Human trafficking was an evil Kimberly Kozak (Government: Strategic Intelligence) had long been aware of. She discovered the Strategic Intelligence (SI) track under the Government Major when she attended one of PHC’s SI camps in high school. She was happy that her long-time interest in intelligence could translate into a practical career but believed her desire to combat human trafficking was too narrow to be the main focus. In January of her junior year, she realized she was wrong.
It was then that PHC graduate Samuel Curet (Government: Public Policy, ’07) reached out to current SI students with the help of SI department head, Col. Gordon Middleton, and PHC’s International Justice Mission chapter. Co-founder of a brand new company called M1: Zero, Curet was offering internships in which students could be directly involved with the intelligence aspect of fighting domestic trafficking. Kozak saw the opportunity and didn’t hesitate.
A full-time law student at Regent University Law School and a Reserve Officer in the Marine Corps, Curet serves as the Chief Strategy Officer and Intern Supervisor for M1: Zero.
The name stands for “Mission 1: Zero Human Trafficking,” Curet said. “Even with … so many federal agencies and laws on the books, it’s amazing to us that it’s such a significant problem. The average age of a girl entering prostitution in the United States is 13 or 14 years old.”
Always wanting to play some role in justice, Curet first became awake to the “pervasiveness” of human trafficking after his friend and cofounder witnessed it first-hand during a European band tour. Before long, the two friends learned how rampant a problem it was within the United States as well.
At that time, Curet’s friend founded a non-profit organization to help document and stop instances of human trafficking worldwide. He was the first to document a case of transgender human trafficking, recording the story of a boy in India who was forced into a sex-change operation, then sold into prostitution.
In the meantime, Curet was working in Marine intelligence with his PHC degree in Public Policy. By fall 2013, he was studying anti-human trafficking law at Regent, and his friend was serving as the State Coordinator for anti-human trafficking efforts in Florida. The two realized that with their combined experience, they could provide a desperately needed service to law enforcement.
Needing dependable workers who could also help test the new software, Curet contacted the PHC SI Program in search of interns. Now, the software has developed into a sophisticated search method that reveals advertisements for sex services that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Thanks to the work of interns last July, authorities were able to rescue a minor victim of human trafficking in Orlando.
“That victim was rescued as a direct result of M1: Zero’s identifying her,” Curet said. M1: Zero works with multiple branches of law enforcement, including the FBI, Homeland Security, and local departments in Virginia and Florida. It isn’t uncommon for law enforcement officials to complement the work of M1: Zero’s interns, Curet said.
One federal officer told Curet that the interns’ intelligence work was of the highest quality he’d ever seen.
“I knew from the first idea [of M1: Zero] that connecting with the talent in the SI Program was going to be a key factor in our being successful,” Curet said. “While we haven’t had the success that we’ve wanted quite yet, the fact that we are able to assist in the rescue and have a positive impact on so many different law enforcement agencies speaks a lot to the students in the program and PHC’s SI Program in general.”