There he was. Standing in front of the crowd – smiling, answering questions and being most gracious during a time of great pain and anguish. It’s a mixed blessing becoming a celebrity all because your son was kidnapped, but that is exactly what has happened to Guesno Mardy and he handled it well during a private screening of “The Abolitionists” film recently.
The documentary was made by Fletch/Chet Entertainment, who followed Operation Underground Railroad Founder and CEO Tim Ballard and the Jump Teams as they rescued child sex slaves. It was shown for the first time during the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last month and was an evening of celebration, celebrities and sadness.
Sadness that there are children in this world who are being sold into slavery everyday and used for despicable purposes. Celebration because O.U.R. is doing something about it and people all over the world are helping, including a number of celebrities of all kinds.
Reaction to the film has been overwhelmingly supportive. A member of the Jump Team described it as showing a, “ …unique perspective.” He was really touched by the rescued girls talking about their recovery.
This Jump Team member also reminisced about how dangerous these operations are and that he has feared for his life many times. “In Haiti we were surrounded by hundreds of people who were not friendly to us. We could have been attacked at any moment. There was a lot of anti-American sentiment.”
One of the film’s producers, Chet Thomas, said feedback about the film has been “incredibly positive” and they plan to enter it now in numerous film festivals around the world while hoping to bring awareness to the problem as well as shine a light on O.U.R.’s rescue and recovery efforts.
In a question and answer session following the screening many asked Tim Ballard how they can help rescue these children. Ballard told them to contact O.U.R. at the web site ourrescue.org.
Mardy, the father of kidnapped victim Gardy Mardy told the audience, “ Look at how much suffering there is all over the world. I’ve been doing that over the last five years and I’m telling you it’s not that easy.”
Gardy was kidnapped when he was three years old and just recently turned eight while in captivity. When attempts by the F.B.I. failed to location him, Mardy turned to Operation Underground Railroad which has been searching for Gardy for over a year now with funds donated by people who want to help.
In the search for Gardy, 26 children were rescued from an illegal orphanage, which has given some comfort to Mardy that the search for his child has, at least, rescued others.
After watching the film, Mardy described it as “captivating” and “drawing a lot of attention to the problem,” but he also said he hopes a lot of good will come from it. Offering advise to anyone who has a child kidnapped, he said, “Keep praying and have faith God can help with any problem.”
In referring to O.U.R. Founder, Tim Ballard, Mardy said, “The Lord sent him to me. I’ve never been alone in this whole thing.”