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?

Aftercare: The Light of One Survivor

Aftercare: The Light of One Survivor

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

She is smart, beautiful and full of light! Yes, she is a survivor and she is also thriving! When O.U.R. rescued her a little over two years ago she was not sure what she wanted to do with her future. It has been a privilege to walk alongside her and see her hopes and dreams develop. She is very excited about pursuing her education and in a couple years going on to college.

She’s also a leader at the aftercare home. Her soft but strong voice gives hope to all those around her. She speaks life into younger survivors. She believes that her voice as a teenager is powerful- and it is. Her smile is so bright. I often see joy radiating from so many survivors from around the world. One of my favorite questions to ask when I see this light is, “What brings you the most joy?” She responded with, “What brings me the most joy is seeing others happy. I love serving those around me, and I am so grateful for the life God has given me.” These are very powerful words from a teenager as she radiates the belief of hope, a bright future and loving all those around her. She told me that she loves those around her because so many people have loved her over the last two years.

I watched her graciously hand out candy and toys to all those around her. Finally after everyone else had received a gift I asked her if she had gotten anything yet. It was as if it hadn’t even crossed her mind to get something for herself. Did we still have gifts for her? Yes, absolutely. However, what she was most excited about is the different vocational training programs we are helping to provide which will have an impact on all of the children. Some of these trainings are things such as musical lessons, teaching english, and training them how to make marketable items when they transition to independent living.

Aftercare is a journey and Operation Underground Railroad is so honored to provide long-term aftercare love and support to survivors. We believe in the power of healing and the journey. We are all in this life together. May we all live this week in the same light as our beautiful survivor has modeled for us. It is anti-human trafficking awareness month. Survivors, we stand with you, we believe in you, you are the light of one.

Sincerely,

Jessica Mass
O.U.R. Aftercare Director

 

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

TICAC Forensic Laboratory

TICAC Forensic Laboratory

Last month Tim Ballard attended the grand opening of the state of the art Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) Forensic Laboratory. O.U.R. along with the Royal Thai Police teamed up with the F.B.I. and H.S.I. to create this one of a kind lab that will training new police cadets as well as process all digital evidence in child exploitation and human trafficking cases. O.U.R. completely funded the laboratory as well as jump team members to provide training. Because of our efforts this will result in the rescue of thousands and the arrest of their perpetrators

JANUARY IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS MONTH

JANUARY IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS MONTH

4 Ways You Can Help #EndHumanTrafficking 

In 2010, President Barack Obama declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Since its founding in 2014 Operation Underground Railroad has celebrated this month as a way to bring justice and awareness to our cause, to end human trafficking worldwide. This January we’d like you to help us!

We’ve provided a few resources, and A CALENDAR, that you can post on your refrigerator, which you can use to help us drive awareness for human trafficking. We encourage you to share your activities using the hashtag #EndHumanTrafficking to help us raise awareness for this cause. Here’s how you can help!

Week 1 (January 1-7): Become an Abolitionist!

The first week of January we’d like you to become an Abolitionist! Becoming an abolitionist is simple. Simply download THIS SIGN, print it out, and write out why you’re an abolitionist! Then share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the social network of your choosing using the hashtag #EndHumanTrafficking. We’ll share our favorites on our social media channels!

If you want to really devote yourself to the cause, please make a donation on the OURrescue.org website or wear one of the T-shirts or other merchandise from the O.U.R. Store (which also supports the efforts of Operation Underground Railroad!). We’ve made some special T-shirts just for this month which will be available next week!

Week 2 (January 8-14): Create a Facebook Fundraiser

We’ve launched a new way on our Facebook Page for you to create your own fundraisers right inside Facebook, and it’s really easy to do! We’d like to encourage you to come up with your own creative way to raise funds with your friends.

To create your fundraiser, on the left of Facebook, click “Fundraisers” (you might have to click “See More” under “Explore”). Click “Create Fundraiser”, and in the box to select a non-profit select “Operation Underground Railroad”. Set a goal for how much you want to raise for the week and see what type of creative fundraiser you can share with your friends on Facebook! Use #EndHumanTrafficking to share your progress!

Week 3 (January 15-21): Support the O.U.R. Store

We’d like your help in raising funds and awareness by buying clothing and merchandise you can wear around the house, office, with your friends, and elsewhere to bring awareness to this cause. During the week we’ll have plenty of giveaways. Watch the O.U.R. social media channels for discount codes and more. Check out the O.U.R. Store and purchase your #EndHumanTrafficking merchandise. Then share the merchandise you’ve bought with the hashtag!

Also, on January 21, watch for a very special event we’re planning called “Free at Last”! We’ll post more about this on our social media channels.

Week 4 (January 22-31): Unite in the Fight – Volunteer Week!

This week is about YOU! To help during this week, find ways in YOUR community you can volunteer! Visit our website and sign up to become volunteer and watch the O.U.R. social media channels to find new ways to help. We encourage you to create Facebook Events if you can, and share pictures from your events on social media using the hashtag #EndHumanTrafficking.

As always, we can’t bring awareness to this cause without YOUR help! The month of January is about YOU, and there was never a better time for you to help us, our partners, and others around the world eradicate slavery. These are all our suggestions. Come up with your own ways and share them on social media with the #EndHumanTrafficking hashtag and then follow along and participate with us in the conversation as we all work together in this cause!

To download the calendar (we recommend posting this on your fridge or elsewhere so you don’t forget!), CLICK HERE

To download the “I’m an Abolitionist Because” poster, CLICK HERE

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.

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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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How one survivor used her story to help others and how you can be a part of the movement

How one survivor used her story to help others and how you can be a part of the movement

The below excerpt is from a passionate O.U.R. supporter who uses her story to inspire others. Read below and consider Hero Bands as a holiday gift for your family, friends or loved ones this season. Remember for every band sold, $2 will be donated directly to O.U.R. to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of these children. www.herobands.com

“When I was younger, I seemed to have a perfect childhood. However, behind the scenes was a completely different story. I was a victim of sex trafficking beginning at the age of 4 continuing until my early 20’s.  To read my entire story, go to my website www.herobands.com. I hope in sharing that I can bring a message of hope, that no matter what we go through in life, we can heal and life can be wonderful.

Hero Bands was started with the hope of bringing hope. I wore these bracelets for years as a reminder.  A reminder to be strong, to find peace and to remember that I was loved.  I partnered with Operation Underground Railroad, O.U.R., to make a bigger difference in the world.  I now make these bands for the children they rescue, hand stamped with customers’ initials so that the survivors know that there is someone they don’t even know who is invested in their recovery.  I call these bands Safe Bands and I sell them at cost so that every child can have a band of their own.  I also sell bands for purchase for others that need encouragement.  From these bands, I donate $2 per band, directly to O.U.R. so they can continue to do what they do.

Help me bring hope to others. Be someone’s hero.  Be your own hero.”

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Board of Governors: Alberto Puertas

Board of Governors: Alberto Puertas

O.U.R. recently added Mr. Alberto Puertas to their Board of Governors.

Alberto Puertas is a career/academic counselor for the University Advisement Center at Brigham Young University. His responsibilities include: serving as the International Advisement Specialist at BYU; teaching courses in career strategies, career exploration, and effective learning; mentoring students at risk, and assisting the University in promoting career development issues and objectives.

Alberto has a Master of Science in Counseling and Guidance from BYU. He has mentored many college students doing humanitarian work and internships abroad. He has presented workshops and seminars in the United States, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. In his presentations and daily work, Alberto Puertas emphasizes the relationship between meaning, spirituality and career development. He also stresses the benefits and challenges globalization presents to vocational guidance in the international arena to this new millennium.

Read More Read More

O.U.R. PARTNERS WITH AGAPE INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS TO SAVE CHILDREN FROM TRAFFICKING IN CAMBODIA

O.U.R. PARTNERS WITH AGAPE INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS TO SAVE CHILDREN FROM TRAFFICKING IN CAMBODIA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NOV 21, 2016 

* * MEDIA ADVISORY * *
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O.U.R. PARTNERS WITH AGAPE INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS TO SAVE CHILDREN FROM TRAFFICKING IN CAMBODIA

 Operation Underground Railroad is partnering with International NGO Agape International Missions to rescue more children from sex trafficking in Cambodia

CAMBODIA– Today Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) announced their partnership with International NGO Agape International Missions (AIM), a humanitarian organization focused on ending child sex slavery in Cambodia since 2005. AIM’s goal is to defeat the evil of sex trafficking. Their programs are stopping the cycle of exploitation by preventing trafficking, and rescuing, restoring and reintegrating survivors. 

“O.U.R. is incredibly excited to partner with A.I.M., to share and learn new online investigation techniques and technology, and to help local police forces and governments catch such pedophiles that prey upon the young in Cambodia. With the spirit of the mission in mind, we believe that by combining forces we can help save more and more children from child sex slavery, ” said Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad Tim Ballard.  

O.U.R. and AIM have partnered on missions in Cambodia in the past, and share a similar faith based approach to their work. O.U.R. looks forward to continued work with AIM as they rescue children from slavery and rebuild their lives and communities by working with local authorities.

“The opportunities to share skills, experiences, and technologies, which come from the O.U.R.-AIM partnership, will result in an exponential impact on child sex trafficking in Cambodia. Bottom-line, more children will be rescued, more traffickers imprisoned, and fewer children will experience the trauma of sexual exploitation,” said AIM’s CEO & Co-Founder of Anti Trafficking Initiatives Don Brewster

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 NewsFox News Sunday, and The Blaze among others. 

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For more information or to schedule an interview with Tim Ballard, please contact Brielle at brielle@javelindc.com or 201-693-5378.