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MY CHAPTER IN RECENT BOOK
~ Broward County ~
My two years' experience and investigation
MY CHAPTER IN RECENT BOOK
~ Broward County ~
My two years' experience and investigation
What if you asked a smoker, dying of lung cancer, which cigarettes were most harmful. He couldn't answer. Mark Robbins, in the same way, could not look back and pinpoint which part of his experience in a cult was the most damaging. It all flows together.
Mark Robbins in June of 2017 signed himself and his twins into a program which appeared to be a healthy self-growth workshop. It had a pleasing name and appeared to be a program involving being grateful with one’s life. Gratitude Training. What could be the harm? Having previously been part of various retreats and such – Mark knew that if he didn’t “try on the suit” that the program offered then he was wasting his time. However, ominous signs appeared during this program.
Mark realized that he and his older children had been tricked and trapped into a cult whereby all the exercises had a brainwashing aspect. The paying students became the workers. Unpaid workers. The cult euphemistically labeled this as “service” which usurped the students’ time and resources and weakened relationships outside the cult.
Mark foresaw that the program could remain viable in graduates’ lives only if they volunteered ad infinitum as alumni. Mark observed that the staff volunteers were dressed in “business professional.” This obscured the fact that hardly anyone in the cult ever achieved the promised prosperity. Some resorted to “couch surfing” as their means of housing. Mark’s research revealed that a for-profit company was acting illegally if any of its workers were unpaid. There were no exceptions… no matter how much the volunteers believed they were the “two per cent” set aside to change the world. The cult referred to the outside world as the “hustle.” How ironic.
Mark discerned and identified the product being sold. It was not readily apparent to students nor outsiders. The cult was selling euphoria. The “trainings” consisted of consecutive 14-hour days of sleep deprivation aided by trauma bonding capped with love bonding. The love bombing was always present at the end of the workshop so students could ride the tide of togetherness into the costly next phase. Euphoria is sneaky. It keeps secrets. Euphoria neglects to tell its hosts that it serves temporarily.
Mark confronted the owner’s practices of not compensating workers. Within hours he was asked to leave. Yet his kids were retained, effectively, as chattel. Mark was instantly frozen out of the “team” and was labeled “negative energy.” Not only was this a retaliatory response to Mark, but it also set an example for others considering an exit. Mark and his ex-wife wrote specific letters explaining why their twins were no longer appropriate for the program. Vindictively, the cult taunted Mark with the knowledge that his kids were legally independent having been a year removed from minor status. The missing limb syndrome began to surface for Mark as his kids became increasingly detached.
The cult is a knock-off of similar programs beginning with “EST” in the 70’s. Naïve, vulnerable, and hopeful youth were no match for a cult imposing brainwashing techniques refined over 40 years. The methods were devious and measured. Strategic and exploitative. Insidious and ensnaring. And worst of all – they worked. The owner lived comfortably in a million-dollar home with a yacht tied in the waterway. Mark’s understanding of repressive leaders – from Jim Jones to David Koresh – became clear. Sociopaths, with a diseased sense of self-worth, operate with a lack of conscience. Their counterfeit confidence masquerades as charisma. People buy it.
Mark suffered the torment of knowing his adopted kids were sealed behind a curtain of evil. Each additional day represented further separation. At his wit’s end, Mark decided that if he couldn’t liberate his kids from the cult then he would dismantle the cult himself. This began Mark’s “unstoppable journey.” Using his persuasive and acerbic writing style, Mark used his public anti-corruption blog to surgically expose the cults’ detestable tactics and to inform the students that they were entitled to be paid for their work. Mark achieved results. The cult’s population was halved. Mark began legal proceedings which drew the attention of national online publications such as “The Daily Beast” and Yahoo news. The cult, dangling on the ropes, was ready for a knockout punch. Around this time, however, Mark’s discovered that a group of brainwashed devotees had staffed an even more sinister sister cult which immediately diverted Mark’s attention.
Mark exposed this sister cult (New Beginnings) as a sex trafficking juggernaut which existed in south Florida under a veil of benevolence and virtue. This offshoot represented itself as a full-service surgical recovery center for transgendered youth. The great desire for transgendered persons is that they be fully transitioned to their self-identified gender. This included “top” (breast) and “bottom” surgery. The sex trafficking ring lured young biological females from around the world who curiously travelled alone and were asked neither to bring cash nor rent a car. The victims were under the pretense that they’d receive the complete transition surgery, comfort pets, lifelong friends, and delightful excursions. The “extras” were attempts to groom the youth with the goal of sex trafficking them. No one received the bottom surgery.
The master plan came into view. A plastic surgeon, who was part of the sex trafficking cult, performed “top” only surgeries for a minority of the 700 “patients” that the cult claimed to have helped. The youth who received the “top” surgeries were used as a façade. Their shirtless pictures were posted on the website to have the enterprise appear legitimate. Local kids typically received the “top” surgery and the royal treatment the cult advertised. Their satisfaction was touted to enhance the cult’s reputation within the south Florida region. Dreadfully, the kids flying in from overseas weren’t so lucky. They were exploited. They were invisible to the outside world and had no one looking for them. Upon arrival to the U.S., nothing prevented these innocents from being directly trafficked as they surrendered their passports and were whisked away in the luxury van. Their fate was sealed precisely at this point. The cult’s ingenious design fooled everyone for years.
Curiously, the cult’s web site doesn’t picture a single adult patient over, say, twenty-five years old. The web site legitimately reads as a menu for predatory johns. It also fails to finish the stories of the young patients who travelled so far. Where did they land? How did they fare? Were return plane tickets used? Why weren’t these basic questions answered?
Mark was asking the right questions. His circumspection revealed yet another dark side. He realized that biological girls, even with breasts removed, could still be readily trafficked. Why? Because of their pre-pubescent look. Sick as it is, twelve-year old girls are the most attractive commodity for Johns. The ring’s familiarity with fetishes was known through yet a third cult, a salacious and secretive BDSM / orgy business that was run by the traffickers.
Mark’s investigation began with a single red flag when he realized that a that a recovery house was unnecessary for “top” only surgery which was both same day and out-patient. No one would travel 10-20 hours for this. Mark not only questioned the cult’s revenue sources, but he could not find any. Black market cash could only be sourced through sex trafficking or pornography. The cult had access to the pornography business since one of its board members was a transgendered porn star / executive in Los Angeles. The trafficking ring had a prolifically high hurdle to meet its expenses. Costs included the upkeep of a $2 M mansion, the hosting of 700 “patients,” alleged $7,000 surgeries, excursions, and money earmarked for secretive locations where victims were held. Given that a trafficked female could bring in $250 k per year, indicators pointed to sex trafficking as the main source of revenue.
The defining of certain terms is important. The brainwashing cult used trauma bonding which results from shared pain. The cult did not hire professionals (who would lose their licenses) so that safety laws and basic dignity were circumvented. Wide latitude was given to the trainers. The cult’s exercises were horrifying and intrusive. One cathartic exercise was so intense that vomit bags were offered. Another exercise had students identify the least attractive person and tell them why they were so. Yet another exercise involved critically pointing out the worst personality traits of another. Mark knew of one gentleman who had early onset dementia. This poor man was told that he was dead to the world and broken in spirit. This was part of the trauma bonding. Bear in mind, the hidden goal of the cult was to break one. What the cult clearly missed was that inhibitions are natural, good, and God given. They serve as social lubricants for a civil society. Destroying them does not make the world a better place.
The cult was treacherous. Mark witnessed one young lady (Lisa) who experienced a psychotic “break” and assumed a demonic persona. Lisa was at the mercy of a staff with no legitimate qualifications. 911 was called and Lisa spent several days in a psychiatric hospital. Drug relapses and chemical highs were not only common, but according to some students, were encouraged. Another female (part of my “class”) was visibly detoxing from heroin as she began the program and clearly needed to be elsewhere. She died of a heroin overdose after “graduating.” Multiple students suffered drug relapses. One student committed suicide. He took a swan dive off an I-95 overpass after ingesting the opiate-mirroring substance called kratom – a cult favorite. Kava stores selling this highly addictive kratom were heavily owned, managed, and supported by the cult members.
Some of the heavy-set gals were asked to belly dance with their stomachs embarrassingly exposed. Certain men were asked to wear diapers for the entire day. Most pathetically, one young female so firmly believed the cult’s false promises that she devoted too many unpaid hours of “service.” She found herself destitute. Her solution was to publicly petition others on social media by offering to pose nude for pictures in return for a little money or food. The leaders, trainers, and the owner sat by idly without chipping in. Fellow students praised for her authenticity and courage to strip. Only one person brought her food with no strings attached.
Perhaps the most ghastly and horrific parts of the cult (and their weekend add-ons) were requests to publicly answer the following questions in front of the group. The trainers asked questions such as “Have you ever been molested? Have you ever molested anyone? And have you ever killed another person?” Students weren’t told they were being taped. Minimally, the motivation here was to use these stark confessions as blackmail and to cull the herd for the most vulnerable. The head trainer was a board member / manager of the sex trafficking racket and the BDSM cult. Recruits were being searched for. One of Mark’s fellow participants (age 22) slipped away and is now ensconced in both the sex trafficking and BDSM cults. All roads led to sex and money.
Mark experienced private information being used against him when he left. In fact, he was forced to answer personal questions as part of a four-hour deposition used to intimidate him. A sham restraining order was filed against him and he was banned from leased property of the cult. Physical distance was placed between him and his twin kids. The cult set off a social media blast asking for any dirt on Mark. The cult also started (and failed) a petition drive requesting that Google remove Mark’s blog. Most grievous to Mark was the manipulation of his twins. In one exercise, after Mark was outside the cult, his twin kids were told to be spoon fed by older adults in the cult. The given reason? So that his kids would “receive the love that they never received from their father.” The cult engaged in very bizarre tactics like the awarding of "dog tags" to students and eerie candlight ceremonies.
One of the most upsetting experiences for Mark also served as his greatest confirmation that corrupt law enforcement was an integral part of the sex trafficking racket. On a bright Sunday afternoon Mark sat in his car before a RR crossing that had malfunctioned. Mark, acting as a Good Samaritan, decided to help drivers through the broken crossing by raising the wooden cross bar. This was legal under the circumstances. Three months elapsed before there was pounding on mark’s door. Mark was arrested for a felony, jailed, and had his mug shot taken for the paper. He was charged with interfering with a RR operation (that wasn’t operating). Upon examining the police report, Mark noticed that law enforcement used fraudulent dates in at least four places. Even the notarization was falsified. The truth of the matter was that this arrest was done so to carry out the bidding of a dirty FBI agent whom Mark accurately identified (at a minimum) as an aider, abettor, and bribe taker to the sex trafficking ring. The sex trafficking cult could only exist with coverage from law enforcement.
How determined was law enforcement to protect one of their own? The police put forth a canard claiming that witnesses fingered Mark a day after the incident. Why would anyone report a Good Samaritan a day later? They wouldn’t. The police report claimed that photo lineups were used to identify Mark as though a violent crime was committed. This activity represented the darkest side of law enforcement when one considers that police attempted to pin a crime on the citizen most responsible for fighting child sex trafficking. All charges were dropped after Mark vowed to put law enforcement on the stand. To cement his credibility, Mark independently passed a polygraph regarding the corruption that he encountered with law enforcement. An activist’s integrity is paramount to his mission.
Mark Robbins, undaunted, has continued his exposure of cults and trafficking and is becoming known to officials within the state. Mark successfully shut down an anti-trafficking nonprofit which, at a minimum, was sympathetic to the traffickers. Sadly, there are many groups where “Satan was masquerading as an angel.” Mark’s courage is shown by pushing forward despite his fear of retribution. The trafficked kids have no one looking for them. In his fight for them Mark has assumed a position on the front lines where bullets are taken. Mark is currently working on a sex trafficking victims’ restoration bill designed to have Johns provide resources for the victims’ rehabilitation. This bill represents a paradigm shift in the fight against sex trafficking. Victories occur at the intersection of opportunity and remaining unstoppable. Mark continues his fight.