Child abuse, in particular, the sexual abuse of innocent children, is a worldwide epidemic. Statistical reports show that 3,287 people are sold or kidnapped and forced into slavery every day. That is 136 an hour and that is just the number of reported cases. Most of the victims are innocent children and most of them are put on the “auction block” and repeatedly sold for sex. Trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation is one of the most serious human rights violations in our world today. The global sex slavery market generates $32 billion in profits each year, with the average human being sold into slavery for less than $100.
The Savior taught in Luke 17:1-2, “Then said he unto the disciples, it is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Embracing the Savior’s admonition, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a non-profit founded by Tim Ballard, assists governments around the world in the rescue of human trafficking and sex trafficking victims with a special focus on children. The ultimate goal of Operation Underground Railroad is to eliminate sex trafficking worldwide. Also, O.U.R. aids with planning, prevention, capture and prosecution of offenders, and works with partner organizations for prevention, victim recovery, and strengthened awareness or fundraising efforts. The organization’s covert operations consist of jump teams of former CIA agents, U.S. Special Operations Forces Members, and other support volunteers. As of April 2016, Operation Underground Railroad reports 529 victims rescued, and 182 traffickers arrested.
Tim Ballard, the founder of O.U.R., 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. During his time of service, he helped infiltrate and dismantle dozens of trafficking organizations that kidnapped children and forced them into the sex slave industry. However, he was restricted from rescuing children if their cases lacked a U.S. nexus or if the case could not be tried in a U.S. court of law. Feeling frustrated and helpless in being able to rescue enslaved children in underdeveloped nations, he left the agency in October 2013 and founded Operation Underground Railroad. Operation Underground Railroad does not work independently, or without Government participation and support. To help raise awareness, support and funding, Gerald R. Molen (producer of Schindler’s List), approached Tim Ballard to document preparation and activity relating to a few covert operations. The documentary film was released in early 2016 and titled “The Abolitionists.”
On 24 June 2016, two well-known LDS artists, GENTRI and Madilyn Paige, released a new music video which is a powerful cover of “Say Something,” originally performed by A Great Big World. The video which is a tribute to Operation Underground Railroad has already garnered over 9,000 views and is interspersed with scenes from Ballard’s official documentary about O.U.R., The Abolitionists. About the making of the video and Operation Underground Railroad, GENTRI commented, “In the darkest corners of the earth nearly 2,000,000 children are bought and sold as property. Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) has chosen to “say something” and give a voice to the innocent children who suffer in silence and can’t speak up for themselves. They are the “angels” who face the horrors of this reality head on, and who have successfully “pulled” over 600 children (and counting) from “the wreckage” that is the global child sex slave trade. Together with our good friend Madilyn Paige we stand united in challenging you to join us in support of an organization whose mission is to liberate those who have had their freedom unjustly compromised.”
Tim Ballard who is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states that the reason that he does the work that he does is because of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In a 17 March 2015 interview with the Mormon Channel, he commented, “There’s no question in my mind that this is the Lord’s work and that we are His hands. This is so important because it’s so important to the Lord. Children are so vulnerable and innocent and so easy to prey upon—without outside help, there is no chance for children. The admonition of the Savior was to love the children. He threatened anyone who would dare offend these little ones. I’ve never in my life prayed so hard for the Second Coming. The Atonement heals all. It’s our job in the meantime to serve especially the downtrodden and the suffering, to liberate the captive.”