Ballard worked as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security for more than ten years, where he was deployed as an undercover operative. He spent much of that time as a member of the Child Sex Tourism Jump Team and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC)Task Force. He is proud to have worked in this position, as Homeland Security Investigations and ICAC are leading the way in combating trafficking and child exploitation. Because of jurisdictional restraints it was not legal for the US government to engage in many cases overseas, particularly where there was no prosecutorial nexus back to the United States; however a private organization would have more flexibility. After much contemplation, Ballard decided to leave his position, realizing a public/private partnership between the government and a non-profit entity would be the ideal solution that would truly eradicate child slavery once and for all. Encouraged by those he worked with, Ballard founded Operation Underground Railroad in December of 2013, and the organization has since collaborated with the U.S. government on more than 65 child trafficking cases.