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We Told You About Operation Underground Rescue 3 Years Ago. Here's What We've Learned Since Then.

With the Movie "Sound of Freedom" Now Making Tim Ballard a Household Name, is America Doing Enough to End Child Sex Trafficking?

Article Written by Jett James Pruitt

I was 14 years old when I first learned about Tim Ballard and his non-profit organization, Operation Underground Rescue (O.U.R.). I was so shocked and impressed with his mission that I dedicated an entire chapter of my first book to tell his story — Chapter 13 of THROUGH THE EYES OF A YOUNG AMERICAN to be exact — and have donated 20 percent of my book profits to O.U.R. every single month since its publication in June 2020.

Three years ago, I attended a fundraiser for the movie #SoundofFreedom in Los Angeles, CA when it was still struggling to find a studio that would release it. The movie had already been made, but no one would touch it — not even with motivational speaker Tony Robbins serving as an executive producer of the film. By then, I knew more about child sex trafficking than any teenager should ever know about the topic, which is why I am grateful this film has finally broken into mainstream conversation.

Me attending a fundraiser for Tim Ballard's NGO in February 2020.

July 30th is World Day Against Trafficking.

With millions of people calling for government officials to #RiseUpForChildren, our country has been accused of being more concerned with the atrocities of the past than stopping those who are engaging in slavery in the present.

In fact, the International Labour Organization has calculated the number of modern-day slaves has now reached a total of nearly 50 million people, yet the vast majority of Americans were only aware of our horrific history of slavery before the movie "Sound of Freedom" was released on July 4, 2023.

According to UNICEF, human trafficking is the second largest illicit industry in the U.S, second only to the drug trade.

Yet many are still critical that Biden has done little to address this problem in the United States, and is in fact, enacting policies that are inadvertently amplifying it.

For example, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot released a statement in 2021 claiming “President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created a humanitarian crisis that is enriching the cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers who often prey on and abuse unaccompanied minors."

And journalist Katie Pavlich once stated on live TV that "the Biden administration is engaging in human trafficking because they are enabling this to happen at the southern border."

It is absolutely clear the current administration is one hundred percent against modern slavery. But just how are Biden's immigration policies unintentionally feeding the pre-existing horror of child trafficking?

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than 2,000 children are reported missing each day in the United States.

Most victims are abducted by people the child knows, but for the ones who are not, an unspeakable life of hell, or even death, awaits them.

In 2016, former President Barack Obama passionately and accurately summarized the horrors of human sex trafficking when he said, “I’m talking about the injustice — the outrage of human trafficking — which must be called by its true name: modern slavery. It is barbaric and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world.”

Yet few Americans knew how deep the rabbit hole went until now.

American children as young as toddlers are being sold abroad as sex slaves. Girls as young as five are working seven days a week in brothels. Pre-teens are being kidnapped and murdered for their organs.

For instance, a ten-year-old boy can be bought in most countries for as little as $10,000, and forced to service five men a day for several years. When his body becomes too damaged, his heart can be sold on the black market in Asia for $250,000 for an organ transplant.

I wish I was describing the plot of one of my mother's horror movies or books, but I am not. In fact, reality can often be much worse than fiction.

While older generations have a hard time comprehending — let alone discussing — the subject of child sex trafficking,

The truth is that predators are hunting Generation Alpha. Therefore, Generation Z must lead the fight to end it.

And while the U.S. government has been trying to curb the amount of people being unethically exploited for decades, we still face an unprecedented number of innocent lives who have been forced to succumb to monsters who continue to ruin hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Here are the facts:

• According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 300,000 young people in the United States are considered “at risk” of sexual exploitation every year.

•  The U.S. State Department has discovered, of the 600,000 to 800,000 people that are unwillingly trafficked across international borders every year, half are children and 80% are female.

•  The U.S. State Department also found that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States annually.

•  The U.S. Labor Department found that 148 goods that were identified from 75 countries were explicitly produced by forced and child labor.

In fact, exploited children are often kidnapped on American soil, or while a family is on vacation overseas, which is rarely mentioned in mainstream news because America is afraid of staring this level of evil in the face.

On the other hand, much has been said about the crisis at the Southern Border, but do we even know how much this crisis is feeding the network of exploited children?

According to CBS News, a record 130,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the US-Mexico border illegally in 2022, compared to only 9,380 children in 2019.

Border control agent Michael Gramley attributes the recent “explosion” to the Biden administration’s decision to cancel Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which forced those seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their cases were reviewed.

Last year, The New York Post interviewed Homeland Security agent Michael. P. Conlon, who oversees a team that monitors the direct human pipeline from Tenancingo, Mexico, to New York City for the commercial sexual exploitation of women and minors.

“They are held in apartments in Queens against their will and driven from appointment to appointment to have sex with men,” said Conlon. “They see 15, 20 men in an evening and all money is handed over to the trafficker.”

To be fair, President Biden hasn't been completely silent on the issue.

Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and President Joe Biden (R)

Last year, President Biden announced the formation of a new task force to combat human trafficking called Joint Task Force Alpha, which paired federal prosecutors from the Justice Department with members of the Department of Homeland Security to prosecute human trafficking networks operating out of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

"The Joint Task Force will investigate and prosecute those who are criminally smuggling and trafficking individuals into the United States, with a particular focus on individuals and networks that abuse, exploit, or endanger those being smuggled, pose national security threats, or have links to transnational organized crime,” said U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland.

But was that really enough? Why have we heard so little about this task force today?

Before the last U.S. Presidential Election, Biden released an official statement on what he would do to end child sex trafficking if he were elected president:

"I stand with survivors and commit that as President, I will build on the work of the Obama-Biden Administration to end human trafficking. I will reassert the leadership role America has played on this issue for more than two decades," said Biden on July 30, 2020.

President Biden went on to commit to America that:

"If elected, I will make it a priority to combat this terrible crime, protect those vulnerable to trafficking, and empower survivors to rebuild their lives with safety, dignity, and opportunity. Building on the work of the Obama-Biden administration, I will:

•  Expand federal grant programs that support citizen and non-citizen survivors of trafficking.

• Enact immigration policies that protect survivors.

• Improve our ability to identify human trafficking victims at the border.

• Crack down on employers who engage in labor trafficking, including through their overseas supply chains.

• Harness the responsible use of technology to combat trafficking online.

• Improve public awareness efforts to empower individuals and communities with the tools to recognize and report human trafficking.

• Increase the number of federal anti-trafficking task forces, which result in significant increases in arrests, investigations, and prosecutions of human traffickers.

• Expand cooperation with democracies around the world to combat international human trafficking.

• Prevent human trafficking across the globe by promoting human rights, strengthening the rule of law, and advocating for the rights of vulnerable communities in our international engagement."

Yet three years later, we have little to report other than the creation of a task force.

Yes, our government is dropping the ball, but the NGO sector is filling the gap. Take for instance, the work of Operation Underground Railroad.

Founded by Timothy Ballard in 2013, Operation Underground Railroad is comprised of former CIA agents, U.S. Special Operations Forces members, and other support volunteers, who physically rescue innocent children from sex trafficking operations around the world.

In case that's a hard visual to swallow, let me repeat that:

This organization actually breaks into the homes of child sex traffickers around the world, rescues the children, and then returns them to their families.

But doesn't the FBI do this? No, not across international borders.

In addition to providing physical rescue services, O.U.R. also helps pay for critical physical aftercare and mental health therapy.

So how did it all start? The movie #SoundofFreedom barely scratches the surface of the incredible child rescue work Tim Ballard has done over a lifetime.

In fact, Ballard served 12 years as a U.S. Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security, on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team. He helped infiltrate and dismantle dozens of trafficking organizations that kidnapped children and forced them into the sex slave industry. However, as a U.S. agent, Ballard was frustrated that he could not authorize to rescue children if their cases crossed the border, or if the case could not be tried in a U.S. court.

For this reason, he left his position and founded Operation Underground Railroad instead.

O.U.R. Founder, Tim Ballard

To date, O.U.R. has rescued more than 7,000 victims and assisted in the arrests of more than 6,000 traffickers around the world. In addition, the international law enforcement partners they train and empower have collectively helped rescue the lives of tens of thousands of survivors who were enslaved, exploited, or at risk.

Our research shows that it only takes about $1,500 to liberate one child from the human trafficking ring. For this reason, I encourage people to join the O.U.R Abolitionist Club (like I have) and donate a minimum of $10.00 a month to this important cause.

You can help answer the prayers of tens of thousands of children who seek to live a promising life by committing yourself to this noble cause.

"Together, we must liberate those who do not have a voice. Turning a blind eye to children trapped in sex slavery is never an option. It is up to us to eradicate the evil that walks this Earth so that we may leave behind a society that was greater than the one we inherited."

— Jett James Pruitt

To learn more about Tim Ballard and his work, please visit:

Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.)

1950 W. Corporate Way

Anaheim, CA 92801

PHONE: (818) 850-6146

EIN: 46-3614979

What are your thoughts? Please share this article with your comments.

Born in 2005, Jett James Pruitt is a Native American (Taino Arawak), Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of the book Through The Eyes of a Young American. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of, and is a political strategist specializing in Generation Z voting trends. His next book The Progressive Conservative is due in bookstores in early March.

Arriving in Bookstores on March 12, 2024


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