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O.U.R. Rescue Operations

OPERATION EASTER

OPERATION EASTER

Operation Underground Railroad and Indian Rescue Mission (IRM) have successfully collaborated on a rescue operation that occurred in a suburb of Mumbai, India over Easter weekend.

An operator from IRM received information the week prior of a male pimp in Mulund city offering a virgin. Undercover investigators contacted the trafficker who showed them a picture of the girl, offering to sell her virginity for 30,000 rupees ($450).

The following weekend, the operator contacted Mr. Sachin Patil, Deputy Commissioner of Police, who agreed to assist with the rescue operation. Investigators asked if the traffickers could bring more girls, to which they agreed, and brought them to a hotel.

When jump team members met with the traffickers to exchange money for the girls, the police team swooped into the hotel. Four traffickers were arrested, including the hotel owner.

They will be tried in the Sewri Court.

The four survivors were taken to a local shelter following medical examinations, where they can begin their rehabilitation and a new beginning.

mumbai traffickers arrested

mumbai traffickers arrested


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AN INSIDE LOOK BEHIND THE LATEST RESCUE IN SOUTH AMERICA

AN INSIDE LOOK BEHIND THE LATEST RESCUE IN SOUTH AMERICA

Tim Ballard, founder of Operation Underground Railroad, along with SVP of Rescue & Recovery Matt Osborne, gave Glenn Beck some “behind-the-scenes” details today about the latest rescue operation in South America, Operation Chiquitos – III.

It was definitely a more unique situation than Matt’s team normally expects.

Thanks to the great relationship O.U.R. has with the federal government, the ops team was given the green light to send operators to find intel in the outskirts of the country. Three men went undercover on a fishing cruise about two months beforehand, where by word of mouth they learned of a high school physical education teacher who was grooming and pimping out his students at his weekend barbecues.

On the day of the operation, Tim asked that a Prayer Request be sent out to our social media platforms, in hopes that Matt and his team may have success.

Thankfully, they pulled through with rescuing 9 victims and arresting 3 traffickers.

Aftercare was immediately on the ground with what would be the equivalent to the country’s Child Protection Services. Depending on local jurisdiction, our Aftercare team usually has just a short time with survivors. In this case, they were able to stay days after to assist local officials and give the parents anti-trafficking training.

Here’s an exclusive inside look at the conversation leading up to the successful rescue:

My cell phone rang. It was Tim.

“We need to pray for Osborne and his team– Right now.”

“He ok?”

“He and his team are going undercover shortly; there are a few moving parts that are complicating things. Everything should be fine, but he’s asked for us to pray, that’s all.”

“Will do.”

“Hey, why don’t you make a meme and post it on our social channels? Let’s send this out to our Abolitionists and for anyone who wants to join in with us.”

“On it.”

People pray for us all the time, but we have never publicly requested prayers.  Operation Underground Railroad is a non-denominational organization, but it is no secret that several members of our team are spiritual in their own ways.

If you saw the documentary made about O.U.R. called “The Abolitionists”, you would have seen Tim praying before operations and Batman talking about his personal relationship with God. Regardless of your own beliefs or how you do it, we always welcome prayers, positive thoughts or energy.  

In the near future we hope to create an opt-in list through our website for anyone who would like to pray for our team. When Operators and Aftercare specialists are facing unique challenges, we will pass on their requests with a short explanation of what specifically to prayer for.

On the morning of April 19th, we asked our Abolitionists on Facebook and Instagram to pray for the children who were hours from potentially being rescued by Osborne and his team.

5,000 miles away, Osborne reported back 2 hours after our prayer request went out that the Op was a success.

  • 9 children rescued.
  • 3 traffickers were arrested by law enforcement.
  • One of the traffickers was a high school P.E. teacher who has been grooming and selling his students during weekend backyard BBQs.

As the operation was coming to an end, Osborne called me back.

“I am just finishing the last bits of detail for my Operational Report.”  – A report that would be filed and used during the upcoming hearing against the traffickers.

“I heard the rescue went down successfully! And everyone is heading home safely?”

Relief reverberated through the phone with Osborne’s reply, “Yes, we were definitely blessed.”  

“That’s why I called you. We sent a prayer request on Facebook and Instagram to pray for your Op. We had a huge response. There were over 2,000 people praying while you guys were rescuing. I want to report back, on one or two miracles you witnessed. Got anything?”

“Yes, a few things. But one in particular: The prosecutor of the small town where we were operating who was directing this child trafficking case was initially hesitant to allow our Aftercare team to access the rescue site and have any contact with the girls. Through a series of small decisions and events, we found out that the Aftercare specialist we brought down with us to assist Jessica knew the prosecutor!”

“Go on…”

“Several years ago the two of them had participated in an exchange program under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State intended to foster cooperation on anti-trafficking efforts in Latin America. Small world, eh?”

“There are no coincidences,” I said, thinking back on all the tender mercies and miracles I’ve heard and seen from the field.

Osborne continued, “Once the prosecutor saw that her old friend and colleague was now with O.U.R., she opened the doors wide and allowed Jessica full access to the survivors in the immediate hours after the rescue.”

Every country is different in what they permit and prohibit. Our standard is simple: there is no rescue without aftercare. Planning within the perimeters that we are given from foreign governments can be challenging. At times it can be heart wrenching. Ideally, we seek to attend to the survivors moments after law enforcement have completed their heroic trafficker take-downs. Immediate post-rescue access allows us to do so much more to aid and protect the survivors, easing their transitions back to their families or into pre-approved aftercare shelters.  


“A true miracle…no way this was just a coincidence. Prayers work.” – Osborne

We thank you for your prayers and support.

(Images and video courtesy of theblaze.com)


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OPERATION AMBER FORT

OPERATION AMBER FORT

Operation Underground Railroad and Indian Rescue Mission (IRM) have successfully collaborated on a rescue operation in Kolhapur, India.

An operator received intel of a male pimp in Kolhapur offering a 13-yr-old virgin. Once this intel was received we immediately made contact inquiring about the sale. The trafficker quoted the price of the girl at 100,000 rupees ($1,600) for her virginity.

A few days passed and no one heard from the trafficker. After almost 18 days, investigators finally received a call from the trafficker asking them for a deposit as an advance. The deposit was made and a date was set to meet.

On the day of the exchange, the trafficker brought the young girl to the meet-up spot (a brothel) by car. The operator and members of IRM greeted them to exchange the remaining money. Just as the exchange took place, the raiding team swooped into the brothel, rescuing two victims.

Four traffickers were immediately arrested, and will be tried in the Kolhapur Court.

The healing begins now for these 2 victims.


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7 GIRLS RESCUED IN INDIA

7 GIRLS RESCUED IN INDIA

Together with Indian Rescue Mission (IRM), a successful operation just took place that liberated seven victims. We received intel from one of our informants that a male trafficker was selling girls for $75/piece (or 5,000 Rupees). A sting was soon set up with the local police where investigators posed as buyers. After the exchange happened, police were signaled and the raid was successfully conducted. The seven girls were directly sent to the hospital for medical examinations with social workers. They will soon be transferred to a government shelter.


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Did you know that 40% of our operation costs are covered by our recurring Abolitionist donors? For just $5/mo you can help us rescue more children.

Undercover in Bangkok: ‘Walking Away Was the Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done’

Undercover in Bangkok: ‘Walking Away Was the Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done’

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Jason Buttrill, Head Writer/Researcher with ‘The Glenn Beck Program’, about the human trafficking horrors he witnessed in Bangkok.

I recently traveled to Thailand with Glenn Beck to see firsthand the work Operation Underground Railroad is doing to combat human trafficking. More specifically, to see the children who are being bought and sold on a black market that can only be described as pure, unadulterated evil.

I’ve been to most of the corners of the world during my life. I’ve seen pretty much the worst the world has to offer — from my time as a military intelligence agent in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to my time as a researcher covering the atrocities ISIS has left behind in Iraq. None of it compares to what I saw one Sunday night in Thailand.

The following is an account of what happened, as best I can remember it. But I have to warn you — this isn’t for the faint of heart. You’re going to be disgusted and angry. God knows I was — and still am. But there is good news: Heroes are out there on the front lines.

Sunday 8:00 PM • A Remote Village in Thailand

I link up with one of agents from Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) — let’s just call him Bob — and make the long drive out to a remote village. Bob is an impressive dude. At around six feet and 220 pounds of muscle, I pity the fool who tangles with him.

But Bob is more than just a tough guy. Bob is a highly competent professional and a true believer in the cause. He cares for children with conviction, and that’s a trait common with every operator in OUR. They’re willing to trade their lives, if needed, to save a child from slavery and bondage. That is exactly Bob’s demeanor as we pull into the “rally point.”

The Rally Point and Plan

The rally point is a safe location just outside the village where we gather information and gear, as well as get briefed on what we were about to do. The target is a small strip of road within the village rumored to be trafficked with children in multiple brothels. I listen as Bob bluntly lays out the scenario. This is not a safe environment. There are some very bad dudes taking advantage of some very innocent kids. Westerners don’t frequent this part of Thailand, so we’ll stick out. Our height alone will make us suspect.

Our cover is as two lost tourists looking for a good time. If we manage to talk our way into one of the brothels and confirm that underage kids are inside, we can take evidence to the Thai police. The problem is locals turn away anyone not from the village — Thai and foreign alike. If you don’t live there, it’s a no go. Bob explains how we’ll first do a drive by of the entire street. If he estimates the danger as manageable, we’ll park and approach the brothels.

Go Time

It’s roughly 8:30 p.m. and the single lane streets in the village are pitch black. Tiny lights from within shanty houses provide the only illumination. Bob turns down the target street and lowers both our sun visors so they provide some cover for our faces. Pretty soon, the brothels come into view, as well as the prostitutes hanging out on porches and in doorways. There are at least eight or so visible brothels, but probably more hidden away. Halfway down the street is an outdoor market and bar where a group of men drink heavily, blitzed out of their minds. We mentally make note of their numbers, estimating about 10 to 15 men, a potential problem, but one we ultimately decide is manageable. Bob gives the okay and parks down the street.

We begin our walk down towards the string of brothels and immediately get into character, beginning to joke around and act like typical, naive tourists out for a good time. We’re smiling and laughing, but simultaneously calculating everything we see.

Two Curious White Guys

At the first brothel, we approach four prostitutes hanging out on the front porch — all barely look 18. It’s difficult to gauge how old they are, but the goal is to charm our way inside and get eyes on what’s inside. Intel collected by OUR describes children of extremely low age on display in the back. These kids are typically kidnapped and sold into slavery. As Bob begins talking to the girls, I’m now less worried about our safety and more concerned about our success. It hits me like a Mack truck that kids’ lives are at stake here, and we can’t screw this up.

The girls are very friendly. We try to converse with them, but the language barrier is holding us back. It becomes pretty clear they’re speaking with us — two white guys — out of curiosity rather than seeing us as potential clients. An older woman inside whispers something to girl number four and she relays that to girls one through three. All conversation stops. They bury their eyes into their phones and refuse to look up. Failure number one.

Heading down the road, Bob surveys the surroundings. Pretty soon we hear a commotion coming from the drinking men. White people don’t come out here, so this must be an odd change in their nightly routine. Some look hostile, but the majority seems more amused than anything else. We keep tabs on them as best we can, and they for sure keep an eye on us.

FaceTiming Madam

Approaching the next brothel, we hope for better results. Bob’s like a machine, perfectly in character while I try to keep up. Like the last brothel, there are about four girls sitting on the porch. I can see through the front door a bit, and there’s a blue light illuminating the interior with hardly any furniture inside. Again, there’s an older woman inside sitting at a small table. She looks to be conducting business on a cell phone and doesn’t seem to notice us at first. These girls are also very friendly and giggling nonstop, making fun of us more than anything else and having fun at our expense. The older woman inside hears the commotion and walks out.

She’s FaceTiming with someone on her phone and holds the camera up to show the person on the other line our faces. While Bob is trying to communicate and gather information, I glance over at the group of men getting trashed and notice they’re watching us intently. This isn’t looking good.

Eventually the girls decide they’ve had enough “fun” and the older woman gives a similar whisper to one of the girls, everything stops. One of the girls gives me a cold stare and then buries her face in her phone. Failure number two.

Bob and I agree the safety situation is getting worse, and we’ve clearly outstayed our welcome. The playful banter has ceased. The drunken men on the street are eyeing us and yelling, and someone has seen us on the older woman’s phone. Time to leave.

I feel extremely deflated, knowing kids are inside living a nightmare, powerless to stop it. Bob on the other hand is business as usual. This is how surveillance and investigations are done, day in and day out. It’s not always sexy. You’re not always kicking in doors and rescuing innocents every day. It takes time and OUR is on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I have no doubt their operatives will bring down that street of horror.

9:30 PM • Somewhere Two Hours From Bangkok

Bob drives while I struggle to stay awake. It’s been a brutal two days work, with just a handful of sleep. I get a text from Tim Ballard, head of OUR, who informs me that two of his deep undercover operatives are working on several big leads. He invites me to tag along. Soon after, I get another text with an address. Two hours later, I say goodbye to Bob and book it on foot through the streets of Bangkok. I head into the seedy underground of Bangkok and the freaks are out to play. Most of the people in this area are prostitutes and Western men looking to pick them up. It’s disgusting.

James Bond

Now 11:45 p.m. or so, I think I’ve arrived at the location to link up with OUR’s undercover operatives. Let’s call them Agent James and Agent Bond — and let me tell you, their namesake would be very proud. These guys are legit. I’ve worked with human intelligence teams in the Middle East, and these two guys could easily lead any of them.

James greets me and gives a quick briefing on the night. Fifty meters up the street is a group of African prostitutes who promise to deliver a 15-year-old within a minute. I get into my assigned character, playing a role that perfectly fits the story they’re running. Thinking I would only be observing from a distance and getting camera footage, this was a bit of a surprise to me, but I was excited for the opportunity to help. I was also looking to have some success after the earlier “failures” with Bob.

I follow James to the group of prostitutes, immediately surprised that many of them speak English, making negotiating much easier than before. James transforms right in front of my eyes, becoming a jerky American looking for underage girls. As promised, the leader of the group motions a little girl over to us. She is also of African descent. The innocence in her face shows she’s not like the others. She wears skimpy clothing and a ton of makeup — just like the others — but keeps her head lowered the entire time, cowering. She stares at her high heels, clearly inexperienced, and hobbles off balance as she walks. Not once did she look the other prostitutes, or us, in the eye.

James keeps the story running, gathering all the information he can and leaving with everything needed to continue the investigation and move on to the next phase. I’m blown away by his skill.

We turn and walk back about 50 meters to our original meeting point. I think we’re done, but he immediately begins briefing me on the next operation. His partner Bond is working another group around the corner, down a seedy back alley. They had worked a source earlier in the day and arranged for the trafficker to bring proof that he had underage kids for sale. He agreed, claiming to have a 12-year-old and a couple of 14-year-olds.

Under the Influence

The plan is the same. I am to play my role, but this time James tells me to sit next to the 12-year-old girl and talk to her while he gets intel from the trafficker. My first thought is, Oh, hell no. There is no way I can pretend to be one of these monsters preying on little kids. It must be the feeling any undercover investigator or operator goes through initially. I had never experienced it before. All of my experience has been in the military, catching enemy combatants and terrorists. This is completely different.

As we walk closer I begin to see the little girl and immediately get a sick feeling in my stomach. She is clearly on some drug, resting her head on a table. James taps her shoulder to wake up, sliding a chair next to her and motioning me to sit down. I want to throw up. She speaks a few words of English, similar to how I speak Spanish: yes, no, hello, thank you. I try to stay in character while, at the same time, say things that might make her feel better. From my right ear, I can hear James negotiating with the trafficker, who explains he has many more kids as young or younger than the 12-year-old sitting next to me. Apparently he could have brought more — but they have school. I almost lose it right then and there. Win the Battle and Lose the War? Plans of action shoot through my mind. This guy was tiny, as were his bodyguards. I could snap their necks in a heartbeat, and we could rescue this girl and she’d be safe. My adrenaline is pumping . . . fists are clenched . . . leg muscles are ready to shoot out of the chair.

My attention is diverted as Bond starts hooting and hollering across the table with two more girls this trafficker has brought in. My nerve is breaking, but his is strong. Did he notice me folding? I never ask him, but I’m glad he got vocal at that moment. It makes me realize there are two more kids here. Not only that, but MANY more back at a secret location James is learning about. I feel helpless, so I continue small talk with this poor girl.

James finishes and motions for Bond to get up. We begin to walk away and the trafficker grabs me by the arm: I got you covered. Many, many more kids. I take one last look at that girl, turn around and walk away.

Walking away was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m not speaking in hyperbole. Walking away changed something inside me that I don’t think I’ll ever get back. It’s gone for good.

Baby Steps

James and Bond explain how this was a crucial meeting, an opening salvo in a long process of gathering information and intelligence to build a case. They held their nerve, as I almost didn’t, and the lives of countless children are at stake. James received a treasure trove of information, one more crucial battle in this long fought war.

The night goes on as I follow James and Bond through the darkest, seediest alleys in Bangkok. I watch and listen as they approach potential traffickers. They are clinical. The way they get information from people seems almost effortless, they’re that good. They get at least one more lead from a madam that brought a 14-year old-girl to show to us. She is dressed like a veteran prostitute while simultaneously clutching a teddy bear.

Our night ends around 2:30 a.m. James and Bond hop in a cab, but I decide to walk back to my hotel. I need time to process.

I thought I had seen and known evil throughout my many travels. Turns out, I knew nothing. This was evil in its purest form. This was the worst humanity has to offer. As I write, I’m still struggling to get the image of that little girl out of my head. She remains in a remote, secret location among many more child slaves. But I know something her captors don’t: OUR and their Thai partners are on their trail. The goal? The liberation of every single child involved in this depravity and the evil men responsible to be thrown in jail. I’m counting the seconds.

 

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Did you know that 40% of our operation costs are covered by our recurring Abolitionist donors? For just $5/mo you can help us rescue more children.

 

Glenn Beck talks about his trip to Thailand with O.U.R.

Glenn Beck talks about his trip to Thailand with O.U.R.

 

This morning, Glenn Beck recaps his experience seeing the realities of child sex trafficking in Thailand where he traveled this past weekend with O.U.R.

“As I left [for Thailand], I saw a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter saying… ‘Why is Glenn going to Thailand and why are you raising money for this when there are so many problems at home?’  Let me explain why.”

Glenn saw American men who abuse children there in Thailand, “and here is why it matters [here]. They come back here, and they are worse than they were.” He compares them to an alcoholic’s mentality; as one “drinking vacation” abroad would not satisfy their addiction, then why would they stop when they return to the states?

Beck goes on to describe the condition of one of O.U.R.’s partnering aftercare facilities, and he donated enough money to keep the orphanage open and hire two full-time doctors for the 56 children the orphanage cares for.

We are grateful for Glenn Beck’s grand gesture and all he does to spread awareness to save these children.

Listen to the show segment here:

 

 

 

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Share this article. Become an Abolitionist.

Did you know that 40% of our operation costs are covered by our recurring Abolitionist donors? For just $5/mo you can help us rescue more children.

4 Rescued & 4 Arrested- Operation White Crow

4 Rescued & 4 Arrested- Operation White Crow

O.U.R. successfully completed an operation in conjunction with India Rescue Mission (IRM), which resulted in 4 survivors rescued and 4 traffickers arrested.

It started at a brothel in India that was being run by 2 female traffickers. The team traveled to the brothel where they connected with one of the owners and began conversation. Shortly after, they were offered each girl for $1,000 USD for the purpose of sex. A plan was immediately put into place with law enforcement where they would intersect the traffickers while they were traveling to a hotel to deliver the girls in exchange for money.

On the way to the hotel, the car was pulled over and the 4 traffickers were immediately taken into custody while the 4 survivors were taken by social workers to the hospital for examinations. They have since been placed in a government shelter for survivors of human trafficking where they are receiving proper care.

Unfortunately, these sort of “transactions” take place every day and in almost every part of the world. We are so grateful for our partnership with India Rescue Mission and for the diligent law enforcement officers who fight this fight every day.

What can YOU Do?

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DONATE TODAY

Become an Abolitionist.

Did you know that 40% of our operation costs are covered by our recurring Abolitionist donors? For just $5/mo you can help us rescue more children.

Operation Opened Door

Operation Opened Door

5 Rescued 7 Arrested

Operation Underground Railroad and Indian Rescue Mission (IRM) have successfully collaborated on a rescue operation in Manpada, Thane District, Mahrashtra State of India (suburb of Mumbai). Operators received intel about a hotel where girls were being trafficked and forced into prostitution. The team posted as buyers and verified the intelligence collected. Future information was gathered that these girls were in restricted movement and not allowed to leave the location in which they were being held. This information was passed to the senior police office of Manpada Police station and teams were immediately called to conduct the raid. During the raid it was discovered that the girls were being held in a basement or underground like dungeon without light, toilet facilities or access to the outside world. The price for each girl was Rs.2000 (or $23 US dollars) for 1 hour of sex. Once the girls were rescued they were immediately taken to the hospital for examination. Post examination the girls will be taken to a government shelter determined by the local court. The 7 traffickers have been taken into custody and charged with the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act 3,4, and 5. O.U.R. is so grateful to IRM and all those involved in this successful operation. The real healing begins now and with that comes a new hope for these 5 survivors

Operation Friend Finder- Malaysia

Operation Friend Finder- Malaysia

Last week, Operation Underground Railroad conducted its first sucessful rescue in Malaysia. Through collaborated efforts with Protect and Save the Children, the Royal Thai Police and Operation Underground Railroad, a 16-year-old Thai girl held in a Malaysian detention center is now reunited with her family in northern Thailand.

This young survivor was tricked into finding work in Malaysia where she ended up being forced to work in a brothel. The brothel was raided and she was then put into a detention center where she was subjected to harsh living conditions affecting her health. With committed determination we were able to arrange for the release of the girl just a few days ago. O.U.R.’s Thailand Coordinator and acting social worker flew to Malaysia to personally escort the girl to her family in Thailand where she will be provided aftercare services.

The healing process begins now. Though it may just be 1 victim, this girl’s life has been changed forever by the hard work of the men and women at O.U.R. and the various partners involved. We are so incredibly grateful she is reunited with her family- just in time for the Holiday season. #OperationFriendFinder

Operation Homeschooled- 10 Arrested in Mesa, Arizona

Operation Homeschooled- 10 Arrested in Mesa, Arizona

Child Prostitution Arrests

Mesa Police Department
Media Relations Office
For Release: December 12, 2016

Mesa Police Detectives completed another operation targeting sexual predators trying to engage in sex acts with underage juveniles. Operation Home Schooled utilized undercover detectives posing as 13 and 14-year-old juveniles, and traffickers, chatting on commonly used internet sites where suspects seek out illegal sex acts. The suspects solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts with the minor and were arrested when they responded to the location where they were supposed to meet the minor for sex.

Each year the Mesa Police Department conducts operations of this type in a continuous effort to remove these predators from our community. Suspects willing to solicit sex acts with children are some of the most dangerous criminals in our society. The suspects in the latest operation ranged in age from 66 to 23 years old.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-7-13-49-pm

This operation was a collaborative effort between the Mesa Police Department and Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). We also want to recognize the Hickey Family Foundation, AZ Men, and our local business partners; Empire Southwest and the Treehouse Group, for their invaluable support of this initiative. For more information about human exploitation and trafficking, please visit http://mesaaz.gov/residents/police/departments-divisions/mesa-family-advocacycenter/heat

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