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The Slave Stealer

The Slave Stealer

(A Sneak Peek Into O.U.R.’s New Podcast)

There’s no denying it. The stories of Operation Underground Railroad rescuing children from sex traffickers have gripped people all around the world who were blissfully unaware that such horrendous acts take place. Now, O.U.R. Founder Tim Ballard, will be telling his stories on a new podcast launching today.

The podcast is the brainchild of Mark Mabry, who has extensive experience as a writer and producer, and has accompanied Ballard on several child rescue missions. “The Slave Stealer podcast connects Tim Ballard with people who want to join the fight against slavery,” says Mabry. “The conversations are candid, energetic and often emotional.”

Several episodes of Slave Stealer are already produced and ready to go with the first one available today at SlaveStealer.com. Ballard is the host of the show with Mabry being the on-air producer. “We have invited a few guests to early episodes, such as the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, and television celebrities Montel Williams, Marisol Nichols and Glenn Beck,” says Mabry.

SlaveStealer.com offers a variety of information about child sex trafficking with some shows focusing on Ballard talking with Mabry about rescue missions and what goes into them, while others lend insight from a variety of influential sources.

“We have guests in order to illustrate that everybody has something to offer,” according to Mabry. “The fight against slavery and trafficking has multiple fronts. One high-influence person may have the ability to sway millions of opinions or raise millions of dollars. Another might be able to effect legislation, such as HR515. An inspired teenager might be able to help his peers identify the traffickers trap. Awareness needs to exist everywhere and the show helps us help influencers to go on the record and share the discussion with their own circles of influence.”

Tim Ballard is excited about the opportunity to help people understand the ‘ins and outs of trafficking.’ “The important thing about this podcast and about O.U.R. in general is how we are different. People ask us that and it’s such a dark subject and we try to be light. We try to bring light to it. We don’t just say, ‘Look at this horrible thing and what are we going to do and woe is me.’ We have to show that but then, we’re the light in this darkness because we’re not just talking about it. We’re actually saving kids. We’re actually extracting them. We’re actually providing tools that result in the rescue of kids and the arrest of traffickers and pedophiles. And that provides hope and that is what this podcast is about. It’s talking about the problem, but more importantly, it’s talking about a solution.”

Each SlaveStealer podcast runs between 30 and 40 minutes and can be downloaded with any number of apps found here http://www.theverge.com/2015/6/4/8724949/best-podcast-app-iphone-outcast-pocket-casts-castro. Podcasts are free and anyone with a smart phone or computer can access them. Simply follow the link to SlaveStealer.com and subscribe.

Subscribing to the podcast is free and we invite abolitionists everywhere to join us in spreading the word. It’s a great way for you to not only hear about what is going on with O.U.R. and human trafficking, but by increasing our audience we increase the potential for sponsors. And the more sponsors we have the greater potential we have for rescuing children from sex traffickers. So if you want to help fight child sex trafficking, subscribe right now. Here’s a sneak peak at the first podcast – click: SlaveStealer

Tim Ballard believes that everyone would help if they really knew what was going on, which is the point of the podcast. “People don’t know or they would do something.” Come listen to the Slave Stealer podcast and become an Abolitionist!

Written by: Cheryl L. Karr

 

 

 

 

The Danger Zone

The Danger Zone

The most dangerous part of rescuing children from traffickers may not be what you think. There are many steps leading up to the rescue and arrest. First and foremost, you have to do some reconnaissance. If you’re lucky, it all goes well. But, that’s not always the case as our Jump Teams discovered on one of its recent intelligence gathering missions.

Editor’s Note: The following are excerpts from an interview with OUR Founder and CEO Tim Ballard as he talks about his Jump Team exploring areas of Haiti in search of enslaved children.

Tim Ballard: We’re doing a lot of work in Haiti right now. Haiti is a very dangerous place.

We are working in certain regions in Haiti where there’s a lot of human trafficking going on with children, whether it’s for sex or for labor. We’re going into those very dangerous places. We went into one village earlier this year (2015), where we had a small team and had set up a medical clinic to help the people but also to gather intelligence.

We had 500 people come through our clinic. After we had treated most of the people at the clinic, the group of traffickers turned on us. They didn’t know why we were there, except to do this clinic, but they were thugs and thugs do thuggish things.

We became vulnerable as a bunch of Americans who were driving in decent cars and clearly had resources. They surrounded us with machetes and machine guns and started threatening our lives and wouldn’t let us leave this little village that we were in.

The village elders went back to talk about what they were going to do. Some people were yelling, just kill two of them and send a message, or take their car, or whatever. And we’re just listening to this and our fate was in the elders’ hands. The village elders came back out arguing and one of them said, “I think you guys are innocent and am grateful for what you did, but I can’t control this mob so it’s up to you.”

So, we just all kind of put our heads down and prayed and got in the car and decided to just move out. They had guns and I told my guys, “If they start shooting, just run them over and just get out of here.”

In the time that we were waiting things had calmed down. I’d sent one of my guys who is a former Navy SEAL out to kind of calm them and disperse the crowd. I mean, things got super tense.

The crowd dispersed enough and the five gunmen who were blocking the road had dropped to about two. Who knows where they went. They went to lunch or something and that allowed us to go for it and luckily the guys didn’t fire and we got out of there. It was a very intense moment.

Question: What did the elders find you innocent of?

Ballard: They were trying to accuse us of being there for other purposes. They were saying, “Why are you here? White guys don’t come and help us. What are you after?” And they were saying that maybe we ’d found oil on their land and we were here to steal their oil. They were just making up allegations – all the mobsters. It was just an excuse. It’s a mob mentality. It’s very scary. I mean, even people who we had just treated had turned on us within hours.

We were at the point with them that if somebody had accidently bumped into somebody, if one of my guys had bumped somebody and he pushed him back that could be it. Everyone starts picking up stones and starts throwing them or something. Mob mentality is a scary thing because nobody feels responsible and they all get riled up. So these guys were just trying to rile up the crowd against us, ultimately to try and steal stuff from us. I believe they wanted our stuff.

So, when the village elders came out they were saying, “We don’t believe you did anything, but that you were here to help.” The truth was we did have other motives for being there, but one of the motives was to help.

We were very moved emotionally by watching this happen. We had real doctors there, and there were mothers there who had never heard a doctor say their kid was healthy and they were crying to know that their kid had been checked out and there were cases where we just handed out penicillin and likely saved lives.

I mean these were places in Haiti where no one has seen a doctor. It was a secondary reason for being there but it turned out to be just as important. Usually, that’s how it is. Usually, the most dangerous part is the intel gathering. You’re going into the traffickers’ home. You’re going into their territory to get the intel.

By the time you get the intel and traffickers are bringing the kids to you where you meet, it’s still dangerous, but it’s less. It’s controlled. They’re coming to your house and bringing the kids. Or they’re going to a place where you’ve already stood up 20 cops around to be there to give you backup. So, the actual rescue part, and we do that by design too because now you’ve involved the kids and they’re here, and so we need to make it as safe as possible, generally, the intel gathering phase is always the most dangerous by far.

Written by: Cheryl L. Karr

 

Looking Within Operation Underground Railroad

Looking Within Operation Underground Railroad

Looking Within O.U.R

In the two short years that Operation Underground Railroad has been operating, hundreds of victims of sex trafficking have been rescued all around the world and O.U.R. is growing faster than even its Founder and CEO, Tim Ballard anticipated.

That can be a challenge, but one that O.U.R. welcomes. With growth, more victims of sex trafficking are being rescued from the dark hole they find themselves in and are being helped to start a new life. Perpetrators are being taken off the streets resulting in a residual effect that is difficult to measure. Relationships with governments and NGOs are being established, building bridges and expanding influence and effectiveness worldwide. New tools are being developed to dig deeper and train others to help in the cause. And O.U.R. has invited hundreds of volunteers to join in the process. In other words, O.U.R. is moving mountains.

Rescuing Victims of Sex Trafficking

Operation Underground Railroad’s first and main objective is to rescue children who are enslaved by sex traffickers and to heal them. It is estimated that there are at least two million children worldwide in this situation. They are not only in third world countries, although O.U.R. has focused much of its work in these areas.

The United States, as well as other developed countries, also shares much of this shame; and this year O.U.R. anticipates rescuing more victims in the U.S. than anywhere else. “I predict that in 2016 we will see more arrests inside the United States than outside the United States,” says Ballard. “Not that our numbers outside the United States will decrease. They won’t. But, we’re going to have more arrests this year, I think in 2016 in the United States than outside and it’s because of the work we’ve been able to do in 2015.”

Operation Underground Railroad’s first rescue occurred December 2013 in Haiti. Listed as one of the poorest countries in the world, O.U.R. discovered an illegal orphanage selling children for between US$5,000-$15,000 and rescued 28 children which are now safe in a legal orphanage. Additional rescues have occurred in Colombia, Mexico, Peru, The Dominican Republic, Thailand, India, Nicaragua, Uganda, and the United States.

“In our first year we were mostly invited by foreign governments who knew they needed help immediately,” says Ballard. But that is beginning to change as local U.S. governments see what O.U.R. is accomplishing. “In the U.S. we have more experienced law enforcement agencies and so they’re less likely to look for help on the outside, until they saw what we were doing overseas,” noted Ballard. “Not all of them, but many of them came to us and said, ‘You know, we’re not even doing that here,’ and that was so great to hear because I knew that, but I knew in my first year I was going to have a hard time because it’s not a partnership, that law enforcement, especially in the United States, are used to doing, this private/public partnership.”

However, helping victims out of their situation is only part of the job. We don’t considered victims truly rescued until they have been healed and O.U.R. has made huge strides in working with organizations that help these victims return to their families or learn a skill so that they can find employment.

How Many Victims has O.U.R. Rescued?

How many have been rescued? This is a question we hear a lot at O.U.R. but the answer is actually more complicated than it appears. Ballard explains, “This is a debate we have with Jerry (Gowen), our COO, about naming the number, the exact number of kids we’ve pulled out and I don’t like doing it because it’s not accurate. For example, we’ve rescued girls who have later become informants for the police who then go out and rescue 20 more. We might not have been there but that was the result.”

Additional examples include joint rescues with government officials that create a media buzz. “After the four operations we did in Colombia we found that when we went back into those cities and tried to look for it again it had shut down completely. No one would even talk about selling kids. And they’d reference all the media about the rescues we had done and of course, they didn’t know who they were talking to. We were the ones who had created that media storm. So there’s the deterrent effect,” says Ballard. “There are kids who aren’t being trafficked right now, who never knew they might have been or who are going to be, because of the deterrent effect.”

An additional deterrent includes the number of law enforcement personnel that have been trained by O.U.R. to replicate what O.U.R. has shown them.

So, what’s the answer in cold hard numbers? “I will tell you there are 404 victims that we’ve actually seen and been able to put in a safe place. But that is not representative of what we’ve done,” says Ballard.

How Many Sex Traffickers have been Arrested?

How many have been arrested? That’s the number that’s most important according to Ballard. “One number I would focus on are the people we put in jail,” says Ballard. “Because one person, one trafficker, one pedophile in jail, how many kids does that save over a lifetime? Dozens likely. These guys will abuse children by the dozens and so the fact that he’s behind bars, so again, how many kids will not be abused or will not be trafficked and they never knew they were going to be. That’s our goal. That’s our number. Who knows what it is, but it’s enormous.”

To date the arrest number stands at 122, but continues to grow with each rescue and follow-up. Jail sentences vary depending on the country but most are put away for between 7-25 years.

O.U.R.’s Partnerships

Operation Underground Railroad has made huge advances in developing partnerships with local and foreign governments as well as NGOs (Non-Government Organizations). These groups have been invaluable in helping to rescue and rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking, as well as making sure the perpetrators are prosecuted and punished. American Ambassadors in various countries have helped to coordinate unity with law enforcement, while the United Nations has provided a platform to bring awareness to the issue.

We’ve also partnered with recovery groups that help these victims get back on their feet. We have social workers that help them deal with the trauma they’ve been through and talented teachers who teach them employable skills so that they can support themselves.

O.U.R.’s Technology

Operation Underground Railroad is continually developing technology that will help law enforcement identify and locate the bad guys. “The Director of our cyber division is doing amazing things,” acknowledged Ballard. “Unfortunately, we can’t talk about all these things, but I’ve always said, that is our future. The future of O.U.R. is in these digital tools that we’re developing and distributing to law enforcement to allow them to find pedophiles who are traveling, find pedophiles who are visiting to places where there are children. Tools that will just be absolutely invaluable to law enforcement around the world and the United States to root out the most evil amongst us that hurt our children. So, that progress has been a huge highlight for us in 2015. The problem is it’s so sensitive that we’ll never be able to get into the details of it.”

O.U.R’s Volunteers

Perhaps the biggest contribution to helping find these precious children and victims of sex trafficking is the volunteers who have come to O.U.R. from all walks of life. It is truly inspiring to see the dedication and commitment they have. They organize 5K runs, donate their cars, hold fundraisers, garage sales, become abolitionists, etc. to help the cause; and because O.U.R. is one hundred percent supported by donations, they are an integral part of everything we do. And we couldn’t do it without them.

2016 and Beyond

Two years ago Operation Underground Railroad started with one man who believed he could make a difference. He saw the evil in this world and tries every day to eradicate it. To date over 404 victims of sex slavery have been rescued and at least 122 perpetrators arrested because he had the courage to stand up and fight.

O.U.R.’s future is bright. We are well positioned to grow not only in the number of rescues and arrests, but in helping others to join the fight with training, technology, fundraising, legislation, and preventative and aftercare for victims. We are making a difference and we invite you to join us. Visit our web site at ourrescue.org on ways you can help. 2016 is going to be a great year!

Written by: Cheryl L. Karr

 

 

 

Reflections of 2015

Reflections of 2015

The end of the year is a time of reflection – a time to evaluate our successes and failures; our weaknesses and strengths. To acknowledge that even though we have accomplished much, there is still so much more to do.

Operation Underground Railroad is extremely grateful to have you as part of our team. With you we can conquer mountains, slay dragons, and fight the good fight. Without you, we are nothing.

Because of you, literally hundreds of children are free today that would otherwise be caught in the ugly web of sex trafficking. Because of you, human traffickers are paying the price for their choices and learning that there are consequences. Because of you, the streets are safer, law enforcement agencies are stronger, and human trafficking is becoming a dangerous occupation.

O.U.R.’s ultimate goal is to eradicate sex slavery around the world. It may seem insurmountable but we believe we can do this! YOU can do this! Together we WILL do this! May God bless you for your sacrifice and generosity.

Sincerely,

Tim Ballard

Operation Underground Railroad Founder and CEO

A Lullaby Story

A Lullaby Story

A lullaby has a way of helping each of us find solace amongst the thorns. Such was the case with Operation Underground Railroad’s Founder and CEO Tim Ballard.

Rescuing children from sex slavery never even entered his mind when Tim Ballard signed up with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Having previously served in the CIA, Ballard moved over to HSI soon after the attacks on the twin towers in 2001 in order to better protect America’s borders. But fate had a different plan for him.

His boss was creating a special task force to rescue children being trafficked across the boarder from San Diego, California into Mexico and Ballard was invited to be a part of the team. The idea did not exactly appeal to him. It is an ugly underworld that he didn’t want anything to do with, however, after a great deal of soul searching he agreed to help.

The first rescue involved a young brother and sister who were kidnapped and whisked across the Mexican boarder to be entertainment and play toys at a sex party. In a daring HSI undercover operation, Ballard infiltrated the party as an undercover operative and rescued them both. The siblings were then turned over to a recovery center in California.

The idea of staying with the special task force weighed heavily on Ballard’s mind after that. Should he continue rescuing children from the nightmare they find themselves in? What effect would this have on his life – on his family? Or should he continue to protect America’s borders as he had planned to do?

While contemplating the fork in the road, a song came on the radio. It was a lullaby written and sung by Peter Breinholt – and it spoke to Ballard. The lyrics talk of bad dreams and how he hopes the bad people “won’t come round here no more… and maybe you will stay here to hold on to.”

It was the turning point for Ballard. He knew what he had to do and he’s been doing it ever since.

To watch the music video click here Lullaby. To support O.U.R. download the a music track on iTunes. for .99 here.   Breinholt is graciously donating ALL proceeds to O.U.R. to help rescue children.

Lullaby Lyrics by Peter Breinholt

As I lay myself to sleep I’m awake And nobody else is here – Sometimes I wish I could fly away So they won’t come round here no more – They won’t come round here no more

Did you see the castle in the air And all the people living there Or did a bad dream call tonight – Well they won’t come round here no more

So sleep now and be still And know that There’s no fear

And maybe You’ll stay here to hold on to When things get bad – So be still And sleep now And know that There’s no more fear

And maybe You’ll stay here To hold on to – There’s one thing you should know – They won’t come round here no more

 

 

 

One Hundred Fifty Years of Freedom

One Hundred Fifty Years of Freedom

“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” Martin Luther King, Jr. told a stirring crowd August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D. C.

“This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity,” he continued.

But even Reverend King recognized in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech that passing a law does not free men make. What became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified December 6, 1865, one hundred and fifty years ago this month, abolishing slavery once and for all in the United States of America.

Yet, today that fight for freedom continues, not only on the red hills of Georgia or the plains of Tennessee, but in the hidden corridors of India and on the back streets of Thailand and Colombia. Enslavement now wears multiple faces with varied descriptions and runs rampant not only in the United States but throughout the world.

Even with all our enlightenment, slavery is now more prominent than at any other time in the history of the world with an estimated 30 million enslaved. They are sex slaves, labor slaves, and child brides. Over two million children are being masqueraded as child prostitutes today. They are in all parts of the world and speak a variety of languages. You may see them and not even know it. When will it stop?

Creating laws to end slavery is only the beginning. Freedom for all will only become reality when it is firmly rooted in the hearts and minds of just men and women everywhere. As a result, freedom continues to be an elusive dream for many. Today, it is estimated that two million children are being trafficked as sex slaves; one hundred thousand of those are in the United States.

At Operation Underground Railroad, we are committed to “…proclaim liberty to the captives…,” Isaiah 61:1. We do this in a number of ways including identifying sex slaves and literally going in and rescuing them from their captors and ensuring the abusers are arrested by always working with law enforcement. And we risk our lives every time we do it, but we do it because we know it is the right thing to do.

We also work with other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in countries around the world to not only rescue the enslaved, but help them with recovery and education so they can stand on their own and avoid the victimization that they were put into in the first place.

We say to you, “Join us!” Join the fight and be the voice for so many children who have been silenced. Together we can eliminate this scourge on the earth. There are a number of things you can do. Go to our web site at OURrescue.org for ideas on ways to help. Start your own fundraising campaign, buy products from the O.U.R. store, educate others, or volunteer your time and talents.

We share Dr. King’s dream to be able to “…join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last!” With your help we are making that dream a reality for all.

Written by: Cheryl L. Karr

 

 

 

 

 

Feeding the Hungry

Feeding the Hungry

Imagine growing spinach from seed to harvest in just five days. What about a full head of lettuce in 15 days. Impossible? For most of us, yes, but a new company is working with Operation Underground Railroad to feed the orphans and those that we rescue from slavery with food that not only grows quickly and easily, but contains more nutrients than food bought in stores or produced on farms.

The project has been designed and developed by GrowVita and Skyfarms, and involves isolating the light spectrums from the sun that each plant needs in order to grow and flourish. The process is based on new technology and is best explained in six steps:

  1. Controlling the environment.
  2. Isolating certain light spectrums of the sun.
  3. Minimizing water usage.
  4. Reducing electric needs. Uses only ten percent of normal usage.
  5. Speeding growth. Plants grow three to four times faster than usual.
  6. Increasing nutrition – 65 percent more protein in spinach. Two hundred to six hundred percent more vitamins.

Previously, the technology to produce this food was prohibitively expensive but with the cost of technology coming down, the plan is now moving forward. GrowVita owner Mark Stott, who also serves on O.U.R.’s board of directors, describes it as a spiritual journey. “We were blessed. So many things we do in O.U.R. are miraculous.”

For children in third world countries, this is especially helpful. A diet consisting mainly of beans and rice will now be supplemented with vegetables and micro-greens that they can easily grow in record time.

“Those grow boxes are amazing!” said actress Marisol Nichols* who runs her own nonprofit called Slavery Free World. “I think they could revolutionize poverty everywhere.”

How It Works:

To better understand the process we need to evaluate the steps. In order to control the environment, grow boxes or “pods” are built and placed in doors to allow the grower to control light exposure. The pods are then filled with a special mixture of soil made out of coconut husks and mineral wool, which helps to keep in the moisture, which in turn, requires less water for the plants to grow.

The water, itself, is mixed with organic liquid nutrients that are then passed on to the plant making it more nutritious than plants grown solely with water. These pod plants, on average, contain 65 percent more protein and 200-600 percent more vitamins.

Normally, an outside garden will receive perhaps 3-5 hours of sunlight with the right light spectrum for a particular plant. With the use of LED lights isolating only those rays a particular plant needs, it can provide more hours of light resulting in three to four times quicker grow rates. This lighting requirement is different for different plants and a “recipe” is used to determine the light spectrum and amount of light exposure for each one.

For example, a tomato plant will receive its required light spectrum18 hours a day and rest 6 hours. In 45 days it will be producing four pounds of tomatoes daily and the plant itself, will live for 13 months.

On the other hand, wheat grass does not require any amount of rest time and will be showered with its own particular light spectrum 24 hours a day. Each plant is different.

Electricity is needed to have the pods run efficiently, however solar panels and batteries are doing the work there. Since the 40-watt LED lights require less power the solar panels can handle this requirement easily.

Each pod will produce between 75 to 175 pounds of food per month or about 750 highly nutritious salads. And according the Stott, the food is better tasting as well. Any extra food not used by the recovery victims and orphans can be sold to other food providers, raising cash for other necessities.

A Miracle:

Both GrowVita and Skyfarms have been developing, testing and experimenting the grow pods over the past several years. The technology will be utilized in large-scale indoor farming as well as for personal grow-pods. “From the beginning, the goal for both companies was to use this technology to feed those in need,” said Stott. Because of the relationship O.U.R. had with an orphanage in Haiti, it was chosen as the first beta site.

The logistics and cost of getting these pods, which build up to be five feet wide by eight feel tall, and equipment to Haiti posed a huge challenge. Shipping anything to a third world country is risky. Items have been known to mysteriously disappear. But, as often happens with O.U.R., a miracle came in the way of a donor who offered his private jet to personally fly all the items to Haiti and help get them set up.

The donor wishes to remain anonymous however, he had his own very personal and spiritual experience which led him to O.U.R. and the help which he has ultimately given. His generosity is blessing many lives and O.U.R. is sincerely grateful.

With his help, three grow pods are now all set up at the orphanage and people are being trained in how to operate and maintain the equipment that will ultimately provide them with the food they need to survive and even thrive. Each pod only requires one or two people to maintain it and the best part is there are no weeds!

Nichols accompanied the grow boxes to Haiti along with Ballard and Stott and brought a nice surprise for the children at the orphanage. “I just couldn’t go empty handed. I brought 150 little stuffed animals and 15 boxes of crayons along with some coloring books and toy cars. They loved them!” You can see Nichols handing out the toys to the children on her Facebook page by clicking here: Marisol Nichols

Despite the challenging living conditions, the children at the orphanage appeared happy and loved all the attention. “I saw young, young kids starving for love and affection – and hopelessness – even at their age. I’ll never forget that ever,” said Nichols.

It was evident to Nichols that food and toys are not the only things these children need. “Now I understand. They need anything. Next time I’ll bring underwear, blankets, clothes, and books,” said Nichols, “If I could find them in their language.”

For now, the grow boxes are a good start. If the model is successful, more pods will be donated to other orphanages and recovery centers that O.U.R. is involved with. In the meantime GrowVita and Skyfarms will officially launch in the first quarter of 2016 with their growpods, special lighting and plant recipes. This could be a real game changer in feeding the entire world. Stay tuned.

Written by: Cheryl L. Karr

*Marisol Nichols is currently appearing in NCIS, Teenwolf, and Criminal Minds.

 

 

 

Operation Triple Take – One Year Later

Operation Triple Take – One Year Later

It’s been one year since Operation Underground Railroad conducted Operation Triple Take in Colombia resulting in the rescue of 123 victims of sexual exploitation with 12 traffickers arrested.

It was, and still is the biggest operation O.U.R. has conducted to date. Three Jump Teams in three different cities, executing a simultaneous sting in order to rescue sex trafficking victims; and it went off without a hitch due to the strategic planning of O.U.R., CTI (Colombia’s FBI equivalent) and Homeland Security Investigations from the U.S.

Today, many of the victims that were rescued are back with their families, safe and sound, if not a little wiser about the world. Many of these families were duped by the traffickers into believing they were sending their children to become models that would make lots of money to send back home. In fact, one of the traffickers was a former beauty pageant queen in Colombia and used her position to gain the trust of parents and their children.

Today, she, along with the other traffickers that were arrested, is in jail awaiting her fate. According to O.U.R.’s Senior VP for Rescue Missions Matt Osborne:

“The legal cases are ongoing, and despite intense efforts by the suspected traffickers and their families to gain their release, thus far the Colombian justice system is holding and the alleged perpetrators remain behind bars. The organized criminals and their families have threatened our partners in Renacer, CTI and elsewhere, but the brave Colombian prosecutors, police officers and the NGO specialists remain undeterred. The trials are likely to begin in the first quarter of 2016.”

One of the would-be sex buyers was arrested in Florida for his part in the sex party as well as other potential sex crimes including making pornographic films with minors. Dennis DeJesus, 45, of North Lauderdale was investigated by Homeland Security agents, which had evidence he was intending to fly to Colombia as a sex tourist, someone who travels in search of sex. As a result of the strong case HSI, CTI and O.U.R. put together, DeJesus had no other choice but to plead guilty and is currently serving 15 years in prison.

You can read more about his arrest and plea deal in Florida here.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-sex-tourist-broward-colombia-20150422-story.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2796189/florida-sex-tourist-busted-international-sting-repeatedly-traveling-colombia-sex-young-girls-produce-homemade-porn-films.html

In the city of Armenia, many of the victims have received additional support to combat the ongoing threats and pressure from the network of traffickers. The evidence O.U.R. and CTI collected during the sting however, looks to be strong enough to build a solid case against the suspected trafficker for a 15-20 year sentence.

According to Osborne, “The CTI partners remain in contact with many of the families of the survivors and report that most are doing well. The communities remain very happy with O.U.R.’s actions and the parents of the survivors are doing what they can to ensure their children do not fall prey to another trafficking organization.”

Rescued victims were treated by Renacer, http://www.fundarenacer.com/ a private-run organization that relies on donors. Osborne says, “Renacer truly is a first class rehabilitation center that provides the gamut of services to help any exploited child get back on her or his feet. Some of the survivors of Operation Triple Take received temporary medical, psychological and education-related care in the facilities, while a few survivors had to undergo full-time, live-in training to get them back on their feet.” Due to the sensitive nature and age of the victims we are not able to give individual stories.

Osborne reports that, “Following Operation Triple Take several members of CTI and the Colombian National Police (CNP), sometimes working in conjunction with the US Embassy, have stepped up their operational pace against traffickers and have looked to attack this problem head-on. Colombian authorities appear energized by the results of Triple Take and are looking to branch out on their own, exactly what the O.U.R. model encourages.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes honored the Colombian team recently for its efforts in reducing child sex trafficking, acknowledging their bravery in taking this step and noting that O.U.R. could not have done it without them.

“Colombia is our most competent, committed, and forward-leaning partner in South America, and we are looking to maximize this potential to save as many exploited kids as possible,” said Osborne.

http://ourrescue.org/blog/operation-triple-take/ – Operation Triple Take

Written by: Cheryl L. Karr

Dentist Organizes 5K for O.U.R.

Dentist Organizes 5K for O.U.R.

BURKE, VA–(Marketwired – October 31, 2015) – A Burke dental office joined other local companies this month to co-sponsor a 5K run to benefit a program that rescues children from human trafficking.

The run was held Oct. 17 to benefit Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit that works to remove children from human trafficking. Dr. Erik Fox, a dentist at Fox Family Dentistry, has provided free dental work for many human trafficking victims in the past.

Dr. Fox and his wife, Nichole, co-sponsored the event with Kilma Orthodontics and Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery, along with several other local businesses and community members.

“This is a great event to bring awareness and support to such an important issue,” Dr. Fox said. “It is a good charity to support and a good opportunity to bring the community together.”

Operation Underground Railroad works with government agencies to identify and then rescue children who are victims of human trafficking. The foundation raises money for rescue missions and rehabilitation.

There are between 600,000 and 800,000 people across the globe who are sold into forced labor or sex trades every year. Of that number, an estimated 50 percent are children, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report. Operation Underground Railroad estimates that one rescue campaign costs about $50,000, but notes that just one operation can rescue between one and 50 children.

“Just one operation can literally save dozens of children from the grips of criminals and human traffickers,” Dr. Erik Fox said. “It’s important for my family and our practice to support these issues because we can save children and give them a better life.”

Fox Family Dentistry is a father-and-son dental practice that operates in a 1,500-square-foot facility with six operatories. The practice is operated by Dr. Lawrence Fox and his son, Dr. Erik Fox. The office serves patients of all ages and is a leading provider in cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry, such as crowns, fillings, veneers and implant restorations.

Dr. Lawrence Fox grew up in Granada Hills, Calif., and is a graduate of Granada Hills High School. He earned his undergraduate degree in zoology from Brigham Young University and then went on to earn his dental degree from Georgetown University School of Dentistry. Following dental school, Dr. Lawrence Fox spent three years as a Marine Corps officer and four years as a Navy dental officer.

Dr. Lawrence Fox holds memberships with the American Dental Association, Northern Virginia Dental Society, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Virginia Dental Association, District of Columbia Dental Society, Northern Virginia Implant Study Club, Seattle Study Club, World Clinical Laser Institute and the Academy of Laser Dentistry.

Drs. Fox are very active in the community, particularly with local sports, school and church functions.

 

Giving Tuesday is for Giving Freedom

Giving Tuesday is for Giving Freedom

Join the Thunderclap for Operation Underground Railroad December 1st –

But you need to act NOW!

O.U.R. is participating in #GivingTuesday to raise money to end human trafficking and help in the recovery efforts of those we rescue.
  • Our goal is to raise $50,000 on December 1, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving to allow people to give their thanks for the privileges they have that many of those we rescue do not.  Here is how you can help:
  • SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA – To help you easily share and not forget to share on this day, we’ve utilized Thunderclap to get everyone sharing at the same time on #GivingTuesday. To sign up for our Thunderclap campaign and schedule your message to post at the same time as everyone else, please go to:  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/34260-givingfreedom, and click the “login/register” link in the upper-right. Once you’ve registered and supplied your Facebook or Twitter accounts, you can schedule a post to go out automatically at the same time as everyone else. We are trying to get 500 people to do this! Throughout that day we encourage you to keep posting! We will be using the hashtags, #GivingTuesday and #GivingFreedom throughout the day if you want to post and participate in the conversation. Feel free to share and post the things we’ll share on our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ throughout that day.
  • JOIN THE EMAIL LIST – For those on the email list, we will be sending updates leading up to the campaign to give you updates and provide resources you can use to share on #GivingTuesday. To sign up for the email list just visit  http://ourrescue.org and put your email in the box below “Send me updates about missions and ways to help.”
  • DONATE – We are trying to raise money to help children who are the victims of sex traffickers by rescuing them and helping them throughout their recovery. We plan to raise $50,000 to help them. To follow our progress please find our #GivingFreedom campaign on yourrescue.org.

Your donations help many causes related to ending Human Trafficking. Thank you.

*Thunderclap is a tool that allows many people to all post on social media at the same time. They sign up with their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and it then posts automatically for them on the date and time specified to start a wave of sharing on the day we launch the campaign. We are hoping to get 500 people to sign up for this thunderclap.