray for the best and I prepare for the worst.”
Cain, who is a professing Christian, said there are things people of faith can do to help combat this great evil.
“Trafficked” features a scene where a church gets involved and rescues a young lady being held as a prisoner. The actor called it "one of the most powerful moments" in the film.
"You have to talk about the ugliness of it, and you can get involved,” he emphasized. "You'd love to think that your faith could bring you to a place where you could be that heroic for someone.”
"I am certainly a person of faith. I'm Christian, my son went to a Christian high school and he was raised Christian. We've discussed religion at nauseam, and back and forth,” Cain testified.
"I like making movies of faith and discussing faith and showing faith in a positive light. I feel like there's been a real big-time attack on Christianity and morality in a sense recently, and I don't agree with it,” he states.
The Michigan native works regularly with a group called JC films that makes ministry films.
"If that little movie can affect one person, five people, 10 people, it's a gift. So to be able to do that, I try to as much as possible,” Cain said.
"I do believe that God wants us to be involved in doing positive things 100%. It's part of why I became a police officer, to do these things, to be a part of doing good and protecting people. That's what we do here on Earth, and we can do good for other people you're serving. That's what I try to do. I'm far from perfect. But it's certainly the goal.”