Tim: Several months ago, a woman named Elizabeth Salgado was last seen walking down the center street in one of the safest cities in the United States – Provo, Utah – and she went missing. Somebody apparently took her, and that left a family in absolute shambles. I have two members of that family here: Elizabeth’s mother, Libertad Edith, and Elizabeth’s uncle, Rosenberg Salgado. Thank you both for coming on the show today. Can you tell me what happened, or at least what we know about what happened to Elizabeth, and how that affected you and how that affected your family?
Rosenberg: First of all, just so you know, Elizabeth Salgado was a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She wanted to come here to Provo, Utah, because she wanted to be associated with people that they had the same religious beliefs, and wanted to progress in her life and be able to open more opportunities in her life, and wanted to be in a great place, safest place on earth. And she thought that this would be, like, the best place on earth for her to be learning English. Unfortunately, three weeks later, on the 16th of April, she went missing, and as of right now we don’t have any leads, nothing that can help us believe to be able to find her. We are working also with the police department. They said the FBI is also involved, but right now there are no leads at all. Our family has been suffering a lot. My dad died because of the stress that we haven’t been able to find my niece. My sister is having high blood pressure problems and the father of Elizabeth is having high blood pressure problems as well because of the stress that we haven’t been able to find my niece. So it has been a terrible experience for a family. It is something that we never thought this was going to happen to my niece, especially in a city that is so safe. I mean, to me, we felt like probably Utah was just the safest place on earth.
Tim: Sure, yeah. You know, I’m so sorry. We’ve been working on this investigation as you know, and it is a difficult case. It’s like she just vanished in the thin air. You know, it’s something that we, at Operation Underground Railroad – we see this all the time. We see it everyday. It doesn’t do anything to normalize the situation or to downgrade the pain at all. But I want to ask, before you lost Elizabeth, what was your idea or thoughts on things like trafficking and this kind of crime? Was it something that even touched you or affected you or that you knew about?
Rosenberg: Honestly, before my niece went missing, I didn’t even think that existed that kind of problem here in the…I mean in this country, or any country in the world, because I think it’s something horrible, you know, people they go through that. I honestly didn’t even think it existed, to be honest. So I wasn’t even aware of that until right now, that now we are going through this, and that I feel like I want to even help out more people to be able to rescue these people because it’s terrible that you are going through this experience as a family. As a family member, we are desperate, we are… I mean, you can’t even live a normal life – you can’t even sleep thinking where your niece is, what happened to her, and why are they doing this to an innocent girl. So it’s something that we actually didn’t even think that this problem existed, to be honest.
Tim: Yeah…I’m so sorry. Again, thank you so much for being willing to talk. What we are seeking is a solution, right. The purpose of Slave Stealer podcast is to make people aware. Unfortunately, the way you learned about it was absolutely horrific. There’s no worse way to learn about it. Have you learned anything? Have you… Could you help us? Because we don’t claim to have all the answers, right. But we are trying to find those answers. And so I ask you, and in a minute, I am going to ask you to talk to your sister – of course she speaks Spanish and we’ll have you translate her feelings about this as well. But again, I am speaking here with Rosenberg Salgado, the uncle to Elizabeth Elena Salgado, who, in April, was apparently kidnapped. She vanished in one of the safest neighborhoods in the world, in Provo, Utah. Rosenberg, what do you think needs to happen to minimize this kind of crime?
Rosenberg: To be honest, I mean I feel like if a lot of people that were contributing to be able to rescue more people and now that I am aware that this organization exists, I’m even trying to see if there are any companies that they can donate time and money for you guys to be able to help out and rescue all the people in the world that need to be rescued. Because it is just terrible that families…they go through this and I feel like if there are a lot of people trying to contribute just a little a bit, it can make a better world.
Tim: Right, right, and I couldn’t agree more with you. If everybody knew how large this was… And they just don’t. It is hidden. But it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. It is billions of dollars into the kidnapping and selling and abuse of people, whether it’s slave labor or sex trafficking. People need to know because we can’t solve this problem unless everybody knows. When we talk about these numbers, millions and millions, it’s important not to let those numbers desensitize us in any way because each of those numbers has a story attached to that, right, like yours. There is pain attached to it. There is lives altered and changed forever because of that, and it is important to know and recognize that there is that kind of a story behind every single number that equals and adds up to millions. That’s the kind of pain and suffering we are talking about. I think that your story really will help people to see it and wake up. Now, in terms of Elizabeth herself, what can people do? What can people do to help you specifically? I know that there has been an award offered for information. Tell me about that.
Rosenberg: Right. There is a $50,000 reward that whoever gives us a lead that will help us find my niece, they get the reward. And also, I feel that a lot of people… If they are on the streets or, you know, they can be looking around to be aware if they happen to see her. My niece went missing during the day. I am sure that somebody knows something or somebody saw something. We are just asking the community that whoever knows something just please have compassion on this girl and just tell us what they know. I mean, they need to put themselves in our own place, and if this was your niece, you would want the whole world to help you find her. You will want everyone to be looking for her. And if they even knew – I mean, you know – the pain we are going through… It’s just terrible. You can’t even describe what we are going through. I mean, I can’t even find the right words to be able to describe what we are going through because it’s just impossible to describe everything that we feel as a family…besides that, praying and also fasting to be able to help us to find my niece. I feel like if they see also anything suspicious in their neighborhoods, even if it isn’t significant, it can be significant to us.
Rosenberg: Just whatever they know. Because sometimes people, they might feel, “Oh no, I mean, I don’t think that this is something that can help them to find her.” I mean, you know, for people that they have the experience, they might be able to be, “Oh, yeah, this is significant so let’s try to look at this lead,” and so whatever they know, they just need to tell the authorities.
Tim: Thank you so much. I’d like you to please ask your sister if she has any message to the world. If she has the whole world listening right now and she wants to tell them about what she’s learned about this problem, or if she has a message she wants to share about Elizabeth or even to Elizabeth – what would she say and would she be willing to say it? And if could you please translate that.
Libertad: Muy buenas tardes a todo los, a todo la comunidad y a toda las lugares en que me están escuchando.
Rosenberg: Good afternoon to everybody, everybody who is listening to me.
Libertad: Este, quiero decirle que antras corrido ocho meses desde la desaparición de mi hija Elizabeth Elena.
Rosenberg: I want to tell you that it has been almost eight months that my daughter disappeared.
Libertad: Es mos passado muchos desafíos.
Rosenberg: We have been going through very hard times.
Libertad: Ansi de muy llenos de sufrimiento, de angustia y de dolor.
Rosenberg: A lot of suffering, a lot of anxiety and a lot of pain.
Libertad: Es un dolor inexplicable.
Rosenberg: It’s a…pain that is…that we can’t even explain.
Libertad: Nosotros hemos hecho estan impossible…
Rosenberg: We have done the impossible…
Libertad: …por buscarla.
Rosenberg: ..to be able to find my daughter.
Rosenberg: We have gone through events to be able to pass flyers.
Libertad: En mos sido a Palo Alto, California.
Rosenberg: We have gone through Palo Alto, California to Facebook to be able to see if they can spread up the word for her.
Libertad: Y hemos tocado puertas.
Rosenberg: And knocking on doors.
Libertad: Es una búsqueda incansable.
Rosenberg: It’s a tireless search.
Libertad: No vamos a parar…
Rosenberg: We won’t stop…
Libertad: …a encuéntrala.
Rosenberg: …until we find her.
Tim: Rosenberg, could you ask her what she has learned about this problem in general?
I imagine she’d never imagined…she never thought this would touch her life.
Tim: And, if she knows, what she would do… If she were the king of the world, what she would do to help solve this, not only for Elizabeth, but for everybody?
Libertad: Como reina del mundo, le pediría ayuda a todo los…a todo los medios de comunicación de cada país…
Rosenberg: As the king of the world, I would like to ask all the countries to be able to help us find her. I mean, you know, the communication, like any probably news and all over the world to be able to help us find, I mean, you know, people who are missing.
Libertad: …para que difundiera sus photos.
Rosenberg: So that they could spread out the word.
Tim: Well, I think she hit on it, I think she hit on it. I like what she said. She said there needs to be more communication with countries, right? And that made me think of something that… I don’t know if you are aware of this. The House passed a bill last year. It’s H.R. 515 – it’s International Megan’s Law. Megan’s Law, of course, is a law that takes criminals who have been convicted as sex offenders – child sex offenders. And after they finish their sentences, they are not allowed to live near schools, they are not allowed to live in certain places. And that’s Megan’s Law. And most states have adopted that law. The International Megan’s Law does it internationally. So if we, in the United States, have a known convicted child sex offender and that person is traveling to Mexico, then the U.S. government will notify the Mexican government. And tell them: “Hey, this guy is coming to your country. You should know this.” It also creates something called ‘angel watch’, the Angel Watch Center. And what it is…it’s a place where government officials and non-government officials like Operation Underground Railroad – we can all meet and talk and make sure we know who the bad guys are and be in communication. I mean, I think that, Libertad Edith, I think you have… I mean, that’s what you essentially said. And the problem is right now, if you can believe this, it has been sitting in the Senate for months and months and months and they can’t get it through the Senate to create what is a solution – the very solution that the mother of a victim has, on her own, naturally kind of brought out as one of the solutions to this problem. Here we have this and it’s sitting on these senators’ desks, and they are not even caring about it. They are worrying about things that are far less important than the kidnapping and the abuse of children. To me, it is absolutely outrageous. And I want to ask you both if you would help me with something. We are starting a campaign to finish, once and for all, this bill and get it passed and get it implemented: International Megan’s Law, H.R. 515. Would you be willing to help us? Would you be willing to be witnesses in this and be a voice from someone who knows the reality of this problem? Would you be willing to help us be loud and get the Senate to pass this bill and get it implemented and use it to start saving kids?
Rosenberg: Of course we will be willing because we know what it’s like when you are going through this pain. So it’s been, it’s been very hard like I’ve told you before. It’s impossible to describe what we are feeling and I feel like if they pass this bill, I mean, it will be… It will actually help out the whole world. And I think, I mean, you know, when my sister was saying about having other countries communicating, I mean, you know, to be able to help us spread out the word so a lot of people they can be aware that this problem exists. Because I’m sure that a lot of people…they are not even aware that this problem exists.
Rosenberg: They don’t even have an idea that we are going through this right now. I mean, before my niece went missing, I didn’t even think that there was sex trafficking at all until now that we are learning more about, “Ok, what could have happened to her?”
Rosenberg: And so, you see all the options and now we are like, “Let’s make this world a better place, and let’s try to save everybody that is going through this.”
Tim: And you are now in a position of influence. I mean, you are in a position because of what you have been through. You are witnesses.
Tim: You are witnesses in a way that most are not and you can stand up, and I appreciate you doing that. I know you both. I’ve met several times with you, and I know you are willing to do that and we appreciate that. Another question I want to ask you is have you seen social media make a difference in the search for Elizabeth? And is this something that you think we should be utilizing more, perhaps the police should be utilizing more? Because it’s all about communication, right? You start this investigation – I know because I’ve been on many of these. The first thing you look for is a witness. You need information: where is she? Someone knows. Who knows? It’s all about disseminating information, requesting information, finding information. How do you do that? I mean, we do it every day with social media. Have you guys utilized social media at all in your efforts to find Elizabeth?
Rosenberg: Yes. We have tried to put a lot of advertisements on social media, you know Facebook and – everybody is always on Facebook – but I feel like the police and the FBI, they can also get… When these cases, they happen, they can actually spread out the word and have a connection also with Facebook: “Let’s stop the crime.” I mean, you know, let’s actually… “Whoever knows something about this person, please let us know,”or “If you guys have seen this person, just let the authorities know.” I feel like that would help out a lot, because a lot of people… They are using social media, they are always there, they know what’s going on, and I have known that…I mean, you know, like for example – when on the news they are trying to find somebody that social, they put it on social media, and then people, they start commenting, and they say, “Yes, I have seen this person,” or whatever. And that would help out so much. I mean, you know… So if the police…they can actually have also connections with all those big social media networks. I don’t know, I mean, I feel like it can be a big help.
Tim: Well, let’s work harder to make sure we are utilizing social media to the best of its ability. We are building software here at Operation Underground Railroad that will help the police identify where these people are, who are the perpetrators of this most heinous crime, and it really is the way you need to attack this problem. So I want to thank you both for coming in, and this is by no means the last meeting we’ll have with you. We know we have so many things; we’ve talked about so many projects that we want to work on. Most important, of course, is the search for Elizabeth; after that is what else can we do, what else can you do with us to help others? Because like I said, there’s millions in this position. And just because we don’t know about it – because it is such a hidden world – doesn’t mean that it is not there. People need to know it is there and people like you who are willing to come out and talk about it – you are the best witnesses because you are going through it. You are going through this hell. So I can’t thank you enough for having the courage to come on and talk about this because we believe that what you are doing is saving lives.
Rosenberg: Thank you so much for inviting us and we appreciate everything that you do to make this world a better place. I feel like if there were more people like you in this world, this world would be a better place. And if everybody can contribute to be able to rescue these kids that are slaves, if they can contribute to be able to help you out, this world would be so much better. And thank you very much for doing what you are doing.
Tim: Well, thank you both so much. I have a wonderful team that makes it happen, and of course the contributions are what keep us in place. So please, everyone, check us out at ourrescue.org and help us. Help us so we can help people like the Salgado family. So thank you both so much – thanks for coming on and let’s continue this fight together.
Libertad: Y a Elizabeth Elena…
Rosenberg: And Elizabeth Elena…
Libertad: …si me estás escuchando…
Rosenberg: …if you are listening…
Libertad: …quiero decirte hija…
Rosenberg: …I want to tell you…
Libertad: …que no nos vamos a rendir hasta encontrarte.
Rosenberg: …that we won’t stop looking for you until we find you.
Libertad: Tenemos buscado por cielo y tierra y mar.
Rosenberg: We have been looking for you all over the place.
Libertad: Y desde el día que desapareciste…
Rosenberg: And from the day that you went missing…
Libertad: …nuestra vida cambió completamente.
Rosenberg: …our lives have changed a lot.
Libertad: Te amamos.
Rosenberg: We love you.
Libertad: Te extrañamos…
Rosenberg: We miss you…
Libertad: …y queremos ver tu cara angelical.
Rosenberg: …and we want to see your beautiful face.
Libertad: Necesitamos tenerte en nuestros brazos.
Rosenberg: We need you in our lives and be able to hug you.
Libertad: Sentimos a nuestro corazón…
Rosenberg: We feel in our hearts…
Libertad: …un gran vacío…
Rosenberg: …an empty hole…
Libertad: …porque nos has te falta.
Rosenberg: …because you are missing in our lives.
Libertad: Te queremos tener de resto con nosotros.
Rosenberg: We want you back in our lives.
Libertad: Te extrañamos mucho…
Rosenberg: We miss you a lot…
Libertad: …y queremos volver a ser feliz como antes.
Rosenberg: We want to be happy the same way that we were when you were with us.
Libertad: Necesitamos encontrarte.
Rosenberg: We need to find you.
Libertad: Y a los que te tiene…
Rosenberg: Whoever has you…
Libertad: …les pido por favor…
Rosenberg: …I’m asking you …
Libertad: …que tenga compasión de nosotros.
Rosenberg: …please have compassion on our family.
Libertad: Nos han hechos sufrir mucho.
Rosenberg: You guys have caused a lot of suffering in our lives.
Libertad: Y les suplicamos…
Rosenberg: And we are begging you…
Libertad: …que la entreguen.
Rosenberg: …to please give us our daughter back.
Libertad: Que lo consideren como si fuera el hija de ustedes.
Rosenberg: To please have compassion on this girl like if she was your own daughter.
Libertad: Le pedimos al padre celestial…
Rosenberg: We ask our Heavenly Father…
Libertad: …que mandes de ángeles celestiales.
Rosenberg: …to protect her with her angels.
Libertad: No le hagas daño.
Rosenberg: Please, don’t hurt my daughter.