By Joan Janzen
A parent asked, “What did you learn at school today?” The child answered, “Apparently not enough. We have to go back tomorrow.”
If you want to learn about an interesting true story, you’ll want to watch the upcoming film “Sound of Freedom”. It tells the true story of Tim Ballard (played by actor, Jim Caviezel), a former US government agent who quits his job in order to devote his life to rescuing children from global sex traffickers. He’s now the head of Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit organization.
“People told me I was crazy to leave my government job and privatize rescuing children. But unless we create a movement around it, it’s not going to go away. That’s what a non-profit organization can do – you can invite people to partner with you. Before we could rescue 5-10 kids in one hit, now we can rescue 40-50 at a time.” Tim Ballard said. Now they partner with the government and he says “it’s explosive”.
Tim says 90% of the countries they work in have never worked on an anti-trafficking case before, but Tim’s team gives them the tools they need. Many children are trafficked after a natural disaster, when traffickers post an orphanage sign on a building, putting up a false front of rescuing children from disaster. Tim also said their organization has seen incidents online double as children are online more while schools were closed.
Since North Americans are the highest consumers of child pornography, Tim and other American agents can go undercover in countries and remain undetected.
“We have people who come in and help the authorities in each country see how they can apply their laws. Finding the bad guys is the easy part; the hard part is the legal side.” Tim explained.
Once the children are rescued, they need to heal. “It’s the most important part of our planning,” Tim said. Tim and his team plan the after care program first. “And it’s not just a short term program. We take them to a place where they can heal for years to come, because they don’t have family to help them.”
Some of the children are adopted. Though Tim and his wife have seven of their own biological children, they adopted a young brother and sister duo who were rescued. That was one of the common threads that influenced Jim Caviezel to play the part of Tim Ballard.
Jim said, “My wife and I adopted a boy with a brain tumour. We didn’t know what the outcome would be, but we went through the 15 hour surgery. We also adopted a little girl who had a brain tumour, and a little boy with cancer, and went through chemo with him. People in my industry ask me about unwanted children. I say I have three of them and I want them. Then I read the script for this film about all the unwanted children, and it broke my heart.”
Human trafficking is the second largest industry in the world, and children can be sold for $10,000, double or triple the price of an adult.
“We have to get these stories out, to tell a story that awakens the world,” Tim said. Actors were purposely chosen from Mexico, Columbia, Spain and America because they want the film to be distributed world-wide. While everyone is consumed with protecting their health because of the virus, few are aware of the massive assault on children that’s taking place across the globe.
Tim’s organization has corporate sponsors, but half of their operations are funded by people who give $20 or less a month. You can contact onerescue.org and find out how you can help.
“This isn’t a movie; it’s a movement,” Tim said. “It has to be the beginning of the end of modern day slavery.”
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