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Important Message From O.U.R.


An Update from Operation Underground Railroad

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December 4, 2023

Dear Friends,

We are writing to you today because we are grateful for your generous support of our mission to combat child sexual exploitation and human trafficking, and we appreciate the trust you have placed in us to carry out this critical and urgent work. We are also writing to address questions that have been raised about the integrity of our organization after our separation from Tim Ballard, and to clarify misperceptions about how we operate.

First and foremost, we want you to know that we believe O.U.R.’s mission has always been greater than any one person. O.U.R. currently has a strong, resilient team of dedicated operators, staff and volunteers that is currently supporting, on average, more than five commissions a week. This important work includes a combination of boots on the ground, intelligence gathering, and contributing hardware, specialized tools, training and manpower to law enforcement worldwide. In addition, we are continuing to support the provision of trauma-informed aftercare to survivors on their healing journey.

Thanks to the generous contributions of our donors, O.U.R. is financially stable, with the resources to sustain our current programs. Your continued support will enable us to continue adapting and expanding our capabilities in furtherance of our mission.

Separation from Tim Ballard

While Tim Ballard was the public face of O.U.R. during his tenure as CEO, he directly participated in only a small fraction of O.U.R.’s operations in recent years. His departure followed an investigation by an independent law firm and the conclusion that Tim Ballard engaged in unprofessional behavior that violated O.U.R.'s policies and values. He has been permanently separated from O.U.R. We understand the trauma that often results in an individual who witnesses the effects of trafficking first-hand over a period of many years. We hope that he can address this in his own life and get the help he may need.

O.U.R. has increased and will continue to increase its commitment to providing a safe, respectful and harassment-free environment, and we are deeply sorry for any harm or distress that Tim Ballard’s actions may have caused to anyone associated with O.U.R.

As you may have seen, the allegations of misconduct are the subject of pending litigation against O.U.R. The claims made in the lawsuits are not representative of how O.U.R. operates, and we will continue to defend the organization against the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to spread through the media false and defamatory information about O.U.R., its leadership, or Board of Directors. We are confident that the facts are on our side. Importantly, we are mindful of our obligation to act as responsible stewards of our donors’ funds and will not let the pending litigation distract us from the work we do.

Our commitments for the future

As we look toward the future, we are committed to demonstrating our values in everything we do. We are primarily focused on three vital initiatives.

  1. To focus on the mission of the organization: to rescue and support victims of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
  2. To keep our staff, volunteers and mission operatives safe.
  3. To mature and safeguard O.U.R., including by refining our business processes as well as our operational protocols and governance.
We have already taken several steps in furtherance of these goals:

  • We have initiated an audit of the organization’s finances, procedures and controls;
  • We retained a legal firm specializing in international trafficking policy and law to help us review and update our mission operations policies and procedures;
  • We are continually reviewing and actively remedying all findings from the ongoing legal and operations audit;
  • And finally, we are in the process of refreshing the Board of Directors to include accomplished professionals with diverse perspectives and skill sets, and have initiated a search for a new CEO to lead O.U.R. forward.
We are confident that these measures will help us prevent future misconduct and protect the safety and dignity of everyone involved with O.U.R. We will keep you updated on our progress.

We hope that you will continue to stand with us as we move forward with renewed purpose and passion. We have a lot of work to do, and we cannot do it without your support.

Thank you for your faith and your generosity.

Sincerely,

The O.U.R. Team