Browsed by
Category: In the News

Media coverage about Operation Underground Railroad

WHAT DOES O.U.R. DO IN UTAH?

WHAT DOES O.U.R. DO IN UTAH?

Here is what Operation Underground Railroad has been up to on the home front in 2017.

FREE AT LAST EVENT

On January 17, O.U.R. Volunteers gathered at the Crossfit O.U.R. gym to organize hundreds of hygiene kits and care packages for our Aftercare program to deliver to survivors. Children’s toys, soccer balls, granola bars, and toiletry items were donated.

VALENTINE’S DINNER

 Thanks to doTERRA, The Rock Church, Missio Dei, and the nearly 300 incredible volunteers, we were able to hand out 93 bags of hope, blankets, and Valentine’s Day cards to incredible women from The Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City. The event was held at Caputo’s Market & Deli in downtown with The Rock Church. Many of these women, who have been through so much, came up to our team with tears in their eyes saying, “This has truly been a magical night. Thank you for making us feel valuable and beautiful!”

O.U.R. Aftercare also has plans to support Red Light Outreach which ministers to girls in this very area.

 

ST. GEORGE TRAINING

In January 2017, St. George Police Department reached out to O.U.R. for assistance with an investigation targeting numerous massage parlors suspected of using trafficked foreign nationals to provide illegal services to customers. O.U.R. partnered with SGPD providing resources and assistance with translation services for the foreign national victims and witnesses. The successful collaboration showed how SGPD and O.U.R. could set the standard for such public-private partnerships. 

This is a sample of the kind of operation O.U.R. assisted with.

(photos from TheSpectrum.com)

O.U.R. is so grateful for our many supporters inside the state of Utah and throughout the rest of the world who help us further our mission to rescue children from slavery and assist law enforcement in the prosecution of trafficking offenders.


 

What can YOU Do?

our_logo

DONATE TODAY

To stay informed on O.U.R. updates, text “UPDATES” to 51555.

Spread the word of the good that O.U.R. and volunteers are involved in.  SHARE this article.

CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING RESCUE GROUP COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL OPERATION IN HAITI, SAVING 29 GIRLS

CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING RESCUE GROUP COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL OPERATION IN HAITI, SAVING 29 GIRLS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FEBRUARY 21, 2017 

* * MEDIA ADVISORY * *

CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING RESCUE GROUP COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL OPERATION IN HAITI, SAVING 29 GIRLS

Operation Underground Railroad partnered with Haiti’s Minor Protection Brigade in undercover sting, arresting 9 traffickers 

WASHINGTON, D.C.–  Today, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) announced that the group, partnering with Haiti’s Minor Protection Brigade (BPM) and Haitian authorities, has successfully completed Operation Sainte Jou (Holy Day), an undercover rescue mission that resulted in the arrest of 9 traffickers and rescue of 29 girls suspected to be sex trafficking victims. O.U.R. went to Haiti at the invitation of BPM and acted under legal authority of the Haitian government. O.U.R. spent two months, alongside Haitian officials, developing this investigation, meeting with the traffickers,  and setting up the operation to ensure the safety of the victims and jump team. 

“This counts as one of our most successful operations to date. More than two dozen girls are now liberated, and with our continued support, do not have to return to a life where they are victims of the most depraved and evil in society. We hope to continue partnering with Haitian authorities to share and learn new investigation techniques and technology to ensure that pedophiles who prey upon the young have no place visiting Haiti. We are impressed with the Haitian government’s desire to do the right thing. O.U.R. remains committed to doing all it can to empower law enforcement in the U.S. and around the world to fight horrendous crimes of child exploitation and trafficking, ”said Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad Tim Ballard.  

O.U.R. has built a rehabilitation groundwork with the government and local partners to ensure victims can return to their parents where possible or into vetted safe houses where not. The local aftercare experts met with the girls directly after the operation and were able to meet with many of their parents to provide them with anti-human trafficking awareness and sensitivity training. O.U.R.’s work continues around the world. Since it was founded in 2013, Operation Underground Railroad has rescued 641 victims and arrested 273 traffickers. 

About Operation Underground Railroad: O.U.R. is a non-profit organization that rescues children from slavery. O.U.R. rescue teams are comprised of highly skilled ex-Navy SEALs, Special Forces, CIA and other operatives. O.U.R.’s work has gained international media coverage  on CBS Evening NewsABC Nightly News,  Fox News Sunday, PBS Religion and EthicsThe Washington PostThe New York Postand The Blaze among others. 

###

This man helped free 29 women and children from sex trafficking

This man helped free 29 women and children from sex trafficking

[getsocial app=”sharing_bar”]

 

Ex-CIA analyst Tim Ballard is now a sex-trade investigator — and he just cracked a major ring in Haiti that liberated 29 young women and children.  170220-tim-ballard-feature

It was all in a day’s work for Ballard, who teams with a nonprofit called Operation Underground Railroad, made up of former members of the US military who use their know-how to battle child-trafficking and sex slavery in countries where the practices are common.

The Haiti operation, called Sainte Jou — Creole for Blessed Day — led to the arrest of nine suspected sex traffickers on Feb. 5, Super Bowl Sunday, by local authorities, who worked in tandem with the US organization.

“We are not a rogue agency, we are not vigilantes,” said Matt Osborn, a CIA and State Department veteran, who helps Ballard direct the group’s operations.

They target locales notorious for sex trafficking and then set up complex sting operations to nab the pimps and free the young women and girls.

In Haiti, a sting was set up at the Kaliko Beach Club, a high-end resort on the west side of the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

On Feb. 3 and 4 — as Americans were preparing their Super Bowl parties — Osborn said a team of 25 men began flying in to “play the role of middlemen for wealthy American pedophiles.” They organized with the pimps to line up local girls — some as young as 13 — for an orgy.

“The average price we were going to have to pay was $300 for each girl, for what was billed as a sex party of four to six hours,” Osborn said.

By Sunday, a yacht moored off-shore was made to look like a wealthy party boat down from Florida for the weekend.

Most of the undercovers were wearing flip-flops and shorts and playing ball on the beach to give off a party vibe.

Ballard, who worked for the Department of Homeland Security as a special agent, met face-to-face with the pimps and recorded the details of the deal to hand over to Haitian authorities, who swooped in to break up the sex ring.

The US State Department said Haiti only passed legislation criminalizing sex trafficking in 2014.


What Can YOU Do?

our_logo
SHARE this article and help us spread the word.
Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise.  It is a $32 BILLION industry.
It needs to stop and together we can make that happen!

Ashton Kutcher tears up as he urges Senate to fight sex slavery

Ashton Kutcher tears up as he urges Senate to fight sex slavery

Ashton Kutcher gave a moving speech to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about ending sex slavery on Wednesday.

“This is about the time, when I talk about politics, that the Internet trolls tell me to stick to my day job,” the actor said. “I’d like to talk about my day job. My day job is the chairman and the co-founder of Thorn. We built software to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. My other day job is that of the father of two, a 2-month old and 2-year-old.”

Kutcher, 39, shares daughter Wyatt and son Dimitri with wife Mila Kunis.

He then described joining the FBI in raids in India, Russia, Mexico and stateside in New Jersey and New York.

“I’ve seen things that no person should ever see,” he said, tearing up. “I’ve seen video content of a child that is the same age as mine being raped by an American man that was a sex tourist in Cambodia. This child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play.”

               Ashton Kutcher chokes up.

He continued, “I’ve been on the other end of a phone call from my team asking for my help because we had received a call from the Department of Homeland Security, telling us that a 7-year-old girl was being sexually abused and that content was being spread on the Dark Web … They’d watched her for three years and they could not find the perpetrator, [and were] asking us for help. We were the last line of defense. An actor and his foundation were the last line of defense.”

“I had to say no and it devastated me, it haunted me,” Kutcher said, choking up again. “For the next three months I had to go to sleep every night and think about that little girl that was being abused and the fact that if I built the right thing, we could have saved her. Now, if I got that phone call, the answer would be yes.”

He then recalled the story of “Amy,” a 15-year-old girl from Oakland, Calif., who was forced into trafficking within hours of meeting a man in person she’d first talked to online. “This isn’t an isolated incident. There’s not much that’s unusual about it,” Kutcher said. “The only unusual thing is that ‘Amy’ was found and returned to her family within three days using a tool we created … called Spotlight.”

Kutcher said the tool aids police in cutting investigation time by 60 percent, adding, “That’s my day job and I’m sticking to it.”

It wasn’t all heavy: Kutcher and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had a lighthearted moment after his speech. “You were better looking in the movies,” McCain said.

Kutcher, blowing McCain, 80, a kiss, replied, “My wife says that, too.

What Can YOU Do?

our_logo
Join us and Ashton Kutcher in this fight against trafficking.  SHARE this article to help spread the word that slavery still exists.

Good News Florida: Operation Underground Railroad Rescues Children

Good News Florida: Operation Underground Railroad Rescues Children

Thank you Good News Florida and Tami Gomez for helping us shine a light on the dark world of Human Trafficking. Article below:

Human trafficking is a horrible evil present in our world today. Worse than simple trafficking, however, is child sex trafficking; a booming criminal industry that specializes in providing depraved individuals with children to satiate their perverted desires. These children are often sold multiple times per day to such individuals to be used, humiliated and abused, and passed along. These children are human beings made in the image of God, who are being treated so horribly. Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) has dedicated itself to freeing children from these appalling situations and getting them safely back to their families or to new families.

OUR, based out of California, is a non-profit organization that rescues victims of exploitation and human trafficking around the world. According to Osborne they have operated in fifteen countries worldwide including Colombia, Haiti, India, Thailand and others. While their focus is on children, OUR saves people of all ages. Over the course of three years, they have rescued about 600 individuals from some of the darkest possible situations.

OUR works in various ways to bring sex traffickers to justice and free their prey. They always work with local authorities to capture and bring offenders to justice. Matt Osborne, senior vice president for Rescue and Rehabilitation, said that OUR serves as a “force multiplier” as they help fill financial, training, technology and personnel gaps in the countries in which they operate. In some cases, that means helping train officials to be able to handle trafficking situations more effectively for themselves.

Rescue

In other cases, OUR brings in their own personnel to handle a situation. Their fully trained operatives, called the Jump Team, will pose as American child sex tourists to be able to capture the criminals who exploit children. Once money changes hands, local authorities come in SWAT-style, arrest the perpetrators and take them to be tried in a court of law. Due to the dangerous nature of these operations, many Jump Team members will pray before, during and after operations for safety and a successful mission.

When asked if his job is hard and if all the danger is worthwhile, Osborne responded, “It is difficult to have to play the role of the American child sex tourist and have the girls look at you as if you were really a disgusting predator who was going to do wicked things to them.  However, it is all worth it in the end when you have the chance to help pull someone out of the hell in which they are being forced to live.”

Rehabilitation

Once children have been pulled out of this torturous life they were forced to lead, they are rehabilitated with their families or with new families who will take them in and care for them. This is where Jessica Mass, director of Aftercare, comes in. Mass stressed the fact that they vet homes thoroughly before placing a child in one and, once placed, stay connected and help provide therapy, vocational training, funds for college and help meet other needs. Mass said, “We believe in helping restore lives and empowering voices of our little ones to a life of freedom, full of love and vision for their future.”

Working in this field exposes one to some of the greatest evils that happen on planet earth and can bring doubts and pain to rescuers and caregivers. But, according to Mass, it’s all worth it in the end: “I see the journey of healing and lives restored to the purpose God has for them. There is always hope! I believe there’s hope for everyone through the power of the gospel.” She firmly believes that, despite the evils plaguing the world, God has placed OUR in it to make a difference and to help rescue and restore his children.

OUR makes it easy to make a difference in the world. Becoming an Abolitionist is the easiest way for anyone to get involved. By donating at least $5 per month, you can become an Abolitionist and know that your money is going towards freeing children from this sickening exploitation physically and giving them the opportunity to become free spiritually. You can also sign up for updates from OUR to be informed about when they have made a rescue and to better know how to pray for them. OUR will assist anyone who is interested in doing awareness campaigns for human trafficking. Companies can sponsor vocational training programs through OUR, as well. If you purchase anything from their website, www.ourrescue.com, one hundred percent of the proceeds will go right back to furthering their efforts to rescue children. For those unsure of how to help, visit their website, get informed and “spend time asking God what you can do to protect and love His children,” said Mass.

A native-born Miamian, Tami Gomez is a freelance writer for the Good News while she and her husband attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. They hope to become missionaries to the Far East.

Operation Underground Railroad Rescues Children

What YOU Can Do?

our_logo
Inspired by this article?  SHARE it with your friends and family to help spread the word

Want to become an Abolitionist? Sign up here.

Tony Robbins: When a Dream Bucket List Leads to Change

Tony Robbins: When a Dream Bucket List Leads to Change

We are so incredibly grateful for Tony Robbins, his outstanding team and his generous supporters. They have been able to help us save dozens of children from slavery so far.

Watch the video below to find out how Tony came to find out about Operation Underground Railroad & you will be amazed what happens next.

The next time you think, “I’m just 1 person, I can’t possibly make a difference.” Think again!

Operation Underground Railroad Wins Humanitarian Award

Operation Underground Railroad Wins Humanitarian Award

9th Annual Mobile Excellence Award Winners Announced

Innovators in Mobile Entertainment and Technology Recognized at VIP Events in Hollywood

January 27, 2016, Los Angeles, CA—The Mobile Excellence Awards (MEAs), now in its 9th year, honored the 2016 Best of Mobile winners at two exclusive events attended by leaders representing the entire mobile ecosystem: entertainment, technology, media, and marketing.

Industry luminaries and global media outlets gathered at Soho House–the luxurious private club in West Hollywood–to celebrate achievements by companies and individual executives who have furthered the mobile industry and impacted how the world engages with mobile devices. Winners and key influencers were also treated to a networking breakfast the following morning at Cecconi’s, renowned for its chic environment and power player meetings. 

Known as ‘The Oscars of Mobile’, the MEAs has seen even more dramatic growth in the industry this year, particularly in video. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of innovation and creativity we saw in this year’s entries,” noted Sarah Miller, CEO of Axis PR & Entertainment, who is Executive Producer of the event. “As we enter our 10th year, it’s clear that the determination and sheer brilliance in the leadership of these companies are transforming the world we live in. It’s a fantastic time to be in mobile.”

Awards are greatly coveted, with winners drawn from a high caliber submissions pool from studios, brands, content providers, start-ups, products, carriers, and more. Categories address a range of mobile lifestyle experiences, including everything from video, music, games, social engagement, philanthropy, information, and wellness to shopping. The organization takes pride in recognizing both rising stars and established leaders at the top of their game.  

“We’re very excited that the Mobile Excellence Awards is heading into its 10th year with new partners, sponsors, innovators and leaders who have been instrumental in shaping the future of mobile,” said Miller. “We know that it’s the people who make this the special gala that it is, and appreciate the support from the community and event staff. It’s gratifying that we all share the same commitment to this dynamic industry because we believe in the positive impact mobile has had on our daily lives.”

The 9th Annual Mobile Excellence Awards are produced by Axis PR & Entertainment and sponsored in part by globally recognized companies such as Intel, El Rey Network, AstologyZone,  ITV Alliance and others. More information can also be found at   www.mobilexawards.com.

 

9th Annual Mobile Excellence Award Winners

Best Humanitarian

  Operation Underground Railroad

Industry Star

Intel

Mobile Ambassador

  Anjali Shastri

Best Branded Experience Made for Mobile

   Futurama: Game of Drones 

Best Delivery Platform for Mobile

OpenMarket

Best Entertainment Related Marketing Campaign

       Univision for La Conecta App

Best Mobile Payment/Commerce

   DailyUse Mobile Wallet 

Best Kids Content for Mobile

       Ormco Corporation: Bethany Hamilton Damon Smile Emoji Keyboard

Best Live Streaming or Video for Mobile

AWE

Best Mobile Analytics/Big Data

       Drawbridge App Traction Index

Best Mobile App/Service for Connected Daily Lifestyle

      IHG Translator App

Best Mobile Game(s)

    Futurama: for Game of Drones

Best Mobile Innovator

 Xpose, Inc.

Best Mobile Product

     Huawei for HUAWEI MateBook

Best Mobile Sports

    Augusta National Golf Club and IBM’s 2016 Masters Golf Tournament App

Best Mobile Utility /Productivity Application for on a Smartphone or Tablet

ChatWork

Best Multinational Company

Brandtone

Best Original Content for Mobile

Kings of Fi$h

Best Social Community for Mobile

 CI&T for Sprite RFRSH Na Lata

Best Technology Breakthrough

 Tangoe for Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

Best User Experience for Mobile

     SapientNitro for Minneapolis Institute of Art

About Mobile Excellence Awards

The Mobile Excellence Award organization is one of the most coveted and prestigious events in the mobile industry.  Coined as the “Oscars” of Mobile, the MEA organization recognizes and honors leaders  and innovation in mobile entertainment and technology across the globe.  The MEAs produce various high level and high profile events for visionaries and leaders by offering knowledge exchange, peer networking, market intelligence and recognition through various programs throughout the year.  In addition, MEAs’ holds the most prestigious annual awards event in the industry, honoring excellence in all segments of the mobile ecosystem. For more information, please visit www.mobileXawards.com.

FullSizeRender-1       FullSizeRender-2

Jon Lines: The Perfect Fit

Jon Lines: The Perfect Fit

By: Lorayne Mitchell

You know that feeling that comes when your eyes catch a glimpse of that elusive puzzle piece? It is the one with the muted hues and no bright colors to place it easily among the others. As we identify it and ultimately locate its perfect spot, we feel a keen sense of not only accomplishment, but also a satisfaction that comes with completing the perfect fit!

That is exactly the feeling that the directors at O.U.R. (and specifically the founder and CEO Tim Ballard) are experiencing. In the ever-changing landscape of an expanding company, new placements are constantly needed. Let me introduce you to the “perfect fit” as the Executive Vice President of Operations – Jon Lines.

Don’t assume this is just an ordinary placement, for it is anything but that. Allow me to share with you the details of Jon’s career summary, his relationship with Tim, and his plans for the future operations of O.U.R. After graduation with honors from Arizona State University in 1992 and a degree in Justice Studies, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service sidetracked Jon from his plans to attend law school.

Major highlights from Jon’s career include:

  • 1992 – Assigned to the Phoenix, Arizona INS office, working in state and nationwide fraud investigations in the naturalization process of aliens
  • 1997 – Recruited to join the Inspector General’s office, spearheading large scale investigation that eventually led to reforming the nation’s naturalization process.
  • 2002 – Was hired for a supervisory position in Ogden, Utah
  • 2003 – Department of Homeland Security was created. This necessitated the merger of INS and US Customs. Appointed as the interim leader of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Investigations for the state of Utah.
  • 2007 – Selected as the Assistant Special Agent in charge of the 4 HSI offices in Utah. Accepted into the Naval Post Graduates School’s Master Degree Program, where he eventually earned his degree in Homeland Security and Defense.

In 2012, an enthusiastic experienced special agent, Tim Ballard, called Jon with a plea and a strong desire to transfer to Utah and work with Jon there. Tim carried with him a special set of skills from his work with child exploitations. Jon held Tim in high regard after watching him in action. Jon remembers vividly, “Tim was a real credit to our office. He had more vision than most other agents I had previously worked with. We began to discuss new and innovative ways to deal with sex trafficking issues both domestically and internationally.”

In 2013 Tim couldn’t shake nagging feelings that he needed to do more to save the children. Jon proved to be a patient sounding board to him. When most others told Tim he was making the wrong decision to walk away from his government job and pension, Jon was one of the few that discussed Tim’s options with him at length, and eventually encouraged him to follow his dream. While Tim was getting O.U.R. off the ground, he kept a watchful eye on Jon’s great success in the Utah offices of Homeland Security. He called Jon several months ago and asked if he would consider coming to work with him at O.U.R. Tim stated, “Bring everything you offered at the DHS office. Come and join our team at O.U.R. I’ve admired your leadership skills, vision, and above all your uncompromising investigational and operative expertise. I need you to apply your unbending expectations of accountability, credibility, and efficiency within our operations. I need your help to ensure that all incoming donations are well spent to save lives and rehabilitate the children exploited around the world.”

Jon shared with me his view on this new assignment, “Tim was a line agent when we worked together before; I was the agent in charge. Now the tables have turned. It’s not about who’s superior here. I would like to continue to build upon the absolutely incredible team that Tim has built. Tim and I respect each other, share the common mission of saving children, and the vision of what can be done with aftercare.” Jon will be on the ground and involved with the missions as much as he possibly can. He will provide leadership to the teams, facilitating their successes from an administrative perspective. Thailand has opened up as very fertile ground for future missions, and it is one of Jon’s main focuses as he begins his assignment with O.U.R.

Jon also realizes the great blessing his family has been, and will always be to him, by sustaining and supporting him with his career, his vision, and his current decision to stand with Tim and work with the team of O.U.R. His wife Kimberly has been by his side for 31 years. He has boys for bookends – Brye is his oldest son, Dutcher the youngest of the group. Daughters Micah and Haley are sandwiched in between. His children have blessed him with 5 beautiful grandchildren: sweet granddaughters Jonnie, Josie and Haddie, and grandsons Knox and Brigg.

Jon closed our interview by sharing with me one of his favorite quotes. Edmund Burke, an Anglo-Irish statesman, penned the following: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

What a perfect mantra for a man that refuses to stand by and watch children be lost, when he has the skills and expertise to make a difference. We will watch with great interest the great blessing he will be to the team of O.U.R. Is there any doubt now that Jon Lines is the PERFECT fit?

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

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-7-15-30-pm