Operation Underground Railroad
|Type||Non-governmental organization, Non-profit organization|
|Website||Operation Underground Railroad|
Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) is a non-profit founded by Tim Ballard which assists governments around the world in the rescue of human trafficking and sex trafficking victims, with a special focus on children. O.U.R. also aids with planning, prevention, capture, and prosecution of offenders, and works with partner organizations for prevention, victim recovery, strengthened awareness, and fundraising efforts. The organization has been documented for their covert operations with jump teams consisting of former CIA agents, U.S. Special Operations Forces Members, and other support volunteers. Operation Underground Railroad's ultimate goal is to eliminate Sex Trafficking world-wide. As of April 2016, Operation Underground Railroad reports 529 victims rescued, and 182 traffickers arrested.
Tim 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 not authorized to rescue children if their cases lacked a U.S. nexus or if the case could not be tried in a U.S. court.
Ballard was frustrated with the lack of strategies employed to rescue enslaved children in underdeveloped nations (though reporting positive experience working with U.S. government professionals) and left the government in October 2013 to found Operation Underground Railroad.
Operation Underground Railroad works with supporting governments and organizations in one or more of the following activities: prevention, discovery, preparation, rescue, and victim recovery programs. Operations are segments of any coordinated effort, training and/or direct involvement to rescue enslaved children. 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."
- Erica Ritz (2014-10-27). "The Disturbing Reason Operation Underground Railroad Is Able to Take So Many Photos of Child Sex Traffickers". The Blaze. TheBlaze Inc. Archived from the original on 2016-05-16. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- "WHAT'S IN A NUMBER? #Rescue 500". Operation Underground Railroad. 2016-05-11. Archived from the original on 2016-05-16. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "MAXIM: Inside The Fight Against Child Sex Trafficking – OUR Stories". 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "Tim Ballard explains the work Operation Underground Railroad is doing to combat child sex trafficking". Glenn Beck. 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "The New Abolitionists". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- RICHARD BYRNE REILLY (2014-04-26). "Tech startup Operation Underground Railroad is saving kids from human traffickers" (News). VentureBeat. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "Understanding Human Trafficking through the Lens of Civil Society: Awareness, Advocacy and Action". Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- News, A. B. C. (2014-10-22). "Rescuing Children From Colombia's Sex Trafficking Trade". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "The Abolitionists Movie - A Mission to End Child Trafficking". The Abolitionists. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "Rescuing Children from Sex Slavery: One Mormon's Inspired Mission". LDS Living. 2015-02-27. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "The Disturbing Reason Operation Underground Railroad Is Able to Take So Many Photos of Child Sex Traffickers". The Blaze. 2014-10-27. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "The Abolitionists (2016) - IMDb". The Abolitionists. 2016-05-27. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2016-05-27.