It’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing statistics on this crisis, non-profit organizations to follow & support, as well as practical ways you can be a part of the solution.
For those of you who don’t know who Tim Ballard is, get ready for a story that is guaranteed to inspire !
Ty Williams introduced him as “one of the most important people on the planet “.
My prediction (and hope) is that he will be remembered as one of the great heroes of the 21st century.
And here’s why:
Timothy Ballard, a family man with 9 children, once had a very secure job working for the government with a incredible career ahead of him. He “spent over a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security where he was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and deployed as an undercover operative for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team.” (1)
What happened next is best explained in the man’s own words (see podcast below).
But in summary, Ballard discovered that he could use his skills learned as an undercover agent to infiltrate the darkest child sex trafficking rings in the world if he left his career and went as a civilian instead.
“Because of jurisdictional restraints it was not legal for the US government to engage in many cases overseas.” (2) Too many times, he had to watch the traffickers walk away with the children.
Ballard chose obedience and sacrifice over security and comfort. And Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) was born.
“In the past five years of existence, O.U.R. has rescued 3,100 victims and assisted in the arrests of more than 1,700 traffickers around the world.” (3)
In this podcast, Tim holds nothing back as he tells the story of his journey to starting a non-profit organization to go undercover and rescue enslaved children all over the globe.
You will also learn A LOT about human trafficking.
I have been following this organization since early 2017, and I still learned new things when I listened to this podcast over the weekend. (twice!)
Tim shares from his experience painting a clear picture of the crisis, the rewards of this work, as well as the frustrations he consistently faces. From start to finish, he makes a compelling appeal for people to educate themselves and seek out ways to join the fight.
Please take the time to listen to this podcast! I know that the subject matter will be hard at parts, but this is one of the practical steps that we all can take to help end human trafficking.
As Ballard puts it, “If we don’t shed a little innocence, these kids are stuck in hell. But by engaging, even just to hearing their stories and sharing them, that’s the solution that’s going to end this for them.”
Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) is a non-profit organization
They infiltrate the sex rings in order to locate the children who are being held captive as sex slaves. They work in partnership with the local law enforcement agencies offering their services as independent consultants.
Through the employment of sting operations, they are then able to rescue the children who are immediately taken to a safe place where they can receive care and rehabilitate.
Because they use hidden cameras, they are able to get the terms of the “transaction” with the traffickers on record. This helps achieve a high conviction rate.
Additional Links/Podcast Mentions:
Another Organization Fighting Human Trafficking – Nazarene Fund
Documentary – Operation Toussaint
Podcast – Slave Stealer