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Slave Stealer

Listen to front-line stories from guys rescuing kidnapped children from sex slavery. Yep, that's a thing. Right now, there are over 2 MILLION children being sold and traded for sex. Timothy Ballard has saved hundreds of children himself. Tim left the Department of Homeland Security to start a non-profit, child rescue team, called Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). Hear how they do it? It's candid and visceral. It's not explicit, but it's also not recommended for children.
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Now displaying: 2016
Jun 1, 2016

Tim gives the emotional back story of Gardy, the currently missing son of a friend, in Haiti. He talks about recent efforts to rescue him and a little about how Gardy helped start Operation Underground Railroad.   Interview w/ Tim Ballard Mark Mabry January 20, 2015


  Tim:         

Welcome to Slave Stealer Podcast. Tim Ballard here with Mark Mabry, and we're going to talk today about the story that really started Operation Underground Railroad. It's the story of a man named Guesno Mardy who is a Haitian man whose son was kidnapped, trafficked, from Port-au-PrinceHe was the pastor of his congregation, and this boy was taken from church, passed on to traffickers, and vanished.

What's horrible about this story is that while he's looking for his boy - he's only two or three weeks into the search - and that's when Haiti has that earthquake that kills 300 and some thousand people. Included amongst those people were Guesno's mother, Guesno's sister, and almost his wife. She was the only person who survived in this building that collapsed and only because her body fell into, like, a crevasse of cement jungle and somehow walked out without a scratch. And that's when she said...she basically cursed the land and said, "I'm leaving. My son's been kidnapped." She had four other children at the time and she says, "I'm outta here. I'm going to Florida. I cannot live in this cursed land." And Guesno says, "I can't leave without Gardy." So they're still married and everything, but he lives in Haiti because he will not leave until he finds his son.

Mark:     

And she lives in Florida.

Tim:          

She lives in Florida.

Mark:      

That was a lot to take in for an opening paragraph.

Tim:         

Yeah. How'd you like that one?

Mark:      

That was big.

Tim:          

Yeah.

Mark:      

Let's just start here, then. Let's start into the narrative, because you gave us a good context. Take me to the first time you ever spoke to Guesno. What was your situation at the time? And what was his response?

Tim:       

I was a government agent when I heard about the case - and the reason I heard about the case was because this little boy Gardy actually was born in the United States. His parents were on a fundraising mission. They have an orphanage, beautiful orphanage, that we visit often, and it has 150 kids in it. They're on a fundraising mission, and that's when Guesno's wife, Marjorie, was pregnant with Gardy, had Gardy - he's a U.S. citizen. He's the only of the of the five kids, the (now) five kids, that's a citizen, so I...naturally, I heard about the case. There was some press on it, and I was reading about it - not very much press, but a little bit. And I thought, "I wonder what's happening with this little U.S. citizen who's been taken?"

So I started digging into it, found out that the case had been given over to the Haitian national police. There were some federal agents who went down in the wake of the kidnapping and then the earthquake happened and all hell broke loose and they just had no leads. At that point, though, very few were looking for Gardy, relatively speaking, at the time, and then when the earthquake hits, there's no infrastructure. Prisons broke, people were running out of jail... I mean, there was no resources to do anything like a proactive investigation for a missing person.

Mark:      

How many displaced children were there in the wake of the earthquake? Do you know?

Tim:          

Oh, it's hundreds of thousands. Hundreds of thousands.

Mark:      

So one missing already, it's a... Nobody cares.

Tim:         

Oh...later on, we went and talked to the Haitian police about the Gardy case, and they said, "Look, we care about this case, but the problem is, we get a missing person or missing kid report every week, several a week. Dozens."

Mark:      

I want to know about the first phone call. Tell me about the first time you connected with Guesno.

Tim:          

I was trying to work this case from the government. I actually opened a case on it, but because there were no leads and it would have required a trip down there to even find leads, that's not enough to get anyone to sign off on a plane ticket. So what I decided to do was reach out to him. I found a connection between him and me, someone who knew both of us, and they reached out to him and we got him up here with private funding. We got him up... We flew him from Haiti to up into Salt Lake City.

Mark:      

Him alone, or him and his wife?

Tim:          

Just him.

Mark:      

Ok.

Tim:          

And we met at Thanksgiving Point, which is an area that has restaurants and dining. And I foolishly invited him to the nicest restaurant at Thanksgiving Point. I thought I was doing something kind, and he walks in... He totally feels out of place, he sits down. We order this food, and he's looking at it - this is my first impressions of him. He comes in, we're just kind of talking, small talk. And we order this food, and they bring it out, and then he's just like, "This could feed ten of my kids for a week..."

Mark:      

I hate people like that. Debbie Downer. Here you are at this...

Tim:          

Oh, yeah.

Mark:      

I'm just kidding, I don't hate Guesno.

Tim:          

No, but he was completely just honest and genuine. He just took, like, a little bit of the food for himself - like, a tiny bit - and then asked for it... He was leaving the next morning, so he's like, "This food won't perish. I'll be able to take it back to my kids."

Mark:      

His kids meaning...the kids at the orphanage...

Tim:          

The kids at the orphanage.

Mark:

Wow.

Tim:

So that made me feel like, oh. Well, I mean, I was grateful that, I guess, some of the food got to go back.. I think he had to smuggle it through customs, to be honest with you; I don't think you are supposed to take food, but he probably figured out a way.        

So we sat there, and we started talking about it. And it was a punch to the stomach when he said to me... It was one of the first... He kind of led out with this. I said, "What are you doing right now to find your son? Like, what's the plan?" And he said, "The plan is... All I have right now is zero leads..."

Except, he did have a target location. He knew of a place that he believed Gardy had gone through this illicit orphanage. He had tried to get in, he couldn't get in... He said, "You're not going to be able to get in. No one can get in there." He rented... he used to rent, like, a motel or a room in a building across the street. He'd get up on the roof with binoculars and tried to look into this place. It's like a fortress kind of thing. And these kids... It's just on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. He says he's tried to get in several times and no one will let him in. It's all walled off, gated off, because you can't get in.

Mark:      

Pause button. This may be a cultural thing or personality thing: if you thought your son was behind those walls, what would you do? Would you not, guns blazing, go in.?

Tim:          

The police told him, "If you can find a kid in there that you can tell us you've seen your son - you can show us some pictures of it - we will raid the place."

Short of that he... You know, I think part may be a cultural thing, partly he doesn't understand, like... I don't know. I mean, I would have been more aggressive, sure. I would've just gone in...

Mark:      

Yeah.

Tim:          

...and made a ruse or excuse for going in or whatever. But, in fact, that's what we end up doing.

Mark:      

But, but they knew him, as Will disclosed. so there was no ruse.

Tim:          

They knew him. Yeah, they knew him, they knew him and so it was even more difficult for him to get in. And Haiti's also a culture of, you know, people don't want to... It's a very violent culture, right? I mean, everyone's seen someone murdered. And so people are very careful about stepping out into anything. They don't want to get involved. They don't want to get wrapped into it. There's traffickers and thugs involved with kidnapping this boy, and so no one wants to step in, so Guesno was just alone. Even he has to be careful how far he goes; he might create a situation where he's off'd.

Mark:      

If someone will kidnap, they will murder.

Tim:          

Absolutely.

Mark:      

I think, in general. It's a blatant disregard for life.

Tim:          

Especially in Haiti.

Mark:      

 Yeah.

Tim:          

Yeah. So he's just... He told me that's what he does. Aside from that piece of intelligence... And he says there's no way of getting in there and he wasn't even 100% that he was still there - he was certain that Gardy, at least at one point, had been trafficked through this place. But he still held out for the possibility that he could be anywhere in Port-au-Prince or anywhere in Haiti or anywhere in the world, for that matter.

But he told me that he arbitrarily picked a neighborhood in the city, in Port-au-Prince, and he would just walk. He would just walk with a flashlight, hoping. And I remember, we were sitting there having this dinner, and he says...and this is what really, really hit me. He said, "I just walk the streets hoping to hear Gardy's cry." And I said, "How do you pick the area?" He said, "I just pray and I just pick an area." The scarier the area, the better.

Mark:     

Wow.

Tim:         

...he said. And he just walks and hopes to hear Gardy's cry. I said, "Guesno, that's not a good enough plan. You gotta come up with a better plan." And he says, "I know, you need to help me." And then he starts telling me...he starts tearing up, and he says, "Do you have kids?" And I said, "Yeah, I have kids." He said, "Can you imagine laying down and falling asleep in your home, on any given night, knowing that you have a small child whose bed is empty? And he's somewhere outside, you have no idea where. Could you just lay down, knowing that the bed is empty?" I said, "No. There's no way." " Well, I haven't slept for years."

Mark:      

Asking you, as a man of faith: knowing Guesno's faith - and that'll show up further on down the story - how do you reconcile that much prayer? And that much... I'm talking thousands of prayers - not only his, but those of his wife and kids, those of now tens of thousands of people that have heard...millions of people that have heard of Guesno and prayed... For Gardy not to be found yet, it hurts. Like, it doesn't destroy my faith, but it certainly goes, "Oh, come on. This one's worthy." How do we reconcile that gap?

Tim:          

Well, I've had these talks with Guesno, and he says...he believes there is a higher purpose for this. He believes that Gardy's alive. He believes that Gardy will be rescued, but there's a reason why he hasn't been rescued yet. As I continue to tell you the story about how Operation Underground Railroad got involved with the search for Gardy, it's almost a prophecy fulfilled, what happens.

Mark:      

Real quick, to be clear, first Tim Ballard got involved in searching for Gardy. And during that search, Operation Underground Railroad was born.

Tim:          

Yes. Because of that search, it was born.

I tried to, first, investigate this case as a government agent, but like I said, there just wasn't any leads. I mean... There really wasn't any leads except for this one orphanage that I couldn't get a hold of the case file. You don't just call Haiti and say, "Hey, can you send the case file?" There is no federal agencies, law enforcement agencies, like Homeland Security or FBI; they didn't exist in Haiti. Trying to get the case file would have been... I tried to, but no one could get it for me. The way Haiti works is you gotta just show up at places and be persistent until you get to the boss, and then you ask the boss, and then he can make a decision. So, I needed to get boots on the ground to even verify the validity of whatever lead we had, particularly this illegal place, that according to Guesno, held children, and that Gardy had been trafficked through that place. So, I tried to get down there and I just couldn't. I knew I wasn't going to be able to, there just wasn't enough information...the crime, even though it was a U.S. Citizen, had occurred in Haiti under Haiti jurisdiction... The-the-the-the-um Federal agents had gone down in the wake of that, like I said, but they found nothing and came home, and they just turned the case over to the Haitian police. And that was it. That was it. So, because I'd made the promise to Guesno that night, I told him, "I will do everything I can do to... and I will never stop looking, until we find your son". And I had made that promise, and then here I am completely unable to fulfill that promise. Because I opened the case on it, I couldn't go down on my own dime and my own time... It would've been a major conflict, and against policies, and... I wouldn't have been able to use any government contacts I had...and so, because it wasn't an authorized investigation, an authorized trip, to go down there. So I knew the only way that I was going to be able to fulfill the promise to Guesno was to leave the government altogether and go down as private organization, as a private investigator.

Mark:    

And so, I'm assuming you tapped big reserves of cash and that you had sitting there.

Tim:       

Oh yeah, I had a... The government pays me quite a bit with my bonuses, and...no. [scoffs]

Mark:    

And your stock options...

Tim:       

And stock options and, you know, Uncle Sam provides. So...so yeah, we had no money.

Mark:    

What I'd like to do here... And I love this, how it's building... You make a promise, and in order to fulfill his promise, you've got to give up everything. In searching for this little boy, everything comes back in droves, and you're still searching. It's a...yeah. Talk about the birth, a little bit, of Operation Underground Railroad, because it fits. Those that watch The Abolitionists, the movie that's coming out May 16th, you've got to understand that there's more to the Gardy story, like the birth of Operation Underground Railroad.

Tim:       

Right. That's right.

Mark:    

So, go with, kind of the... Let's go long-form here. Just give me how it was born, in context of Gardy.

Tim:       

Well, I'll say this... We've talked a little bit up about Colombia, there were... It really was two cases that birthed the Underground Railroad. It was Gardy, and then also a promise I had made to Colombia, to the Colombian authorities, as a government agent that we would come and execute this plan that we had designed to rescue kids in Cartagena. So, both of those were weighing on me.

Mark:    

So, personally, your personal integrity was being compromised by constraints in your current position.

Tim:       

Yeah, and it was naïve and foolish of me to make the promises, frankly.

Mark:  

Or inspired.

Tim:       

Or inspired. One or the other. Often, those are one in the same, right? So, um...uh... Yeah, we've talked about Colombia, but this... Both of those together birthed Operation Underground Railroad.

Mark:    

Colombia fail op, actually, right? That was your first op, we talked about before?

Tim:       

Yeah, that was the very first operation in Colombia... That was a plan that had actually been planned a year earlier, or maybe more than a year earlier, when I was as a government agent in Colombia, training federal police down there on how to do trafficking cases, and we have decided that we would, instead of just doing the training, that we would actually do a case. And I promised we'd be back to execute, and then I couldn't get back. So, it was it was a similar situation in both these cases, and are happening at about the same time. I can't go to Haiti and help Guesno, and I can't go to Colombia to help the Colombian federal agents.

Mark:    

And when you got to Colombia, you weren't allowed to... The case got stymied, right? It got shut off? It was a technical failure?

Tim:       

Yeah...

Mark:    

And you're taking us to Haiti, here in the second, where, in terms of objectives... We didn't come home with Gardy, and it's interesting... Two kicks in the teeth, right off the bat...

Tim:       

Yeah.

Mark:    

Yet, you plow through.

Tim:       

Yeah.

Mark:    

It's cool. So keep going with Gardy.

Tim:       

So, we go to Port-au-Prince, because of the police station, we open the case file. Sure enough, there's plenty of leads. Guesno's right. This orphanage is illicit, if you can call it an orphanage... This place where children are being kept is most certainly a [pause, stutters] prime suspect.

Mark:    

Why?

Tim:       

Several reasons. One had to do with the fact that when Gardy went missing, the-the-the-the, um leader of the organization, this orphanage started showing up, and they knew each other. There was an acquaintance there, which is usually how kidnappings happen.

Mark:    

She went to Guesno's church.

Tim:       

Yes. She went to Guesno's church.

Mark:    

She was one of the members of his flock.

Tim:       

That's right. And that's usually how these things happen, unfortunately. It's usually someone who knows... They know, they have an inside angle. So she starts showing up randomly, like, after, like, snooping around, like, showing up with the family when they're meeting with the police, and they're just like, "Why are you here? We don't know you that well..." Like, why? And then the police turned on, started investigating her, and she just disappeared... Stopped coming to church. At the same time, they made an arrest in the case of another flock member, who actually worked for Guesno at the orphanage, and was fired for embezzling money. Interestingly enough, he ends up being the one who, dead to rights, was the one who actually did the physical kidnapping of Gardy, and then gave him to a bunch of thugs. His thought was that they were just going to ransom the kid off, and they knew from phone records that it was clearly him who was making the calls back to Guesno for ransom. He thought they're going to ransom the kid off, get him back, and he would have got his revenge on Guesno. But what happened was the thugs did ransom him off, took the money, and then kept the kid to sell him to make more money, and then threw this flock member, Carlos, to Guesno... Oh, I'm sorry, to the police, and they ended up arresting him. He still in jail. And while he's going to jail, he's... From jail, he's calling who? He's calling Yvrose, who is the director of this illegal orphanage.

Mark:    

The woman that is snooping around...

Tim:       

Yeah, the woman that's snooping around, and then disappears, and is acting all weird... He starts calling her. She's the point of contact. We don't know what those phone conversations were, but those phone conversations were very active in the wake of the kidnapping. All roads lead to this woman, and she's up to no good. Carlos is in jail. The thugs, you don't know who they are exactly, but they have Gardy eventually, but... We have to find out, does this woman... If she and the business of taking kids and selling them in the black market? Because that would make sense, if that's what she's doing. Her orphanage was illicit, she couldn't adopt kids... She didn't have a license to adopt kids.

Mark:    

And it's not like she was just getting them to take care of them Mother Teresa style.

Tim:       

Oh, no.

Mark:    

As we'll get to, that was no sanctuary.

Tim:       

Oh, no. That was a doghouse. That was a doghouse. So, she lived OK. She had her own little apartment on the premises, and she had another house outside of the orphanage, too, and she was doing just fine. It's the kids who were living in the doghouse. So, so, we goes down, we end up with the blessing and authorization of the Haitian national police... They signed up to work under them... And they send us into the orphanage with hidden cameras to just see what's going on here. We kind of just show up, she's very suspicious at first, but we said, "Look, word on the street is that this is where you can get kids".

Mark:    

And this is just...this is you and an interpreter, right?

Tim:       

Yeah.

Mark:    

Ok.

Tim:       

And you. You were there.

Mark:    

I went... You had been there before by now.

Tim:       

Yeah, that's right. We have been there before.

Mark:    

So, you went and scouted about...

Tim:       

Yeah, we went up and just said, "How do you... Word on the street is that you've got kids." So we came in exactly like a trafficker would come in. We didn't come in and say we're going to take these kids and sell them into sex slavery or slave labor, but a trafficker wouldn't do that. He'd just come in and say, "I hear this is... If you want kids, this is where you come get them." And she said, "Yes, that's exactly right."  And then we let her tell us, "Well how does this work?" And she was not shy about it. Adoption wasn't an option. She didn't even lay it out there. In fact, we forced the issue and said, "Well, why don't you do it legally?" She's like, "Aw, you don't want to do that. That's not... It's just real easy, just give me $10,000." And she ended up raising the price the next day to $15,000 dollars. "Just give me cash and pick your kid." These kids weren't documented. There is no evidence that they even existed, because that's how she would get them. There was no legal process by which she got them, she just gathered them. So, we went back to the police and said you won't believe this...she, she... You're right! She is suspect number one, because she is selling kids. The fact that you believe she had Gardy is very credible. This is her M.O. They sent us back in to do the deal, and we went in and picked these... They said, "Pick a kid. Buy him. Look at the evidence, and we'll shut them down and get the kids out there."

Mark:    

K, so, let's narratively go into this joint... You've got a couple of undercover Haitian police specialist detectives, one woman, and another man that was posing as our tour guide, and another guy that was posing as the van driver. These guys, you know, we talk about government corruption, and it's probably a little more rampant in Haiti, and business is good for traffickers in Haiti. For these guys to stand up and take on trafficking is really bold.

Tim:       

Yeah, absolutely.

Mark:    

So, they were there, there are a couple of abolitionists there, there was a former marine there, who was a girl, and this is when I met Tim. I was working at The Blaze as a journalist, and he invited me to come down to verify, say "Hey, I want to show your organization that we're legit. And I was working for The Blaze for Glenn Beck at the time, and he said, "Ok, we're going to send Mark". Boom. I get sent. I'm with Tim, and that's really how we... we'd met before that, but...

Tim:       

Yeah.

Mark:    

Our first...

Tim:       

So, that's...

Mark:    

That's why we're here.

Tim:       

So, we-we-we...

Mark:    

We all walk in.

Tim:       

We all walk in. Not all those people you named, some of them were just outside security, and, but...

Mark:    

Yeah.

Tim:       

So we go in and we make the deal, and we buy these kids. While we're going in, this time, unlike the first time, I picked up one of the kids and I was holding him and I'm walking around, and I'm looking for Gardy. Is Gardy in here? Is there a possibility? So I walked through every nook and cranny of this place, but, the best I can, they were walling me off to see everything...

Mark:    

We're taking pictures of every child's face.

Tim:      

Yeah, every child's face. Maybe one of them is Gardy. But, ultimately, we came back, and, and, um, it was a really... This movie is captured in the movie. Or, this scene is captured in the movie, where I go back and tell Guesno, and I'm like...

Mark:    

Wait, you skipped... Filled in a little bit, first.

Tim:       

No, I didn't skip.

Mark:    

You didn't skip?

Tim:       

No.

Mark:    

What did you tell...

Tim:       

I go back, this is before... This is before there's a rescue.

Mark:    

Oh, before we did anything.

Tim:       

Yeah.

Mark:    

Ok.

Tim:       

I go back to Guesno and I tell him, "We went there... Gardy was not there that we could see, but she sells kids." And Guesno instantly just, falls apart. He just starts crying. And he says, "She sold... She sold my son. She probably sold my son." And I said - again, this is in the movie - I tell him, "Yeah, but, but we can... This is how... This is our lead. We get her in the hot seat, we interrogate her, and make her tell us, 'What did you do with Gardy? Did you traffic Gardy, too?'" And you know, the key is getting her in the hot seat, because she's about to sell kids to us. So, Guesno's very encouraged, he's excited about this, and then he... And this tells you about Guesno, and he instantly turns and he says, "And you've gotta get those kids out. They're suffering. I know they're suffering," he said. Later on, he would tell me, he would say, you know, "If I never find Gardy, but Gardy's kidnapping is what brought you here and rescued these 28 kids who are for sale... That's a burden I'm willing to bear for the rest of my life."

And, that tells you a lot about who this... Who this guy is, and like I said, he sees a bigger plan. He still believes we'll find Gardy, and we believe that. We're operating under the belief that we will find him. But in the meantime, all the good that comes from this... And so much good has come from that looking for this little boy, not the least of which is the 28 kids that we were able to pull out of a trafficking situation.

Mark:    

So, we go in, do the deal, pull the kids out. You can see the whole thing in The Abolitionists, so we'll skip those parts and really go for the parts that aren't there that much. You get Yvrose in the hot seat, which is represented, finally. The Haitian authorities get her in the hot seat, and we're sitting in one room, she's in the next room over... She thinks that we're all arrested, at this point, because we all went down. Yvrose is sitting there getting interrogated... an interesting twist is that her daughter was visiting, who had lived in Brooklyn, correct?

Tim:       

She lived in, yeah, the United States.

Mark:    

She lived in the U.S., she was visiting, and when we went in to buy the children, we said, "Hey, you've got to come back to our hotel to do the deal." She goes, "Ok." She tells her daughter what's going on, daughter fully knows mom's selling kids and these Americans have a ton of cash...

Tim:       

And we approached the daughter, too, to make sure, because, we were kind of like, "Hey, don't come, don't come. Do you know what's going on?" And then she says, "I know exactly what's going on."

Mark:    

Yeah.

Tim:       

She's like, and I said to her, "Is this dangerous?" She's like, "Are you kidding me? This is totally illegal. We could go to jail for this."

Mark:    

Yeah.

Tim:      

I was like, "Alright, well, you're helping... You want to come, if you want to come on, and you know this... I'm trying to help you, sister, but you're in, so..."

Mark:    

And we're in the hotel room, this is the crazy thing, right? We're talking to Yvrose, and you ask, "Have you done this before? How... How would we get these kids out of the country?" She goes, "Oh, I did this before, not long ago... About five years ago," which is when...

Tim:       

Which is when Gardy was taken.

Mark:    

...when Gardy was taken. She said, "You're going to get on the boat... Who is this woman? Do you trust her?" She points at the woman who was kind of there as our...

Tim:       

She was an undercover police officer for Haiti, yeah.

Mark:    

She was undercover, that she was kind of, just, our helper. Our Haitian friend.

Tim:       

Yeah, we told Yvrose that this woman was the nanny that we hired to take care of the kids while we smuggle them out of the country.

Mark:    

And so, she goes, "Ok. Those kids are going to call her Mama." And she's try-

Tim:       

She knew exactly what she... She had done this before.

Mark:    

Yeah. So, and the sad thing is, so everyone hops into the van, we drive clear back to Port-au-Prince, up into this big, opulent hotel suite that we got for the occasion, to pull off the ruse, wired with cameras all over the place, and she calls the little kids in and goes, "Hey," um, she calls the kids and goes, "This is Mama.".

Tim:       

That's her name.

Mark:    

That's her name. Call her Mama...kids are like, "Mama, Mama..."

Tim:       

Good, good, good job! Yeah...

Mark:    

Yeah. And, um, that's how we were going to get them out of the country. She was orchestrating this whole deal soup to nuts... Full service.

Tim:       

Yeah, and she gave us several other tips and smuggling routes: how to get out, what to say, what to do. And she kept telling us, "Don't worry, I've done this before. But you can't get caught - we'll all go to jail - but here's what you gotta do."

Mark:    

And she's... So, you're slapping down. And this is something indelible in my head. I'm watching Tim slap down $20,000...thump, thump, thump... $100 at a time. As her eyes are getting bigger and bigger...

Tim:       

And she has no idea who we are.

Mark:    

No idea.

Tim:       

And she knows better. And I actually had a very...very educated person who came to me after seeing an early clip of this operation, and made this comment that just, like, blew my mind. This person said you know, um, "I don't see what the big... I don't really see a big deal. I mean, if I was down there, I might buy a kid just to get him out of hell too..." And I thought, "WHAT?! Are you... What are you talking about?! No, you wouldn't! Because then what are you going to do next? You're going to smuggle this kid into your country? You're going to have an illegal person... child... in your house? You're going to have to hide them their whole lives? They're totally illegal... Are you kidding me?" And, um, and...and, because he was almost trying to defend Yvrose. Like, "She's just trying to get them a better life!" BULLCRAP! She knows exactly... She knows that decent people do not buy children.

Mark:    

And getting them a better life... Take us, real quick, what happened the next day, when we saw footage from the inside of the orphanage. The stuff that we didn't see before, on the bust. Talk about their quality of life.

Tim:       

Oh wait, I want to finish what I was saying before you rudely cut me off, though.

Mark:    

Come on... I always do that. Arg!

Tim:       

You do that often. Um, [pause] this woman knew that the only people that would come to buy children... There's two million children in the sex... Forced into sex slavery. There is... That number is double or triple, over five million, close to six million or more, who, if you include the slave labor. This is a huge business. She knows what she's doing. People come to buy kids to put them into slavery. Sex slavery or slave labor, and they do not come to buy a kid so they can raise a kid and bring that kid into their family. That's not how it works. Decent people do it the right way, because they actually want to have a family that's legal and lawful and they raise this child in a good place, with laws and with order. The fact that she doesn't ask one question, only encourages us to buy, buy, buy, don't even think about adoption, buy, buy, buy... We could have been anybody. And she knew that. We could've been pedophiles, in the child pornography industry. We could have been owners of a plantation somewhere that needed kids to work. Usually it's a combination of both, frankly, if you buy someone you're going to use them for sexual exploitation and labor, and that's the bottom line. The evil runs deep here. And she knew it. There's no way that she didn't know it.

Mark:    

And... Where do you want to go?

Tim:       

So, so we end up, we end up busting them, thank goodness. They go to jail and the kids get liberated. The next day after the operation, we go back into the orphanage with the police and now we can really see everything, and this is what you see, is the kids had a steady diet of flour and water. That's all there was in the place.

Mark:    

With maggots.

Tim:       

With maggots... It was the most disgusting thing... The little children that we bought in the operation, the little siblings, the boy in the girl, Colé and Coline, they thought they were two and three years old. Turns out they were more like five and six years old, but they didn't know that until they got 'em into a place where they actually fed them food. It's amazing what food does. You know. It makes a big difference, in, in, in your...in your growth. In your general health. I mean, to think that kids could be identified as two years younger than they are simply because they don't eat...so, uh, so we were able to, uh, to get them out, and then during that operation, as you see in the movie, we go back, we get her in the hot seat and she's admitted that she stole the kids finally, to the police.

Mark:    

After like, two hours...she breaks down.

Tim:       

Yeah, after, after...she finally breaks and says yes. And again, we didn't need her confession... It helps the case, but we didn't need it, because it was all on video. It was very clear that she was selling the kids. She's lying, lying, lying for an hour or two, and then she finally admits it. And now, she's in such trouble, and that's when we come in with, "Ok, now where's Gardy?" And we know she knew who Gardy was, but she acted like she didn't know him. She was like, "I don't even know what you're talking about... I don't know that boy". And again, we know she's lying, because we know she knows that boy.

Mark:    

She went to church with that boy.

Tim:       

She went to church with him. She knew that boy. It was a big deal, she was snooping around during the investigation, but she's like, "I don't even know what you're talking about... I don't know that boy." At that point, she... We tried and tried and tried and tried, and she was done. She was already in such big trouble that she was not about to confess to one more crime. But we were trying to... The police were trying to leverage the daughter, saying, "We can make a deal with you... You want your daughter to get a light sentence, here? Do you want us to go easy on your daughter? Or do you wanna tell us where Gardy is?" And she just went cold. Just, wasn't about to do anything to harm herself any further, and so she shut her mouth and said "I'm done talking."

Mark:    

She sold her daughter down the river.

Tim:       

That's right. That's right.

Mark:    

Man... In... To... What's going on in the other side of this is you've got Guesno not knowing exactly what happened, except for... What's happening on the other side is Guesno is at home waiting and praying that [edit out background noise from Tim's mic here?]...[Tim clears throat] that Tim's going to come back with a confession about what happened to Gardy, and Yvros goes icy cold. It was one of the emotional lows of this story, is we go back to the hotel, Guesno comes to meet us, and Tim has to tell him... has to tell Guesno that we have nothing.

We go back to the restaurant, Guesno's on his way, you get to break to him the news that she gave us nothing.

Tim:       

Um-hmm.

Mark:    

So, we're sitting at this dinner table, everybody's dejected.

Tim:       

I wouldn't say we're dejected, we just rescued 28 kids.

Mark:    

We did, but there was...

Tim:       

It's bittersweet.

Mark:    

It's bittersweet. Thank you. That's a better word. Now take us to the conversation.

Tim:       

So Guesno comes in and he's hopeful that we're going to say, "We have a lead, we know where he is." And he's sitting there... But, again, back to Guesno, first and foremost, he was concerned about those kids. "Are they safe? Are they... What's going on? Is she selling them?" "Yes, yes, yes." He can't believe it. Even then, he can't believe it, even though he's the one who led us to that place. He's like, "Really? She actually... she actually admitted that she was selling kids?" It's like, "Yes, she did." And then I had to tell him, when we got to Gardy, she denied knowledge that he even existed. And instantly, and you see this in the movie, instantly, he just... His complete person just shuts down. Just, you just see a little... One more piece of his soul dies, yet again. And he just sinks. I just try to speak words of encouragement to him, you know, I'm like "We're still closer, we're still going to go back to the orphanage, we're going to look around, maybe some of the older kids recognize him... We'll show pictures of him..." And he's just...he is dejected at that point.

Mark:    

And, um, Guesno leaves. And this is a behind-the-scenes memory that I've got on one of my little cameras. For those that listened to the podcast, there are people, by now, by episode wherever-this-is, you understand that it's a God-fearing organization with faith. Not necessarily a religious organization, but one where faith plays a role. I remember, probably a 75-second speech that you gave that night, because it was bittersweet, and we were all sitting around the table and it's... The operators... Man, we've got Navy Seals we've got former CIA guys, we've got filmmakers, and you say... You say at that point, the gist of your speech was "If you have an impure soul, I don't want you here."

Tim:       

Ha! That's right.

Mark:    

Do you remember that?

Tim:       

I do remember that.

Mark:    

You said, "We've got to be pure, and stand with some confidence before God if we're ever going to bring this child home." Do you remember that speech?

Tim:       

I do.

Mark:    

It was incredibly telling about your approach to abolition of this great evil and probably reinforcement of the mission of this...what was now Operation Underground Railroad, at that point.

Tim:       

Yeah.

Mark:    

Um, and just kind of a cool sidelight that happened on that trip. So, take us from there. Continue on the Gardy-finding journey.

Tim:       

So, things kind of... We find no leads. No one's talking, no one claims to recognize Gardy, but no one talks. That's what I've learned about this. No one in Haiti talks. We went back to the church and interviewed every single person that was there that Sunday that Gardy was taken, and no one would talk. Guesno said that, like, a year later, even his closest congregation members finally came to him and said, "We did see Gardy taken by a motorcycle driver."

Mark:    

And that would be Carlos, possibly.

Tim:       

Yeah, Carlos was part of that. He-he- brought... He led Gardy over to the motorcycle. Gardy knew Carlos, and so he trusted him, and then handed him to the trafficker. A woman saw it happen... It took a year for her to admit, because they don't talk. They're scared of getting involved, because when you get involved in things like this, you get killed. So no one talks.

Mark:

And leads is shut down, completely shut down. The irony is, like, so bright... The sad irony. Here's Guesno saying, "If I lose my child to save these children, it's worth it." Which, for me as a dad, probably for you as a dad, I would give my life before I'd give my child's life. And I'm sure Guesno's even the same way. So for somebody, out of fear, to not report...to not risk their life to report this little boy getting stolen... Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And it's a super sad...

Tim:       

It's sad, because Guesno's willing to risk his life, not just for Gardy, but for those 28 kids, and all kids.

Mark:    

And risk his son's life.

Tim:       

Yes.

Mark:    

It's incredible.

Tim:       

There's actually some analogy here to New Testament doctrine.

Mark:    

Yeah, I think we're writing... I think this is like C.S. Lewis stuff, at this point...

Tim:       

Yeah, this is like Abraham, Isaac... Kind of...

Mark:    

Yeah.

Tim:       

Atonement of Christ, kind of...

Mark:    

It's amazing. What a test for this man. So, let's go on to the narrative, onto finding Gardy.

Tim:       

So, we get, we actually, through prayer and just seeking a miracle, we get one. Someone finally comes forward. More than one person, frankly, comes forward, and says we've seen Gardy. We've seen Gardy, he's in a slave labor camp, or slave labor area, and this is where we've seen him. We were able... There's a lot of things we can do, and we're trained operators, we know how to corroborate intel, even without finding Gardy in this area, if they told us enough things about the area, we can prove if they were there. We can prove that they saw something. They saw enough that we corroborated to know that this is a very trustworthy source of information. That's where we're at now.

Mark:    

And this is about six months later. That's the time that has passed. In the meantime, with the steam you built finding Gardy, because the 28 kids actually got some press. And with that press, came funding of more operations, and in that six month period, Operation Underground Railroad grows. You've busted dozens of more traffickers, saved dozens of more children in different countries, and increased awareness of the cause, just because you're looking for Gardy.

Tim:       

That's right. And...and-and this is ...back to Guesno. I'm willing to... "I'm willing to give up my son to rescue children." And he has rescued children, by doing what he did, by losing his son, and by encouraging the growth of Operation Underground Railroad. He has rescued many others. He is part of that.

Mark:    

Absolutely. So, intel... We head back to Haiti.

Tim:       

We go back to Haiti, and what happens is... we're in the middle of this right now, so it's all about infiltrating this certain region where... And what are we finding? More than 28 kids who are slave labor, and we're able to document them, where they are, what they're doing, how they're being treated. We're sending intel reports to our embassies on both sides of the border of Dominican Republic, which shares the island with Haiti. We're in the process of gathering a whole bunch of intelligence, and we're doing anything we need to do to legally infiltrate working with the Haitian national police.

Mark:    

And, a while back, we reported on a story, Operation Underground Railroad reported on a story about a mission to a small village in Haiti that for me was pretty freaky, I don't know about for you... Tell us... And this is when we went down, identified this place, you corroborated the information, we came up with a plan, we were going to go to this village that was seriously so remote that you could disappear and nobody would find us.

Tim:       

Absolutely.

Mark:    

Um. Tell us... Just give us a... Take us into some of that mission.

Tim:       

So, what we did was, we needed to find a reason to be there, legitimately, so we got some doctors, we actually partnered with a legitimate non-profit organization in Haiti that does medical clinics... They knew what we were doing, the Haitian police knew what we were doing... And we brought a clinic into this village. I don't believe Gardy is actually in this village, but this was a village that we could gather intel, because at this point, we're not just looking for Gardy. At this point, because of the intel we got, we're looking for kids who are being trafficked, because they're being trafficked all over the place, for sex, for labor, so we're just gathering intel. So what we did was set up a medical lab, real doctors, over 500 people show up and get treated. The doctors told us that they actually saved lives. These people... And some of them, they're not all bad, I mean, most of them are good family people, and families who have never seen a doctor, and so we're treating them, which in and of itself made the whole mission worth it, just to help these people out, medically, but the real reason for going was to get intel. Again, not just about Gardy, but all the kids, so we have all these kids start showing up and we start talking to them afterwards, as kind of their post-checkup interview, and we actually brought Guesno out... He didn't know that we had the intel, because I'm so tired of hurting this man, putting him on this roller-coaster, so we don't even want to tell him that we're looking for Gardy, that we have intel on Gardy unless we have to tell him. So his job is to do the post-interview stuff, because we're thinking, man, there's hundreds of kids coming through this clinic, if one of them is Gardy, he'll recognize him and we won't... In the meantime, we're talking to these kids and, "Who are your parents?" Like, "I don't have parents." "How were you brought here?" "I dunno, I was just always here." Well, yeah, because they were kidnapped just like Gardy was. "What do you do?" "Well, a truck picks us up, takes us over to the Dominican, and we cut sugar, or we pick avocados, and they bring us back." "Well, do they pay you?" I mean, these kids are 10 years old.

Mark:   

Yeah.

Tim:       

"Nope." "Uhhh... How do you eat?" "Well, we just get passed around from village to village, or from house to house, hut to hut, and hopefully they give us some food." Well, because the adults are on the take. They're the ones making the money, so they just round up ten kids, and they get paid whatever they get paid, whether it's in product or some kind of fee per head, and that's called slavery.

Mark:    

And, if I can paint a picture for just a sec, because I was there to photograph... We drove into the village at the crack of dawn. The sun was rising as we were getting to the overlook of this village, and when it finally rose, what we saw was South Carolina circa 1840. I mean, little shacks with naked children bathing in steel tubs outside, people hoeing in tiered gardens, digging up carrots and whatever... The occasional stray mule. But it was plantation-style.

Tim:       

Yeah, and the reason, even more to your point to this analogy of sl-... It's culturally accepted. These kids are called restaveks, and it's the same justifications that were used in the 19th century to tolerate slavery, are being used here. Oh, it's a better life for them. Yeah, we own 'em, yeah, but at least we're feeding 'em...you know, it's better than they could expect anywhere else...

Mark:    

And it's a class, right?

Tim:       

What do you mean?

Mark:    

There's two classes of kids that we saw.

Tim:       

Oh, absolutely. You walk into a village, you know which ones are the slave kids. Which ones are the restavek kids, and which ones are, you know...they're totally... You're dressed differently, they're sad, their countenances are different, and we have... We're getting intel all the time, right now, and I can't... There's other tactics we're using that I can't reveal right now because I think we're getting closer to Gardy and other rescues in this area...

Mark:    

Thousands of rescues in this area.

Tim:       

Thousands... And we need the Haitians on board, though, before, before we can, um, do anything. It's a very sensitive situation, because we're fighting a culture. Even though it's against the law in Haiti to enslave people, it's still a cultural situation that's very, very difficult. They've never had the resources to do anything about it anyway, so they never...they don't think about doing anything about it. But here we are, coming in and putting the ideas in their head, "How are we going to do this? How are we gonna...How are we..." Again, Gardy becomes the hook, right?... Gardy keeps us there, because we want to find him, but we can't help but help these other kids when we find them, too. It's going to take some time. Right now, all we can do is gather the intelligence, give it to our embassies, give it to our government partners, and slowly devise a plan. There is no question about it, this is... slavery is alive and well in Haiti, and it involves children...it involves you know, we see the kids, the girls are taken into Dominican or other places and forced into sex trafficking; the boys, some of them get pushed into sex trafficking, a lot of them, most of them, become slave labor victims. That's what we're up against, and we're in it. That's where we are right now. There's a, um...At one point during that medical clinic, we recognized that we needed to tell Guesno, because he needed really to be looking for Gardy, and it was a hard decision, and it's probably the most emotional scene... It's in one of the episodes. The Abolitionists crew actually caught it. We took him into our car, and said, "Guesno..." because he kept asking me, I thought you guys were a rescue organization, I didn't know you were a medical group...

Mark:    

But he was totally there helping kids get healthy.

Tim:       

He was only there to help.

Mark:    

Was not thinking about Gardy.

Tim:       

Mm-mmm. Wasn't even thinking about it. And he kept saying, he kept telling me, "Why are you guys doing this?" I'm like, "Ah, you know, we like to help any way we can." He's like, "Oh." Well, I finally get him in the car, and say "Guesno, I've got to come clean with you. We're here because we have intelligence." And I gave it to him... It's off the camera, because we can't reveal our sources, but, and I said, "We have helicopters on standby, over on the Dominican side... These cops are here, there's undercover cops here that are carrying guns... We are all here because we think Gardy's here and we're here to rescue him." And the spirit that filled that car...and-and-and-and-and-and-and instantly, Guesno, just... just a flood of tears. But they weren't, they were, there actually, it was, it was emotional, not bad, I mean, it was actually...he said, "I have never felt so much hope, since Gardy's been taken. I've never felt so much hope that I feel right now." And he told me that, before that had happened, he had a spiritual manifestation he didn't tell us about. He believed he saw this little boy that was Gardy's age... It wasn't Gardy, but seeing that boy... He said something whispered to him, "Gardy's here. Gardy's here." And so when he heard me say that, it was like full corroboration about why we were actually there, and it was a flood of emotion. When that episode comes out someday, people will see this scene. And then, as we drove out, you remember, you were there, you actually took a Pulitzer-Prize-winning photo...

Mark:    

One of the best photos of my career...

Tim:       

Of Guesno... A tear-filled Guesno, as he's turning around talking to the police officer, who's pledging life and limb to never rest until we'll go back to that place and pull Gardy out. Find him, and pull him out.

Mark:    

Ok, now, why were we leaving the village, and under what circumstances were we leaving the village?

Tim:       

We left the village because... After we had serviced, medically, most of the people, the traffickers, who also were getting medical attention, they decided that now is the time to take advantage of us. They got what they needed out of us, now, let's steal their car. Let's kill a couple of them. And this mob mentality started to evolve, and we were surrounded by this group with machetes.

Mark:    

3-400 people...

Tim:       

At least... a lot of them with machetes, shotguns, and they were not going to let this go. And the village Elders kind of had a council, as you recall, and they came back and they said, "Look, we think you're great. We think you're innocent, but we can't control this mob, so good luck." And we just prayed our way through that one. I mean, we just prayed, and prayed, and prayed until finally, five gunmen turned to three, turned to two... blocking the road, and then we just went for it, and luckily they... Luckily they didn't fire, because... And we just got out of there, and... We've since been back, with different faces, under a different situation. So, we're back, we're there, they just don't know it's us.

Mark:    

So, as we are leaving, Jean-Paul, who is the cop, who is just a wild, ferocious cop gets famous in Port-au-Prince for taking down big criminals and being so aggressive, but he ends up being this tender-hearted guy who puts his hand on Guesno's shoulder, and just... We could all understand him even though we don't speak Creole.

Tim:       

That's right.

Mark:    

And, you know, Guesno was a little bit dejected because he's just got driven out by gunpoint from the place where he believed his son was. He now sees the babysitters of his children, and he was a little dejected. We all were a little dejected, and that's when Jean-Paul does what you're saying, hand on shoulder... Guesno turns around, like, tears in his eyes, Jean-Paul's just yelling, "We will find your son! We will find your son!". And, uh...Incredible.

Tim:       

And Guesno says at that point, once again, he says, "I have never been so full of hope."

Mark:    

And, it was Haitian?

Tim:       

It was the best day of his life, he told me, "This is one of the best days of my life, because Gardy's here. He's alive. We're going to find him."

Mark:    

And he was being told by a Haitian that he would find his son...

Tim:       

Right, and he didn't hear that very often.

Mark:    

And once again, you've started a fire in a country where the people are now taking over. Do you want to pause?

55:27 Tim:        Yeah, I gotta go. 55:28 Mark:     Oh, crap, we're leaving? All right. 55:29 Tim:        I gotta go. 55:30 Mark:     Part 2, coming up, next time on Slave Stealer. [move this to end, or delete?]   0:02 Mark:       Alright. Um, Tim was just literally dragged out of the room by um, by our team, and I, uh, know that we are leaving you here with possibly the worst podcast ending of all time...as we're driving out of the village, and, um, emptyhanded, without Gardy. As it stands, there are searches going on, intel being gathered in the area that is unprecedented, and our guys are discovering things and getting access that has never been gotten before. And so, um, we're going to leave Gardy and this story right here at the cliffhanger moment, and I think it's sufficient to say that the search for Gardy has indirectly, and in some cases directly, yielded over, um, 500 children pulled out of slavery over the last two years. 200 traffickers around the world, put behind bars... Um, and that continues. And I can speak for Tim, that he will not rest... He's already given so much to that promise to find Gardy that... That it'll continue and grow exponentially. And so, for Tim, who's now on his way to downtown Boston for an important meeting, I'm Marc Mabry, this is the Slave Stealer Podcast.

May 27, 2016

  Mark Mabry talks to Mark Stott, an O.U.R. veteran, about the miraculous meetings that made the production of "The Abolitionists" possible. Because of the financial contributions of two very important donors, O.U.R. created and promoted the film without dipping into any of its regular donations reserved for funding rescue missions. They also discuss the importance of talking about trafficking and other sexual abuse in our society, as well as with children at an appropriate age.  


  Mark M.:   

Hello, and welcome to the Slave Stealer Podcast; I'm Mark Mabry. Tim Ballard is standing by, and with me right now we have Mark Stott who was with O.U.R. from the very beginning, served as a board member, served as an advisor, a sounding board to Tim, getting it going, and now, is working as an executive with "The Abolitionists" to get that movie out there.  

There were so many interesting...we'll call them miracle stories. We're not scared of miracles on Slave Stealer Podcast because ending this is what it's going to take, is a miracle. But we've got awesome stories in bringing about this movie, "The Abolitionists," - even more awesome stories bringing about O.U.R. in general - but I want to talk about him because there needs to be a bit of recognition and a feeling of the inertia and momentum.

And so, Mark, if you would start us out, with addressing the problem. The problem was we had an idea to push this thing further via a movie - or Tim was approached with that - but we didn't have any money. So, take it from there.

Mark S.:     

Yeah. Yeah. Back in 2013, the summer of 2013, we met Gerry… We were introduced to Gerry Molen, and uh...

Mark M.:   

Gerry Molen.

Mark S.:     

...the producer of Schindler's List and Jurassic Park. And he sat down with us and said, "You guys can go save kids one by one, but if you really want to make a movement, you need to make a movie. And if you'll do that, it will motivate and change the hearts and minds of people across America. To get really behind this." Any great anti-slavery movement had the people behind them. And so, with that in mind, we always knew we should create a movie. That has had, along the way, some really interesting side effects that we didn't know would happen.                            

The first initial problem was we had no money. Funding a movie is not cheap. You have to fund the individuals to video it, take the time to edit the movie... So, once O.U.R. was funded, we thought, "Ok, what do we need to do?"

One night, Tim got a phone call from an individual he had not met, and said, "I'd like to meet you. I heard about you on the radio, and I heard you want to do a movie. I'd be interested in possibly funding it." So Tim called me up and said, "Mark, let's go," and it was 10:00 at night, and we needed to meet this individual at a hotel, which seemed rather suspicious and strange, frankly…

Mark M.:   

But not the most suspicious or strange meeting you've ever had in this business.

Mark S.:     

You're right.

Mark S.:     

Multiple times, we've met people in hotel rooms. So, we went with Chet and Fletch, myself and Tim, and met this individual. It was a rather strange moment: there's five guys sharing the story of what we plan to do and the challenge of saving millions of children. We're crying. Five guys crying in a room. And once we shared this story, this terrific individual decided to fund the movie. And it was a significant amount of money.

Mark M.:   

We're talking in the millions.

Mark S.:     

Yeah. Yeah. And so, we - Chet and Fletch and I - walk down the hall; Tim continued to speak with him. We were standing in the elevator... And Chet and Fletch have tried to raise funds for movies before, and I looked at them and said, "Has it ever happened that way before?" They started laughing and said, "Never." In the meantime, Tim is hugging the funder and he comes walking down the hall - and coming from the government, he had no experience in raising money like this - and he came and asked the same question, said, "Does this ever happen?" And we said, "Never." That was the first…one of the first significant moments we knew this was important - that frankly, God had placed this individual in our path and he offered to make this movie possible.

The significant... There were other miracles as we keep going here. What we didn't realize - even though it was part of the plan - but we didn't realize how significant the footage would be in saving these children.

Mark M.:   

Yes, why?

Mark S.:     

Well, most of the time, when children like this are saved by police authorities, they are asked to testify and they - particularly in foreign countries - often the predators will go and begin to threaten their families. And the kids will never go take the stand. One is it's too embarrassing, but particularly if they get threats, they won't do it, and these people get off for free. And so what's happened is when all of this video is taken and these films are taken, it's taken from the beginning of the deal to the closing of the deal. All of that is used as evidence and turned over to the authorities. When a jury sees these videos, they don't need the children to testify. So, the over 500 children that have now been saved... Not one of them have had to stand to testify against their abusers.

Mark M.:   

Because of the work of "The Abolitionists."

Mark S.:     

Because of the work of "The Abolitionists" movie.

Mark M.:   

So it's so much more than a film because it…as you were saying, it was the thing that got these kids off the hook from having to testify. It was the thing that locked shut tight all these cases.

Mark S.:     

Yeah, it's used as significant evidence. It's absolutely, 100%, solid evidence.

Mark M.:   

And it's going to be... And we've seen it turned the tide of battle and change minds and hearts and introduce this horrific problem in a way that's just about palatable.

Mark S.:     

Yes. That's one of the great things that, what I also think the genius of the directors. They've been involved in this, they have been there. They are as close to all these people, as close as the team from O.U.R. is, because they have cameras and they're up close and personal. But because of that experience, I believe they did such a great job on the movie because... I've had some mothers say, "You're talking about a terrible topic, but you've done it in such a respectful way, particularly of the children, that rather than leaving feeling dark and ugly about the topic, I felt motivated to help."

So, my hat's off to the directors who put this together; they did it in such a way that we didn't have to get into the real, real ugly, because that's easily imagined. We don't need to see it.

Mark M.:   

Disclaimer, though. It's definitely not a Disney flick.

Mark S.:     

It's definitely not a Disney flick.

Mark M.:   

Don't bring your kids right off the bat. See it first.

Mark S.:            

Right. Right. Right.  I've had my 10-year-old son see it, my 13-year-old daughter see it.

Mark M.:   

Wow.

Mark S.:          

They liked the show. They like it. We had a couple kids the other night that the mothers said, "I want my sons to grow up with a purpose in life, and I want them to be the kind of people that these men are." And so she had them watch it.

Mark M.:   

Wow.

Mark S.:     

We asked them how they liked it, and there's enough cops and exciting things going on that the boys liked it. So, it was interesting, but certainly, parental guidance is suggested. You need to have your...

Mark M.:   

Strong.

Mark S.:     

Yeah.

Mark M.:   

Parental preview, even, maybe.

Mark S.:     

There you go. Yeah.

Mark M.:   

I agree. Because I've been wondering: do I take my 11-year-old, turning 12, son? You may have just helped me with the decision. There was another miracle: so, movie made, evidence secured, and it's expensive - I mean, there's tons of equipment, like little hidden spy gear. There is finding filmmakers gutsy enough to get arrested in third-world countries over and over and over...

Mark S.:     

That's right.

Mark M.:   

And a lot of travel. Tons of editing, I mean... You're shooting these things from 12 different angles...

Mark S.:     

Sometimes up to 25 cameras in one room, yeah.

Mark M.:   

Yes! It's insane! And so, someone has to sift through this footage, and that's not cheap. So that's... A film budget can be gobbled up very quickly.

Mark S.:     

Yeah.

Mark M.:   

As this was. And I think, man...talk about holy dollars in terms of the film world, because it was evidence.

Mark S.:          

That's right.

Mark M.:          

But we ran out of money and how do you promote the film? Enter guy number two, miracle number two...

Mark S.:  

That's right. Yeah, Tim called me about five months ago and said, "Mark, you know, Gerry Molen had this vision of what this would do... The movie is now shot; it's done, it's been edited, it's ready to go, but we're down to nothing." And again, this was privately funded so it didn't take from donor dollars because we felt it was very sacred if people donated to...

Mark M.:

Very important point.

Mark S.:  

...if people needed to donate to O.U.R., that money was set aside to make sure we're saving children. So the movie was privately funded so it was very clear that it was for the movie. So we sat here and Tim called me up and said, "Mark, we need some funds to promote this and get this across the world, and across the United States particularly." So we, again... The second miracle, financially, is we were on a plane - and we have a friend of ours that does pretty well. We told him of the problem, and he basically said, "If you'll gather a team of individuals to promote this and present a plan to me, I feel it's important enough that, frankly, if I don't get my money back, if we can show the world what's going on, I'll give you the money." And again, it was over...it was a seven figure number to promote the movie, and he handed them over full well knowing he may or may not ever get that back.

Mark M.:

And the promotion of this film... To make the film was one thing. Promoting it is so important because that was the point of the thing, is to get the word out in a way that people could understand it.

Mark S.:  

Yeah.

Mark M.:

And wrap their hearts around it.

Mark S.:  

Yeah. And we've seen significant... As we've shown previews, as we've done pre-screenings and had audiences come in... One is the motivation to get involved, and all of a sudden there's people that are a little nervous to come, particularly mothers, and we've seen that with the audience. And after we've encouraged them to come - because, again, it's a heavy topic - but we've seen people come in the door and once they're done, we always ask them at the end, "Are you now an abolitionist? Are you willing to join this fight with us?"

Audiences of hundreds of people now have raised their hand and are joining the fight because of this movie. They now see the problem. They realize there is a solution. They realize that when people join together that we can solve these significant problems. People are raising their hand, they're getting involved, they are doing different actions, they are donating, they're gathering their friends and families to come to this movie. And it's really amazing to see what's happening to people. They feel like they have a purpose.

Mark M.:

And of course the end goal is "save kids": save two million kids.

Mark S.:  

That's right.

Mark M.:

And our highest and holiest is that people walk away and say, what can I do? Well, at the very least, and probably the very most important, is to become an abolitionist in the donation sense. And I can plug the donation thing easily without Tim on the mic. If you go to Operation Underground Railroad's website, ourrescue.org, it says, "Become an Abolitionist." There are high school and junior high kids that donate five bucks a month. There are adults - five bucks a month. There are amazing people that send $1000 a month. Whatever.

Mark S.:  

Yeah.

Mark M.:

But there's a price tag on every single kid's head. There are economics to the rescue, and it's... Depending on how many kids you get, or how many bad guys you get, it always takes money.

Mark S.:  

That's right.

Mark M.:

Because you've got to find the best law enforcement people to come on board full time, leave their comfy job, often being paid less when they come here - most of the time being paid less with worse benefits - but the benefit is that they are kicking butt in a really fast way.

Mark S.:  

And making a difference.

Mark M.:

And making a difference.  

Mark S.:  

The amazing thing... As this movie is going out, we're getting more and more demand for O.U.R.'s help. We've had multiple countries now opening their doors and inviting us, whereas before we were asking to go in. They are now pulling us in. We have, probably, over five to ten countries now that have basically said, "Come and do what you need to do." We have state attorneys, district attorneys, asking us to come into their districts, and that takes resources. But the team is very effective in their training. It's really quite amazing.

The other...and I'll mention one more thing that's been miraculous, is that, as people come and watch the movie, multiple times we've had individuals that have never shared their story of abuse and they share it with us. It's interesting because this movie has made it an acceptable thing to talk about and has given courage to people that have been abused, and now we've started, actually, several investigations as well of people that have seen this, realized they weren't the only ones, and they said, "I'm no longer hiding what happened to me in the past, and I want people to be held accountable for what he did to me or to somebody that I love." And that's a fantastic thing happening that people no longer... This is not acceptable behavior any longer. This is not something we need to hide. It's something we need to stand up and fight against.

Mark M.:

Fantastic. Mark Stott, thank you very much. I'm Mark Mabry for Slave Stealer - I'll see you next time.

May 18, 2016

In this episode of Slave Stealer, Tim Ballard and Mark Mabry talk about the first trip to Colombia that did not go according to plan. Despite this setback, which is portrayed in "The Abolitionists" - coming to theaters Monday May 16th - the team goes back to rescue those kids...and saves even more of them. Tim also explains how the film addresses the misconceptions that people might have about the legality of O.U.R's operations, and he also discredits false claims that others in the anti-trafficking community have made about the organization.  


  Tim:

Welcome, welcome, one and all, to Slave Stealer Podcast. This is Tim Ballard here with Mark Mabry.

Mark:        

And today is a special day. We are ramping up for the release of "The Abolitionists." "The Abolitionists" is a documentary film executive produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Gerald Molen who did things like "Jurassic Park," "Minority Report," "Rainman" and "Schindler's List." He teamed up with FletChet Entertainment, Chet and Fletch, who are brilliant producers who have given themselves to this thing. And they said, "Tim, we heard your story. We want to follow you." He said, "That's great... I can't have a camera crew following me around." They said, "Nobody will notice we're doing it," and that has been the case. So, that movie is coming out May 16th in over 600 theaters across the nation, and we're super pumped because that will exponentially increase the amount of people who give a damn about child trafficking. And that is what we want.

Now, what I wanted to ask Tim about today - we'll get more into the movie later - but what I wanted to talk about is the first mission because this thing, it starts out and you're craving this moment of joy right off the bat. And we run into a failed mission and I want to know more about the failed mission, some back story for people that go see the documentary and they're like, "Ok, that was painful." Talk to me about Operation Genesis and why it's relevant to your success today.

Tim:          

Yeah, it's... You know there's...it's an important story. It's an important story. It's our first operation. It's really the first time we're going in, and there's a lot of pressure on us, right? I mean, people have donated money believing that we can actually rescue kids. Now that's a lot of pressure. Now that we've rescued hundreds and hundreds of kids - possibly thousands if you consider the fact that we have close to 200 people in jail because of our operations - it's easy. We can take a breath and say, "See? We're doing it.  Help us." But in the beginning, right, it's stressful. And we only have enough money as an organization to do a couple of ops. These operations have to be successful or we're done. We're out of business. We're not going to get another chance.

So, we go in there, we do everything by the book. We sit down... And this highlights an issue. Our government's ready to rescue kids. Five years ago, Operation Underground Railroad, I don't believe, would even work because the governments that we're working in weren't ready to rescue kids. They didn't have laws in place. And I truly do credit the Trafficking in Persons report for pressuring governments to create legislation to combat this problem.

Mark:        

That was George W. Bush, correct?

Tim:          

George W. Bush signed it and Congress created it...and the U.N. and other organizations bringing it to light as well, making it an issue. And countries have just recently - really in the last couple of years - created the proper legislation.                          

So here we are in Colombia, testing their laws for the first time. They made the laws, but now it's like, how do you enforce it? So they're nervous. They're nervous and they invited us down. They set the date and here we go. We find the bad guys, we engage the bad guys, they show us the kids, we meet them on the beaches of Cartagena. We've got five, at least five, bad guys. We've got over 20 kids, we've seen their pictures, we've seen them. Everything is ready to go. Everything we're doing is by the book and we're letting the prosecutors, the Justice Department, tell us, "Do this, do that, do this, do that."

We're all set up and ready to go. I have one final meet at about noon at a convenience store. This female trafficker brings these two little girls, an 11-year-old and a 10-year-old, and shows them to me, like, "They're going to come to the party and they're going to do X, Y, and Z..." She got real graphic. I'm like, "Perfect." I remember thinking... I remember looking at the little girl and, like, hoping I could send like an ESP-type message to her, you know, like, "I'm a good guy, I'm a good guy. When you see me again, it's going to be over." And I was... It hurt me to have to send her back for just a couple of hours.

Mark:        

Because who knows what happens...

Tim:          

Because in a couple of hours, we're going to rescue her. But just those couple of hours were killing me. Like, but just in two hours, it's going to be done. She won't be sold in those two hours, so we'll get her back. A lot of tension, a lot of anxiety, and a lot of excitement: rescue these two little kids.

Mark:        

And this is... You're a brand new charity at this point.

Tim:          

Brand new. It's our first operation.

Mark:        

A lot riding on this one.

Tim:       

Oh yeah. So we go back to the house, set everything up. The traffickers are delivering the kids, they're on their way. And we get a call from the justice - from the prosecutor's office - saying we're not going to take...we're not going to sign the warrants to sign off on the operation.  

And we're just like, "WHAT?!" You see in the movie. There's a scene in the movie that people who know me well know that I'm absolutely...this is me falling apart when the phone call comes in. If you watch carefully, you can see my corroded artery and you can see my breath increase and I get dizzy, and it's not an act. Like, my wife said, "You're not acting - that's you." I'm like, "Oh yeah, I was going through hell in that moment." I'm yelling at this agent, the Colombian agent. I'm saying, "What about these kids?!  You can't turn them in, back into the streets. What are you doing?!"  

And they never gave me a reason why they didn't sign off on it, you know, because we did what they told us to do. We didn't come too early, we didn't come too late. We reported every hour, every day, what we were doing. And everything was good, but at the end of the day, they were nervous. Something that they had done, or maybe they had misread something... And they never told us what it was, but they weren't ready for whatever reason. And we had to tell the traffickers... We had to make up a story like, "Hey, listen, the cops came because we were playing the music too loud and now we're scared because they saw us here. We can't possibly bring kids here because what if they're looking at us" or whatever. So we told them, "We'll come back another time - we'll call you."  

It was just absolutely devastating. If you watch the film, you see, we fix the problems. We come back a few weeks later, we rescue all those kids and we actually get to rescue more kids because we had more time to dig and stuff. So it ends really really good, and really intense moments that you see in the movie, but what was interesting...and I'm glad they show this failure. It's important because it shows something about us. It took a history professor to tell me. He said, he said he watched the movie, this history professor at Brigham Young University...

Mark:         

Matt Mason. Great professor.

Tim:          

...Matt Mason. And he said, "I loved the movie." And he said, "You know, my favorite part was that failed operation." I was like, "What? That was, like, the worst part." He's like, "No, that was the best part of the operation because what that did was it shows everybody that you guys are a legal organization that works legally." And he made all these analogies back to the original Underground Railroad and the abolition - the case of abolitionism - the different cases and the different attempted rescue operations where they would work outside the law, and that stirred up a lot of controversy. But it shows that we work within the law.

Mark:        

So, run that through for me. Let's say Colombia says, "No, you can't go get the girls." You go anyway. You make the bust.

Tim:          

We got a lot of people who told us we should have done that.

Mark:         

What would've happened?

Tim:            

Well, you don't know what would have happened. There's been cases where people successfully pulled it off, like one of our informants, Batman, says in that moment: "This is why I operate black," because he used to do that in Mexico. He would go in and buy the girls without working for the police, take them, throw them in a van, kidnap them from the kidnappers, and take them to a shelter.

Mark:          

Doesn't that just create a vacuum, though? If you can't take out the bad guy, you're just putting five more girls at risk.

Tim:            

Totally. Totally. Because all that does is that trafficker's going to go pick up another girl, right? And then you don't have the government supporting it. You need that for the rehabilitation and for the prosecution and, frankly, for the credibility.

So what it does is they'll find out about it and then we're done working in that country, and we lose credibility as an organization. We need to follow the laws. The whole point of saving these kids is not just to save these kids, but to teach the governments how to save the kids after we're gone. We've got to stay with them, be patient, let them figure it out so when we do it again, it's successful.

Mark:           

I have been waiting for this moment because, in my three years of working with you now at this point almost, since Operation Voodoo Doll, there's only a couple times where I've seen you completely rattled. But there's one thing that has rattled you more than anything I've ever seen, and it was...over the course of months, this was under your skin. And that was the editorial written in the Huffington Post. They called you a vigilante. They called you all sorts of things. I don't even know if we name her in this thing - you can if you like - but does this part in the film, a little bit, answer that question of whether or not you're a vigilante?

Tim:            

Oh, absolutely. One hundred percent. Someday we can talk about the trafficking philosophers.

Mark:          

Well, we can go there for a second right now.

Tim:              

Those who sit back, those who sit back outside of the trenches and write books and articles with very little understanding of what's going on on the ground. This woman, this scholar - whatever she is - we had emails back and forth between Matt Osbourne and her. And it so clearly revealed how ignorant she was to what is happening on the ground. I mean, just incredible, like...you're the expert people are going to? I hope not too many people are going to you because you don't understand what's going on on the ground. You know, you might understand laws and that's wonderful, but my guys are in the trenches and these kids are being rescued legally, lawfully: people are going to jail. This is an example of how ludicrous her argument was.  

And we hear from other people too: "Oh, you can't work in Colombia because they're all corrupt. They're all corrupt there. CTI has been known for corruption. There's been corruption in those agencies so you shouldn't work with them." Wait, wait, wait, what?Name me an agency where there hasn't been corruption: FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, you name it. Every single one of those have had their Aldrich Ames or their different people who've been arrested and imprisoned for corruption.

The problem is, they don't seem to focus on the victims. There's victims that are being controlled and sold. We can rescue them, legally, lawfully - put their captors in jail.

Mark:            

And quickly. And effectively.

Tim:              

That's right. It's almost like they would rather not... I'm not speaking for them - I can't, I don't know what's in their minds - but it's almost like they'd rather them not be rescued because then they can sit back and continue to philosophize over...

Mark:            

And get paid to speak about the problem.

Tim:              

Right, it's like... It reminds me of, in "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis, where the philosophers didn't want to go to heaven because if they went to heaven and found out the truth, then no one would need them to philosophize about whether there is a heaven or a hell or where you go and what's... And that's the world they seem to live in. When people are actually doing something about the problem, they create arguments that are not true. Everything they said about us was absolutely false.

Mark:            

Are you able to share some of it? I mean, they published it so... What bothered you the most? What one line in that crappy editorial...?

Tim:              

Um, I think the way it was ended. It said something like, "The organization, like its founder, is illegal, immoral and arrogant." I was just like... What was interesting was...you know, immoral? How about trying to block a child from being rescued from slavery? That seems pretty immoral. Illegal? I think libel and slander is illegal. I think it's illegal to lie about people, ok? Arrogant? After we read the article, we reached out immediately to the author and said, "Let's get on a phone call so we can talk." She responded - to her credit, at least she responded - and said, "I won't get on a phone call with you." "We will pay you. We will buy your tickets, plane tickets, and you can bring anyone of your choice to our offices, and we'll open up our case files and show you how we operate." She refused that flatly. And they continued with their attacks. Arrogant? Who is arrogant? "I refuse to even look at the truth; I don't want to look at it because I want to be right."  

And at the end of the day, there's kids on the other side of this thing. There's kids who are enslaved and their only hope...and there's kids right now - I can think of some right now. There is a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old girl right now (in a country that I'm not going to disclose right now) that my guys intervened. They were selling these kids into the United States to be sold as prostitutes, to be sold as sex slaves. I know this girl's name; I've seen pictures of her; we're going to go rescue her soon. We're going to buy  her, and then liberate her, ok?

That little girl's only hope of survival and liberty is Operation Underground Railroad. These people, like this author, would, if they could, turn a switch. They'd turn us off, ok? And based on what? Based on what? That we're a vigilante group that's illegal? How are we illegal when we are signed up as informants or deputized by these agencies that we work for? It's funny, any law enforcement agency...if you talk to the best cops, the best agents, and ask them, "How do you become a great agent?", they'll tell you their top one or two things will be get great informants.

Mark:            

Yep.

Tim:              

You have great informants. That's how you make cases.

Mark:          

And you are an informant.

Tim:            

We're an informant. What's an informant? An informant is someone who has the ability to access information, access bad guys, access crime in a way the police can't. And so they hire the informant. Operation Underground Railroad: we're just superstar informants. We know how to access the bad guys, whether it's going on the dark net with the software we built, whether it's going physically into these places - onto those beaches, onto those street corners. We know how to get there, we know where to go, we know what to ask. We are your super-informants, and we don't charge you anything. And we don't have criminal records because all my guys have background checks. And I've worked with most of them for over a decade, right? So we are super informants.

And yet, instead of calling us informants or deputized operators, legally and lawfully working for and by invitation of these government jurisdictions, you're going to call me a vigilante? At the cost of what? Hurting me and hurting our efforts to rescue these kids? That 10-year-old girl, that 12-year-old girl that are waiting to be rescued? You want to do that? You want to be that trafficking philosopher that does that? Shame on you. Shame on you for someone who claims you're in there for the cause.

Now, are there organizations out there that rightfully could be accused of vigilantism? Absolutely. Have these authors, writers, scholars seen those groups? Probably, almost certainly. Well, be careful, because not every group operates that way and this woman knew nothing about us. Nothing at all. And yet she wrote this scathing, scathing report full of lies. And then when she was called on it and we proved her wrong again and again... And someday I might release the emails. I don't know if I will or not, but...because sometimes it's better to just to let sleeping dogs sleep, right?

Mark:           

And the article had no comments and probably no traffic, but the one eyeball it did get was yours, and it put a burr under your saddle pretty good.

Tim:            

Yeah, well it...

Mark:           

As we've heard for the last five minutes.

Tim:             

It's sick and grotesque is what it is.

Mark:           

And I think she is going to see the movie - probably, she's gonna write again. What's she going to write?

Tim:              

I don't know. I don't know how humble she is.

Mark:           

Yeah.

Tim:              

If she cares about truth and cares about kids, she would have taken a phone call with us and let us explain it. But instead, every time she took the opposite approach. She even went so far as to accuse us... So, there is a piece in the film that was released by ABC News - Nightline - because they shared footage with "The Abolitionists," but they were there on the ground during this particular operation where the trafficker Marco is selling kids. And she accused us - this is after we engaged her - she emailed us and she said, "I think that's false footage.  I don't think that's a real trafficker."

Mark:            

Dude was an actor.

Tim:            

Yeah, well, that was the implication. Because she said, "Because a trafficker would never use the word 'minor'." During the movie, you'll see, he says, "I got nine minors I'm going to sell you," ok? So he must be a false trafficker. He's false, it's false. It's false footage.

Mark:            

Because she's spoken to a lot of traffickers on the ground...

Tim:              

Apparently she knows what every one of them will say. Two million kids being controlled by how many millions of traffickers. She knows each and every one of them and how they operate. Well, here's the truth. So we had to go back and say, "Interesting. The footage you're referring to is ABC Nightline... Have you heard of them? They've been around for a while. They were on the ground with us. Are you telling me that they created this footage? Is that what you're suggesting, Madam Scholar?" And second of all, we sent her the date of birth and the criminal record as appears on all open source - like Intelius and these other search engines, you know, that you pay for background checks and so forth - and said, "Look at his photos, look at his mug shots. It's the same dude. Here's his name, here's his criminal record..." Bop, bop, bop, bop, everything.

And then we explained to her, the reason he said minor was because before that he would refer to the minor children he was selling as chickens. He uses a code name, a code word. Because her accusation was that a trafficker would never use that word - they would use other words, code words, whatever. They would never say 'minors' and incriminate themselves like that. Well, he was starting to be smart by calling the kids chickens. And the prosecutor said, "Look I don't want the chicken defense where he says chickens are 20-year-olds, right? You gotta get him to say 'kid', 'minor', something." So, if you watch the movie, Batman's talking to the guy, and he said, "How many..." - he took the chance and it paid off - he says, "How many minors do you have?" That was intentional! It was a gamble because he might have been like, "Why are you using that word?" But he caught him in  a moment, and you see, Mark, he was like, "Serious minors? I got *boop* ten" (or whatever he says). Boom! Nailed him!

What it shows is how closely we're working with the prosecutors: how much they care about the case, how legal it is, how concerned about rules of evidence, entrapment, that they wanted to make sure that there's no question that in this man's heart he knows he is selling children for sex.

Mark:          

I was on an op with you recently where the D.A. was hiding in the closet, listening and watching the whole thing go down. She's become an expert witness.

Tim:              

That's right.

Mark:          

That's incredible - you're doing it right. Um, I think that that failure... When people see it in the movie, it's going to break their heart, but what it is doing is solidifying your position - Operation Underground Railroad's position - as a force, a legal force, and a template for anyone that wants to go and do this.

Tim:            

That's right. It lays an example. This is so important that you do this legally and lawfully, that you get yourself signed up as an informant. The other accusation is that, "Oh, we work with corrupt law enforcement." Well, the law enforcement officers we work with, including in the Colombian case and all the other cases we worked with, were agents and prosecutors who were referred to us by the U.S. embassy who has been on the ground. Usually, it's their vetted units: agents who have been vetted, background-checked, polygraphed by U.S. entities. And they say...they've passed them off as trustworthy partners. If you can't work with them to save kids, then there's no hope to save kids.

If this author, scholar, whatever her… You know, if she wants to sit back and say, "You shouldn't work with this agency because...", then you're just saying, "Kids, there's no hope. Enjoy your life of being raped for money." That's what you're saying to them. If I can't work with a vetted unit, the best that that country has to offer... I'm going to work with them, and you know what? These agents, the very ones that she accused of being corrupt? We cried together. We wept together. And we called and told them: "Hey, I want you to know, this woman who claims to be a scholar - the world leading expert on trafficking - she just called you all corrupt. You should know that." They were irate. They get paid peanuts to do their job, and they do it because they care about victims. They care about kids. And it's sad. It's so sad because you've got to ask who's in this fight to save kids and who's in it to make a name for themselves.

Mark:          

You know, one of the rip-your-heart-out parts in this movie, from my perspective, was when you're talking to him on the phone, and he says, "I'm embarrassed for my country." And you really felt it. I think what you said today will give some serious context to that statement. And so, thank you, man. That was your treatise on failure and the value and the beauty and the lesson of the failure in the movie. And so...take us home, man.

Tim:          

You know, get on board. We're figuring out a formula. Have we made mistakes? Of course we have. Have we learned? Of course. If we haven't, then we're constant failures. Everyone has to fail and get back up. But we've never acted illegally. We've never acted immorally, and we have not acted arrogantly, as the accusation alleges. I think that the movie speaks for itself and teaches that lesson, and so people should have confidence to get on board with what we're doing and find the organizations. There's other ones out there that operate legally as well. Find those, get on board with them, and let's create more of them.

Mark:          

Awesome. Thank you.

Apr 29, 2016

Missing: Elizabeth Salgado Tim: Several months ago, a woman named Elizabeth Salgado was last seen walking down the center street in one of the safest cities in the United States - Provo, Utah - and she went missing. Somebody apparently took her, and that left a family in absolute shambles. I have two members of that family here: Elizabeth’s mother, Libertad Edith, and Elizabeth’s uncle, Rosenberg Salgado. Thank you both for coming on the show today. Can you tell me what happened, or at least what we know about what happened to Elizabeth, and how that affected you and how that affected your family? Rosenberg: First of all, just so you know, Elizabeth Salgado was a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She wanted to come here to Provo, Utah, because she wanted to be associated with people that they had the same religious beliefs, and wanted to progress in her life and be able to open more opportunities in her life, and wanted to be in a great place, safest place on earth. And she thought that this would be, like, the best place on earth for her to be learning English. Unfortunately, three weeks later, on the 16th of April, she went missing, and as of right now we don’t have any leads, nothing that can help us believe to be able to find her. We are working also with the police department. They said the FBI is also involved, but right now there are no leads at all. Our family has been suffering a lot. My dad died because of the stress that we haven’t been able to find my niece. My sister is having high blood pressure problems and the father of Elizabeth is having high blood pressure problems as well because of the stress that we haven’t been able to find my niece. So it has been a terrible experience for a family. It is something that we never thought this was going to happen to my niece, especially in a city that is so safe. I mean, to me, we felt like probably Utah was just the safest place on earth. Tim: Sure, yeah. You know, I’m so sorry. We’ve been working on this investigation as you know, and it is a difficult case. It’s like she just vanished in the thin air. You know, it’s something that we, at Operation Underground Railroad - we see this all the time. We see it everyday. It doesn’t do anything to normalize the situation or to downgrade the pain at all. But I want to ask, before you lost Elizabeth, what was your idea or thoughts on things like trafficking and this kind of crime? Was it something that even touched you or affected you or that you knew about? Rosenberg: Honestly, before my niece went missing, I didn’t even think that existed that kind of problem here in the...I mean in this country, or any country in the world, because I think it’s something horrible, you know, people they go through that. I honestly didn’t even think it existed, to be honest. So I wasn’t even aware of that until right now, that now we are going through this, and that I feel like I want to even help out more people to be able to rescue these people because it’s terrible that you are going through this experience as a family. As a family member, we are desperate, we are... I mean, you can’t even live a normal life - you can’t even sleep thinking where your niece is, what happened to her, and why are they doing this to an innocent girl. So it’s something that we actually didn’t even think that this problem existed, to be honest. Tim: Yeah...I’m so sorry. Again, thank you so much for being willing to talk. What we are seeking is a solution, right. The purpose of Slave Stealer podcast is to make people aware. Unfortunately, the way you learned about it was absolutely horrific. There’s no worse way to learn about it. Have you learned anything? Have you... Could you help us? Because we don’t claim to have all the answers, right. But we are trying to find those answers. And so I ask you, and in a minute, I am going to ask you to talk to your sister - of course she speaks Spanish and we’ll have you translate her feelings about this as well. But again, I am speaking here with Rosenberg Salgado, the uncle to Elizabeth Elena Salgado, who, in April, was apparently kidnapped. She vanished in one of the safest neighborhoods in the world, in Provo, Utah. Rosenberg, what do you think needs to happen to minimize this kind of crime? Rosenberg: To be honest, I mean I feel like if a lot of people that were contributing to be able to rescue more people and now that I am aware that this organization exists, I’m even trying to see if there are any companies that they can donate time and money for you guys to be able to help out and rescue all the people in the world that need to be rescued. Because it is just terrible that families...they go through this and I feel like if there are a lot of people trying to contribute just a little a bit, it can make a better world. Tim: Right, right, and I couldn’t agree more with you. If everybody knew how large this was... And they just don’t. It is hidden. But it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. It is billions of dollars into the kidnapping and selling and abuse of people, whether it’s slave labor or sex trafficking. People need to know because we can’t solve this problem unless everybody knows. When we talk about these numbers, millions and millions, it’s important not to let those numbers desensitize us in any way because each of those numbers has a story attached to that, right, like yours. There is pain attached to it. There is lives altered and changed forever because of that, and it is important to know and recognize that there is that kind of a story behind every single number that equals and adds up to millions. That’s the kind of pain and suffering we are talking about. I think that your story really will help people to see it and wake up. Now, in terms of Elizabeth herself, what can people do? What can people do to help you specifically? I know that there has been an award offered for information. Tell me about that. Rosenberg: Right. There is a $50,000 reward that whoever gives us a lead that will help us find my niece, they get the reward. And also, I feel that a lot of people... If they are on the streets or, you know, they can be looking around to be aware if they happen to see her. My niece went missing during the day. I am sure that somebody knows something or somebody saw something. We are just asking the community that whoever knows something just please have compassion on this girl and just tell us what they know. I mean, they need to put themselves in our own place, and if this was your niece, you would want the whole world to help you find her. You will want everyone to be looking for her. And if they even knew - I mean, you know - the pain we are going through... It’s just terrible. You can’t even describe what we are going through. I mean, I can’t even find the right words to be able to describe what we are going through because it’s just impossible to describe everything that we feel as a family...besides that, praying and also fasting to be able to help us to find my niece. I feel like if they see also anything suspicious in their neighborhoods, even if it isn't significant, it can be significant to us. Tim: Yeah. Rosenberg: Just whatever they know. Because sometimes people, they might feel, "Oh no, I mean, I don’t think that this is something that can help them to find her." I mean, you know, for people that they have the experience, they might be able to be, "Oh, yeah, this is significant so let’s try to look at this lead," and so whatever they know, they just need to tell the authorities. Tim: Thank you so much. I’d like you to please ask your sister if she has any message to the world. If she has the whole world listening right now and she wants to tell them about what she’s learned about this problem, or if she has a message she wants to share about Elizabeth or even to Elizabeth - what would she say and would she be willing to say it? And if could you please translate that.   Libertad: Muy buenas tardes a todo los, a todo la comunidad y a toda las lugares en que me están escuchando. Rosenberg: Good afternoon to everybody, everybody who is listening to me.   Libertad: Este, quiero decirle que antras corrido ocho meses desde la desaparición de mi hija Elizabeth Elena. Rosenberg: I want to tell you that it has been almost eight months that my daughter disappeared. Libertad: Es mos passado muchos desafíos. Rosenberg: We have been going through very hard times. Libertad: Ansi de muy llenos de sufrimiento, de angustia y de dolor. Rosenberg: A lot of suffering, a lot of anxiety and a lot of pain. Libertad: Es un dolor inexplicable. Rosenberg: It’s a...pain that is...that we can’t even explain. Libertad: Nosotros hemos hecho estan impossible... Rosenberg: We have done the impossible... Libertad: ...por buscarla. Rosenberg: ..to be able to find my daughter.   Rosenberg: We have gone through events to be able to pass flyers. Libertad: En mos sido a Palo Alto, California. Rosenberg: We have gone through Palo Alto, California to Facebook to be able to see if they can spread up the word for her. Libertad: Y hemos tocado puertas. Rosenberg: And knocking on doors.   Libertad: Es una búsqueda incansable. Rosenberg: It’s a tireless search. Libertad: No vamos a parar... Rosenberg: We won’t stop... Libertad: ...a encuéntrala. Rosenberg: ...until we find her. Tim: Rosenberg, could you ask her what she has learned about this problem in general? I imagine she’d never imagined...she never thought this would touch her life. Tim: And, if she knows, what she would do... If she were the king of the world, what she would do to help solve this, not only for Elizabeth, but for everybody?   Libertad: Como reina del mundo, le pediría ayuda a todo los...a todo los medios de comunicación de cada país... Rosenberg: As the king of the world, I would like to ask all the countries to be able to help us find her. I mean, you know, the communication, like any probably news and all over the world to be able to help us find, I mean, you know, people who are missing. Libertad: ...para que difundiera sus photos. Rosenberg: So that they could spread out the word.   Tim: Well, I think she hit on it, I think she hit on it. I like what she said. She said there needs to be more communication with countries, right? And that made me think of something that... I don’t know if you are aware of this. The House passed a bill last year. It’s H.R. 515 - it’s International Megan's Law. Megan's Law, of course, is a law that takes criminals who have been convicted as sex offenders - child sex offenders. And after they finish their sentences, they are not allowed to live near schools, they are not allowed to live in certain places. And that’s Megan’s Law. And most states have adopted that law. The International Megan’s Law does it internationally. So if we, in the United States, have a known convicted child sex offender and that person is traveling to Mexico, then the U.S. government will notify the Mexican government. And tell them: "Hey, this guy is coming to your country. You should know this." It also creates something called 'angel watch', the Angel Watch Center. And what it is...it’s a place where government officials and non-government officials like Operation Underground Railroad - we can all meet and talk and make sure we know who the bad guys are and be in communication. I mean, I think that, Libertad Edith, I think you have... I mean, that’s what you essentially said. And the problem is right now, if you can believe this, it has been sitting in the Senate for months and months and months and they can’t get it through the Senate to create what is a solution - the very solution that the mother of a victim has, on her own, naturally kind of brought out as one of the solutions to this problem. Here we have this and it’s sitting on these senators' desks, and they are not even caring about it. They are worrying about things that are far less important than the kidnapping and the abuse of children. To me, it is absolutely outrageous. And I want to ask you both if you would help me with something. We are starting a campaign to finish, once and for all, this bill and get it passed and get it implemented: International Megan’s Law, H.R. 515. Would you be willing to help us? Would you be willing to be witnesses in this and be a voice from someone who knows the reality of this problem? Would you be willing to help us be loud and get the Senate to pass this bill and get it implemented and use it to start saving kids? Rosenberg: Of course we will be willing because we know what it's like when you are going through this pain. So it’s been, it’s been very hard like I’ve told you before. It’s impossible to describe what we are feeling and I feel like if they pass this bill, I mean, it will be... It will actually help out the whole world. And I think, I mean, you know, when my sister was saying about having other countries communicating, I mean, you know, to be able to help us spread out the word so a lot of people they can be aware that this problem exists. Because I’m sure that a lot of people...they are not even aware that this problem exists. Tim: Right. Rosenberg: They don’t even have an idea that we are going through this right now. I mean, before my niece went missing, I didn’t even think that there was sex trafficking at all until now that we are learning more about, "Ok, what could have happened to her?" Tim: Right. Rosenberg: And so, you see all the options and now we are like, "Let’s make this world a better place, and let’s try to save everybody that is going through this." Tim: And you are now in a position of influence. I mean, you are in a position because of what you have been through. You are witnesses. Rosenberg: Right. Tim: You are witnesses in a way that most are not and you can stand up, and I appreciate you doing that. I know you both. I’ve met several times with you, and I know you are willing to do that and we appreciate that. Another question I want to ask you is have you seen social media make a difference in the search for Elizabeth? And is this something that you think we should be utilizing more, perhaps the police should be utilizing more? Because it’s all about communication, right? You start this investigation - I know because I’ve been on many of these. The first thing you look for is a witness. You need information: where is she? Someone knows. Who knows? It’s all about disseminating information, requesting information, finding information. How do you do that? I mean, we do it every day with social media. Have you guys utilized social media at all in your efforts to find Elizabeth? Rosenberg: Yes. We have tried to put a lot of advertisements on social media, you know Facebook and - everybody is always on Facebook - but I feel like the police and the FBI, they can also get... When these cases, they happen, they can actually spread out the word and have a connection also with Facebook: "Let's stop the crime." I mean, you know, let’s actually... "Whoever knows something about this person, please let us know,"or "If you guys have seen this person, just let the authorities know." I feel like that would help out a lot, because a lot of people... They are using social media, they are always there, they know what’s going on, and I have known that...I mean, you know, like for example - when on the news they are trying to find somebody that social, they put it on social media, and then people, they start commenting, and they say, "Yes, I have seen this person," or whatever. And that would help out so much. I mean, you know... So if the police...they can actually have also connections with all those big social media networks. I don’t know, I mean, I feel like it can be a big help. Tim: Well, let’s work harder to make sure we are utilizing social media to the best of its ability. We are building software here at Operation Underground Railroad that will help the police identify where these people are, who are the perpetrators of this most heinous crime, and it really is the way you need to attack this problem. So I want to thank you both for coming in, and this is by no means the last meeting we’ll have with you. We know we have so many things; we’ve talked about so many projects that we want to work on. Most important, of course, is the search for Elizabeth; after that is what else can we do, what else can you do with us to help others? Because like I said, there’s millions in this position. And just because we don’t know about it - because it is such a hidden world - doesn’t mean that it is not there. People need to know it is there and people like you who are willing to come out and talk about it - you are the best witnesses because you are going through it. You are going through this hell. So I can’t thank you enough for having the courage to come on and talk about this because we believe that what you are doing is saving lives. Rosenberg: Thank you so much for inviting us and we appreciate everything that you do to make this world a better place. I feel like if there were more people like you in this world, this world would be a better place. And if everybody can contribute to be able to rescue these kids that are slaves, if they can contribute to be able to help you out, this world would be so much better. And thank you very much for doing what you are doing. Tim: Well, thank you both so much. I have a wonderful team that makes it happen, and of course the contributions are what keep us in place. So please, everyone, check us out at ourrescue.org and help us. Help us so we can help people like the Salgado family. So thank you both so much - thanks for coming on and let's continue this fight together.     Libertad: Y a Elizabeth Elena... Rosenberg: And Elizabeth Elena... Libertad: ...si me estás escuchando... Rosenberg: ...if you are listening... Libertad: ...quiero decirte hija... Rosenberg: ...I want to tell you... Libertad: ...que no nos vamos a rendir hasta encontrarte. Rosenberg: ...that we won’t stop looking for you until we find you. Libertad: Tenemos buscado por cielo y tierra y mar. Rosenberg: We have been looking for you all over the place. Libertad: Y desde el día que desapareciste... Rosenberg: And from the day that you went missing... Libertad: ...nuestra vida cambió completamente. Rosenberg: ...our lives have changed a lot. Libertad: Te amamos. Rosenberg: We love you. Libertad: Te extrañamos... Rosenberg: We miss you... Libertad: ...y queremos ver tu cara angelical. Rosenberg: ...and we want to see your beautiful face. Libertad: Necesitamos tenerte en nuestros brazos. Rosenberg: We need you in our lives and be able to hug you. Libertad: Sentimos a nuestro corazón... Rosenberg: We feel in our hearts... Libertad: ...un gran vacío... Rosenberg: ...an empty hole... Libertad: ...porque nos has te falta. Rosenberg: ...because you are missing in our lives. Libertad: Te queremos tener de resto con nosotros. Rosenberg: We want you back in our lives. Libertad: Te extrañamos mucho... Rosenberg: We miss you a lot... Libertad: ...y queremos volver a ser feliz como antes. Rosenberg: We want to be happy the same way that we were when you were with us. Libertad: Necesitamos encontrarte. Rosenberg: We need to find you. Libertad: Y a los que te tiene... Rosenberg: Whoever has you... Libertad: ...les pido por favor... Rosenberg: ...I’m asking you ... Libertad: ...que tenga compasión de nosotros. Rosenberg: ...please have compassion on our family. Libertad: Nos han hechos sufrir mucho. Rosenberg: You guys have caused a lot of suffering in our lives. Libertad: Y les suplicamos... Rosenberg: And we are begging you... Libertad: ...que la entreguen. Rosenberg: ...to please give us our daughter back. Libertad: Que lo consideren como si fuera el hija de ustedes. Rosenberg: To please have compassion on this girl like if she was your own daughter.   Libertad: Le pedimos al padre celestial... Rosenberg: We ask our Heavenly Father... Libertad: ...que mandes de ángeles celestiales. Rosenberg: ...to protect her with her angels. Libertad: No le hagas daño. Rosenberg: Please, don’t hurt my daughter.  

Apr 24, 2016

Tim: Welcome to Slave Stealer podcast! This is Tim Ballard and Mark Mabry talking about the darkest plague that exists on this earth today and seeking the solution. We have a guest on today that, I think, is part of the solution. I really believe - and I have, for years, believed - that the reason we can't put our arms around this problem and squeeze it to death - this problem of trafficking and human slavery - is because people don't know it's there. They don't believe it's real. Or they see something and they turn their head as fast as they can. And so, at Operation Underground Railroad, we have a unique approach, I think. We're not just waving this banner of darkness. There's a lot of organizations - and God bless all of them for what they're doing. The programs that are about awareness often are just waving a flag of depression and darkness, and you look and you're like, "Eek, oh oh yeah, here's my five dollars - now never contact me again," and off they go.  They don't want to see it. That's not our message. Our message is light. Light. Light in the darkness. Because we provide a solution. We're going in and extracting. We are providing law enforcement with tools: digital tools, computer tools, training, undercover tactics - everything you would need to know to run an investigation.  Mark: You're staring the bad guys in the eyes. Tim: That's right. Mark: And how many organizations actually touch the bad guy? Tim: Yeah, we touch the bad guy, we throw his face in the ground and put him away. That's what we do! And that is light - that's hope. And so, we try to push out that light. And one of the ways we do that is by showing people what we do. There's a team of cameras that follows us around, and we show people what we do. And when those traffickers go away, the world gets a little brighter. And when the next trafficker goes away, the world gets brighter still. And that's the light that we're building. See, Montel Williams - who is our guest today - he understands that. He understands that if you shine a light, people will get on board. If you shine a light, the bad guys hate that light! So they're going to go away. If they don't end up in jail, they're going to be so antagonistic to that light that they're going to crawl up like little bugs and go away. And hide. And Montel gets that. And he's the kind of voice that we need to be loud and proud and share this light. So that's going to be his message. Mark: He's a passionate guy. As you're saying, he blew up Facebook a couple of times this year, and Twitter. And even in our conversation with him, he starts out kind of a low simmer and then just crescendoes. And I think you guys will enjoy... Tim: Yeah, yeah. You don't want to get in his way, man. Mark: No. Tim: When he starts moving, you do not want to get in his... I do not want to be a trafficker in the path of Montel Williams when things get hot. And things get hot with this guy. Mark: He was a Marine, he attended the Naval Academy, he had a career in the military. People don't realize how bad he actually is. Tim: Oh yeah, no no. He's...he's tough as nails. Mark: And he delivers, so it's a great interview. Tim: Yep. Mark: Let's go to it. Tim: Alright, roll it!


Mark: Tim started to tell me about how you guys met, but his version was really weak compared to what I think yours probably is (no offense, Tim). Montel: It was literally the morning after the Stadium of Fire. I went up to the breakfast lounge in the place we were staying at, and literally, you know, Tim walked in the door and shut me down. And his speech was just ridiculous the night before. You know, I work on a lot of issues. I’m involved in things that most people don’t even have the slightest idea that I’ve been involved with for years now. Everything from...veteran issues, but I’ve also been deeply involved in trying to help heal some of the wounds that our veterans have faced from war. And those wounds are deep, especially when it comes to traumatic brain injury. And I was blessed to be able to get involved in a process...a study with a medical device that now is going to - over the next year to two years - prove out to be one of the first lines of defense, I think, for many symptoms of traumatic brain injury. We are in the middle of...doing one of the most comprehensive traumatic brain injury studies the world has seen at three centers of excellence. And I only say this because, you know, I’m involved in issues. And why? Because, you know, I got involved... I'm a board member of Fisher House. I was visiting our soldiers 3-4 years ago for...almost every three weeks, I was going down to see every new batch of soldiers that had flown in from Germany or from London, and just going down and visiting troops. So, you know, I’ve been moved by that issue, and then I’ve been involved in things from teen suicide prevention - it’s another issue that I’ve been in for, that I’ve been working on. And then to sit in that room and hear Tim discuss the mission - his emotional, moving story about saving children’s lives. Mark: Anything you remember in particular - like a line that he said, something that stuck? Montel: You know, I mean, I could say, sitting like...as I sit here right now and I think about what Tim had to say...you know, there was a call to action. There was a call to step up to the plate and understand what’s going on. And even though I understood as I was sitting at the table, I’m looking at the reactions of the people in the room around me, and you can look and see that some of these people...even though you hear about it, you see it on the news - it goes right over their head. It wasn’t until, I think, they caught the emotion that is involving what Tim had to say, that I saw the emotion start to well up in them. So again, I walk into this lounge, and I was again blown away. All I felt was that I needed to do whatever I could to help Tim make his mission more complete. So, you know, I think I said immediately - "Whatever you need from me, whatever you want from me, I’m there. And let's go." Tim: I think it was your birthday, wasn’t it, Montel? Montel: Yeah, as a matter of fact, it was on my birthday. As a matter of fact, it was on my birthday. It was the 3rd. That’s right. The night before was the event on the 2nd, and I had brought in four of [inaudible] dinner. One of the other award recipients was Master Sgt. Cedric King, who is a double amputee, a war hero of extraordinary proportion, who was on that stage. So it was very moving the night before to have had him come in and then to meet Tim. And then I wake up - it's the 3rd - and I told, you know, all the guys from the stadium...I said, "Look, I need to have at least that one day off." I was going to chill. Honestly, I think I worked for about an hour on the phone, just coordinating - trying to figure out who I was going to talk to as soon as we got past the holiday to figure out how we were going to come together. Tim: Man, it was an amazing experience for me. I mean, I was starstruck - I'm not going to lie - when you walked into the...you know, because the night before, I knew you were in the audience, and I'm like, ‘I wonder if I'll get to meet Montel.’ And then, the next day, I'm getting hot chocolate with my kids, and there he was! It was a small little kind of kitchen, you know, and there he was, face to face. And it was an emotional moment for both of us, I think.   Montel: Yeah, yeah, really - an extremely emotional moment. And that’s part of the reason why I think I just really need to help and try to be involved. I have people who are of like mind, who think the way I do, who have been in my corner in my entire professional career, and especially the media. And, you know, those people are very vocal, and they want to be heard. And I think if I reach out to them and let them know that we are involved and we are going to now do some things that before today, I think, have not been done. Yeah, we call out some of these pigs - you know, there are so many shows and it comes and it goes. I want to really, really figure out a way so we get the message out there that is a continual message - in the face, bigger than, you know, the campaigns that they are running right now nationally to stop people from smoking. If you are so stupid that you’ll put a cigarette in your mouth right now and wreck your lungs, then I would rather take the money that’s being spent there to put a message out right now that our children are being exploited, raped, and sent around this planet, and you...really... If we can’t get to an understanding and get that in people’s faces, so much so... I hate the commercials that they have been running, you know, where you have the people who are in the hospital on the third lung, and they're showing me all the body parts of people who are ravaged by cancer because they are smoking. I want to show people the ravaging of what’s been happening with our children - get it in your face so hard that you say, "Enough, don’t show me that anymore!" and you do something about it.   Tim: I love hearing this, Montel, because a confusion to me is why are we not seeing that, even in politics and in debates. It should be... I mean, this is the fastest criminal enterprise on the planet. Why aren’t we talking about it? What’s the reason, do you think, that people are shying away? Montel: Why is it growing so fast? Why is it growing so fast? Tim, I bet you, man, you’ve got this, man. Look, it’s growing so fast because of, I think, money. You know, we have the largest disparity of wealth in the world, but we have the largest number of millionaires, uber billionaires, millionaires, hundred... guys, people who have wealth, sitting around, that think that their wealth can hide them and keep them hidden from the truth. It got to be because dude, I mean, you know, the plane tickets cost money. To be able to buy a child, it costs money. You know, to be able to do this and not have anybody catch you: it costs money. And that’s what’s happening. And so why aren’t politicians talking about it? I don’t want to be a pig when I say this, but maybe some of them have friends or relatives or cousins that they know are the people doing this. Because that’s the only reason why this would not be... You know, it’s like all day long - I’m out here, I went snowboarding today, you know. This is the open season and it’s a beautiful day today, but then I realized I had this interview to do with you, and all afternoon I’ve been like...it’s been, you know, my heart’s pounding because I’m just so angry. And it’s just the same reason why, in the last three weeks, why all we keep hearing from our politicians is how quickly they want to send another American child off to die. They really...they want to go put 'boots on the ground, boots on the ground,' - you can’t even pay for the health care for the ones we have that have already put the boots on the ground! Tim: Yeah. Montel: But we want to put them on the ground. And yeah, we may need to, but let’s be a little bit more compassionate in our rally to send them off to battle. Now, if we're willing to do that, and these politicians are jumping up and down in every one of their debates to say those things, why do we not - in the same conversation and debate - talk about how are we going to help heal the delays in the treatment of those who have already served? We can’t say that because we know that we have...their friends are the ones who are part of the problem. So I’m starting to think that maybe that’s what's going on. We've got too many people of wealth who are hiding, just the same way as we have terrorists who are living double lives as Americans. And we’ve got rich people who can afford to do this - living double lives - they're right under the surface and we're letting them get away with it. And I’m open Tim - you know. dude, I’m not afraid. I am NOT afraid. I will take that shot, my friend. Tim: And we need you to take that shot - we want you to. And you know what we do. If these guys want to get into the market cause they want those kids, we meet them there and that’s where we can expose them. We meet them there - we’ve already done it dozens of times, hundreds of kids we’ve pulled out, over a hundred travellers or traffickers in jail... I think you and I were talking about this when we met over the 4th of July. It’s about shining those faces of those guys who are hiding - shine them everywhere, put them on billboards, make everyone know that you CANNOT hide behind your money. We will meet you in the dark place and we will expose you once you are there.     Montel: I'm telling you... Call them out - that’s what we've got to do. So, you know what? You know, it’s going to be holiday season, we're going to take a little break, alright? I want to hit the ground running in January if we can figure out...like I’m working on some projects right now. You know, I'm working on a couple of projects right now that are media projects that... You know, if I do some things for some people, then maybe I can ask them to do some things for us. Let’s figure out a way then we can get something on the air - I mean, you know, ‘America’s Most Wanted,’ you know, whatever.   Tim: Yeah. Montel: I got happy, I got tired. That did a lot of good in some cases because you did cover some of those cases of child abuse, but I really think that we need to have a steady stream - not just the TV show, but I’m telling you, like, I would love to right now in the middle of this live CNN... I’ve got CNN on and the second they go to commercial: bang-bang. I want to jump right to a commercial about a child that has been exploited - this is going on, and this is the guy who worked in Chicago at such and such bank, was a bank president, he lived in this neighborhood, this is his family, and you need to understand that this guy thought he was getting away with it, and he’s been doing it and now he's crying like a stuffed pig because he’s in jail, and he knows that when we let him out in the population that they don’t like little child molesters like that, and while he's crying like a piggy, he's talking about the fact that he’s been doing this for the last 10 years and got away with it right beside you.   Tim: That’s right. Montel: How could you let this person live next to you?! That’s the story that needs to be told, man. Tim: Yes!  Yes it is! Montel: And I want to help you tell them. Tim: And we need your help. We can get into the dark and shine the light, pull them out, but we need people like you to make it loud because we’re still learning how to do that. So we appreciate that.    Montel: Well, just the fact that you're blogging right now, and the fact that people are going to tune in. Maybe they'll listen to me today. They'll say, I want to see what they're going to do. Montel, please, what are you going to do? You know, this could be a regular from us. Let’s come together every couple of weeks and let's talk about the plans that we put in place, the things that we can talk about. I also, you know, it’s like...you know, I think in some ways... I worked in intelligence my entire time I was in the military. I had top secret inside clearance - I can say that right now. I had one of the highest clearances that the military had at the time. I ran a couple programs. I get part of the problem that we are having right now when it [the military] looks at international terrorism. The problem is the fact that we keep giving out all the secrets. We keep telling them every level of encryption that we have the ability to break so they can find a new one that we can’t break. I don’t want to give them too much - I want to show America while you can complain all you want about the Taliban, you know...we're going to fix that problem. You haven’t even blinked at trying to fix the real one. Let’s fix this one, because this is the one that’s going to destroy us from within. We can see the devastation now in children as they grow older and older and now have the revelation of what was done to them. Those are the ones that weren’t even trafficked. Tim: Right. Montel: So, you know, I mean, honestly, America’s got a reckoning. And, you know, we can’t put one... You know, it’s like, you know, do you pick the worst problem and put that first, or do you fix the problems you have? I say we go after both of them at the same time, and I think America has got the stomach for it. It just hasn’t heard the voice loud enough. And I have a voice of couple of people that I think might want to bring this forward as part of their national campaign. Mark: I was going to ask you about that, Montel. I know, from your social feeds, you are a friend of Governor Kasich, and I about came out of my chair with glee the other night watching that debate, and I heard the words ‘human trafficking’. Montel: Yes. Mark: And they came out of his mouth, and those words have not been uttered in a presidential debate, in the last couple of debates. I need to go to do a word cloud or something to find out, but he did it. And so, we have a little segment on our show, called ‘The Big Ask’ with a K. And, I have a big ask for you. I thought...you know, when I heard him say that, I was waiting for somebody to wax poetic and do something lofty on trafficking, but of course they went right back to Donald calling Jeb not powerful, or whatever his word was. So, here’s my big ask for Montel Williams: I want you, because I know you are capable and I’ll be probably in tears by the time you’re done, to picture yourself on the stage, cameras on you - it is Montel Williams’,  'I want your vote for president, and my platform is human trafficking.' Can you give me that lofty speech that will make me hear the music coming in by the end? Montel: You know how they give you the highlights before the debates... Mark: Yeah, get me fired up a little bit. Montel: You know, maybe what I should say is that if right now we are living in a time in America where the entire focus of the nation...in some ways, I understand, because there has been enough fear-mongering to make us believe that the entire focus of everything we do as a government should be focused on terrorism. But, you know, America has to continue to survive, has to continue to grow, has to rely on its most sacred treasure, and that’s America’s children. Now, I don’t care what source you listen to, what side of the fence you're on: Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal. It doesn’t matter. If you are listening to all of your pundits, they will tell you at worst case, worst case in this country today, we have probably, okay...twenty, forty, fifty, let’s say there might have been a hundred terrorists who snuck in - they are under the radar, we need to put money in finding them. I agree. But, excuse me, we have 1.5 million children who are victims in 2012 to human trafficking, and we know that 85% of them have been trafficked for sex. And these are children, American children. So, I say that that’s a million and a half lives that from this point forth will forever be changed, a million and a half a year. In fifteen years, they got 20 million children who have to as they grow to adults, as they’ve been saved, brought back into the society and trying to be contributing numbers to that society. I say we got the Taliban under control. I don’t care if it’s two years, three years - it’s thirty years. This is part of America’s structure, America’s fabric. So, I can stand around and argue about who’s got more money in the bank, who thinks that they are tougher at fighting bad guys who are trying to hurt us ideologically. I want to find out who’s tough enough to turn in their neighbor, who’s tough enough to fight the fight of saving and preserving America’s future beyond the next five years. So, 2.5, 1.5 million...on the other side of ridiculous. The United States alone should be in the position to raise enough money to impact this, and we will send money everywhere else in the world. We will fight everybody else’s problem to try to force something down on someone’s throat that doesn’t want it, and we are willing to protect America’s precious treasure right here. I don’t know... If you want to protect America’s treasure, vote for me, if you want to continue on this normal...pick the other guy.   Tim: You got my vote! Mark: Montel 2020, baby! Woo! Tim: I love it, I love it! And, now the good thing is that we are going to do something about this, and I hope we can have you back on the show many many times as we develop our plan and say the things we can. But let’s do this!  We’re going to do this. Montel: Let’s do it! Now, you got me to say publicly, I make it as a public promise, man.  I’m working with you - we'll get this done. Tim: Awesome! We love you, man! Thanks so much! Montel: Thank you, sir!


  Mark: Montel for president, baby! You said, you know, the government is leading, but in terms of being loud about it, how often do you hear nationally-placed officials talking about human trafficking in prime time? Tim: They're not! And that’s where the leadership is lacking. There’s no strong leader in all of our potential leaders. It’s not even on their agenda and I don’t know why it’s not! I don’t think they all have friends...I mean, that’s an interesting point that Montel brings up -  I don't think it's like they all have friends who are engaging in this kind of stuff. I mean, I’m sure some of them do. I think it’s a dark topic that no one wants to talk about. It hurts to talk about it. Mark: It’s weird because governments usually... These guys will go on talk shows and talk about something then not do anything about it, but this is the opposite. It seems that they are legislating and making a little headway, but they're not talking about it - it’s lacking the component that we hate the most, generally speaking, that is, the flapping gums of politicians. Tim: I think the reason... It’s not that they don’t know... Mark: Yeah they know, they just...   Tim: They know it’s an issue. Here’s why they don't talk about it. Look, they're pandering, they are all pandering to voters, right. They need voters to weigh in. So, I really do think this: if they believed that the voters knew what was going on, they would talk about it. But they are saying to themselves, why am I going to introduce a new topic? - relatively new, right. Why am I going to introduce a topic that’s not going to help me get elected because the electorate doesn’t know? And if they don’t know, they don’t care. So let’s talk about things that we know they care about. So our job, more than try to convert or try to influence these candidates or elected leaders to do something... I think our job is to light a fire under the people - the Harriet Beecher Stowe approach, where she lit a fire under the people. They read her book by the millions, and they said, "What is going on?! I didn’t really know - I mean, I heard of slavery, but I’ve never seen it. I’ve never travelled down there, in the South, and saw it," and she lit a fire there. And then they got so loud that folks like Abraham Lincoln and others had to respond. Mark: Yeah. Tim: And the response ended slavery. So I really think a lot of this is exposing this issue, shining a light, letting the people see. When the people care, the candidates will care.   Mark: And, it seems like Montel... He’s one of those populist heroes in the last two decades - had a huge show in the 90’s, he’s got total social clout now, he’s moved kind of into this activist realm, and he’s got tons, his hands on tons of pods, but it’s that type of guy that can talk to big groups. And the talk show people - Oprah, Montel, you know, from the heyday of afternoon talk shows that would make people cry every afternoon...that would be, seemingly, a way to engage people. And he could be that guy. Tim: Yeah. He’s going to be that guy. I mean, he’s that voice we are going to need. And he’s not going to be a ‘one and done interview’ - he is committed. I spent a couple of days with him, over the 4th... Man, I’m telling you he believes this. He believes in it, and he is going to help us. Mark: Yeah. Tim: He's going to be instrumental.  Tim: This show is sponsored by one of my favorite companies on the face of the earth, Hylete. In fact, I’m wearing - let me stand up so you can see - I’m wearing Hylete shorts right now. Mark: Those are really handsome. Tim: I wear Hylete shorts pretty much every day, because here at the headquarters of Operation Underground Railroad is a CrossFit gym that is very fruitful for the foundation. All the money that we make in the CrossFit gym comes back into the foundation. So we’re grateful for the CrossFit gym, and we’re grateful to Hylete who’s been a proud sponsor, who’s been able to not only outfit some of our guys, but make some awesome contributions. They made an OUR shirt, Hylete OUR shirt - their clothes are designed for intense fitness, like CrossFit. They made a Hylete/OUR shirt that all the proceeds came back to us, and we’ve been able to make thousands of dollars, and we continue our partnership in the coming years. So thank you to our partners and friends over at Hylete. Buy their clothes, and go work out!  

Apr 12, 2016

Tim takes on a recent initiative of Amnesty International to "Legalize" prostitution. His issue with their policy lies in the difference between "legalization" and "decriminalization". He argues that what they are proposing would endanger more children and ultimately undermine the efforts of many people to save kids from sex trafficking.   Tim: Hi! Thank you for joining us! This is a very special bonus edition of the Slave Stealer podcast. If you have been listening to us for a while, you know that there are a lot of aspects to human trafficking. So many drivers, so many factors. Sometimes we don’t always get the chance to elaborate within the context or whatever it is that we are talking about, but one big issue that deserves more treatment is this current push by Amnesty International to legalize all prostitution. What they are trying to do now is go out to all the countries and influence them to legalize this work. Now, there is some merit to parts of their argument, but I contend, and I contend passionately, that this legislation, if it got that far, would absolutely devastate millions of children who would be caught up in the wake of prostitution. They would be caught up in the wake... They would be caught up as victims, they would be rapedthemselves. So after we spoke with President Vicente Fox of Mexico, we got on the topic of Amnesty International’s plan, and I think I got a little fired up, so I want you to go ahead and hear what I had to say. So, let’s go and roll that.


  Tim: And, people don’t believe us sometimes - "Oh bull crap, we don’t believe that"- or they will see a trafficking case, we will show footage and they see what looks like a victim going willingly into this place: "Well, they walked in. They weren’t dragged in by chains." And, I get it, but it is also very offensive because I know that these kids are slaves. I see them before and during and after. We could have Elizabeth Smart come in sometime and talk about that. Don’t say anything like that in her presence because she received that criticism: "When you were in captivity, why didn’t you just run away? Why didn’t you tell the policeman who you were when he confronted you with your captors in the library that day?" And she will tell you that a child’s mind doesn’t think like an adult’s mind, and it can be very easily manipulated and really brainwashed and rewired to the point that when Elizabeth was rescued, she didn’t even admit who she was. She was still denying who she was as she was even put into the police car and taken to her father, ok. And that’s the thing people don’t understand about human trafficking, and so they misidentify the victims. Police departments have been doing it for decades. I think...in the last decade or so, I think they are trying to get out of this where they treat all prostitutes as criminals. They didn’t even stop to ask the question, 'How did she get here?' Maybe she is 19 years old, but did you know that she was kidnapped at 12 and forced into this life? And yeah, now she is acting out, and she is yelling and cussing at you, and she "doesn’t want to be rescued." But she is a victim, and she needs to be treated as a victim until you figure out what is going on. And a lot more needs to be done there, but progress has been made where these women and children are not being seen as criminals anymore but as victims, but much more needs to be done in that area. Mark: That is a legislative issue, obviously. Are those national statutes that need to be passed or are they local? Explain prosecution of prostitutes. Explain that whole dilemma to me, I don’t get it. Tim: There is some legislative there, but there is also a lot of just how you administer or how the law enforcement administers or what questions they ask, right. Because to be prosecuted for say prostitution, requirements within that statutes have to be met. And part of that is willingly, and it was your intent to do these things. And it is easy just to make the assumption, 'that was your intent, you wanted to do this, and so you’re guilty.' So sometimes, it is not just the laws. The laws can be clarified, sure - you can always, you should add a requirement and say even if this prostitute, this person you have brought in...even if they are an adult, you have to prove that they meant to do this, that they wanted to do this, that this was the life that they chose. Mark: They weren’t coerced. Tim: They weren’t coerced into it. Mark: Ok. Tim: And so the questions, but the questions... The problem is, even when you have decent legislation and decent statutes, you don’t have law enforcement asking the questions, digging deeper: "Who are you? Where did you come from? How did you get into this? How old were you when you got into this?" And if they would ask that, then they would see that there is coercion here. They are not going to bust out their pimps.   Mark: No, they are scared to death. Tim: They are scared to death. Their pimps have been beating them for ten years, since they were ten years old. So, you have got to stop and ask the question. You need experts in the field - social workers, psychologists in the field - to be able to be there and take this victim aside and talk to them. Frankly, in my mind, every country, every jurisdiction - whether it is federal, state, whatever - they all need to have legislation that decriminalize prostitutes altogether, absolutely. Every prostitute, in my mind, should be treated like a victim. Mark: So, you are saying legalize prostitution? Tim: I am not saying... No, you don’t legalize prostitution at all. You legalize prostitution and that means that the pimps and the johns get away. Mark: Ah. Tim: You criminalize 100% for pimps, for johns. Mark: But you can’t criminalize the prostitutes... Tim: You don’t criminalize the prostitutes. Mark: I like that. Tim: Yeah, I mean, there is Norway and Sweden who have both adopted that, and it is very effective. What happens there, when you do that, is those countries and those cities stop becoming havens for sex, for paid sex. Because you are criminalizing the johns and the pimps, johns and pimps don’t want to work there. Mark: So what you’ll have are a few entrepreneurial women who are kind of like 'Ma and Pa' stores, but you wipe out the industry? Tim: Yeah. You would wipe out the industry because the pimps and johns can’t... They are scared to go there. Mark: Yeah. Tim: And this is a huge debate right now going on with the Amnesty International’s new policy this summer they came out with in August, I believe. They came out with the sex worker shield where they are basically wanting to decriminalize prostitution for everybody - pimps, johns, and what they call sex workers - and make it legal. The idea is bring it all out into the light, and then you can take care of the sex workers and treat them like legitimate workers. You know, it is all focused on helping the sex worker. That’s their choice - they want to be a prostitute, support them, help them. And to do that, you can’t criminalize the pimps who, in Amnesty International’s words... This is very controversial. I mean, this is Amnesty International who is supposed to be looking out for the victims. And they feel like sex workers - who they call sex workers, others might call prostitutes - have been victimized and demonized and not supported in their occupational endeavors. And the problem is, is by decriminalizing this - and I see this in my work - by decriminalizing the whole process so that the sex workers can be seen as legitimate workers, like any other professional in the world and be given all the benefits... Mark: I think the middle management and HR and marketing...they get all the departments wrapped around them: "Hey, go see the marketing guy!" Tim: That is right! Mark: "Make a brochure on this chick." Tim: That is the idea! That is the idea, like you are not letting them live their dream. Mark: Wow. Tim: And then the argument is this - let’s play with it a little bit because there is a strain of logic to it, right. So, the idea is you get them structured that way and then the government...because then my question is, "Ok, what about the kids?" Two million kids or more are being trafficked, sold. How do you protect them in this? Amnesty International says, "It is very easy!" All you do is you tell these jurisdictions and the police officers... These pimps get licensed; they are a licensed business. You go to them and they have to show that they are not selling minors: "We don’t sell minors. Here, look - it's all willing adults." Mark: "Look at our brochure!" Tim: "Look at our brochure! It is very clear." Mark: "No kids!" Tim: And I am thinking to myself, "Ok, you are talking about these underdeveloped countries that, at Operation Underground Railroad, we are filling up their gas tanks so they can drive from point A to point B. You are telling me that your police force is going to have enough resources, time, manpower, so forth, to go and regulate these legitimate brothels to make sure that there are no minors?!" Do you know how easy it is going to be if you are Fuego, right? Fuego, who is the guy… Mark: I remember Fuego. Tim: We met Fuego on the beaches of Colombia and... Mark: And you took his hat! Tim: I still have his hat. I still have his hat. Mark: That guy is such a douchebag. Tim: Can you imagine… Can you say douchebag on this show? Mark: Hey, if I put a little E next to the...we are now explicit. Tim: Ok. Mark: No, douchebag is not explicit. Tim: Is "Slave Stealer Radio" an R-rated show? Let’s just talk about this and figure that out. Mark: I think we are PG-13ish. Tim: I just want to know what I can get away with. Mark: In context, we’re probably considered like an X-rated show just given the general theme, but we don’t really get explicit yet until we get you on the wrong moment. Hopefully we edit that out. Tim: Ok! Mark: Yeah. Tim: So, Fuego... You imagine Fuego, right. How hard is it going to be for Fuego? This is Amnesty International’s plan - Fuego should be a legal vendor as long as they are adults. The kids will be safe because they are safe with Fuego, aren’t they? You spent time with Fuego. Would you trust a 12-year-old girl to Fuego? I mean... Mark: Friendly guy. Tim: Here is what is going to happen: he will line up his 18-year-olds and 20- year-olds, and he’ll say, "Here’s all I got!" And those cops are not going to go the two miles down the road into the little storage facility, right, or the tractor trailer with the ten 12-year-olds and the three or four 9-year-olds. Mark: And they are not going to check his phone to see... Tim: No! Mark: ...you know, all the 10-year-olds with pagers. Tim: Right! He will have those, he will sell those. They are premium! You are going to sell those for $1000; these 18-year-olds you are going to sell for $300. He is going to have those. The infrastructure to sell those little kids is now supported by the state. And he will be able to make money, he will be able to invest whatever he makes legitimately, he will pay his taxes and everything else. He will be a businessman! He is going to sell the premium because it is too easy and now you have just supported his infrastructure. How are you going to protect those kids? Amnesty International decided to ignore those kids. Those twelve kids in the back of the tractor trailer down the road - they have ignored them. And now, guess what? You have created an absolute sex haven. And let's say that they decriminalized it like this everywhere in Cartagena. Every gross tourist from America, Canada, and Germany, and everywhere else - they are going to go to Cartagena, they are going to enjoy the adult sex, and then they are going to make a deal with Fuego on the side and say, "Hey, where do I get the 11-year-olds?" "Well, you come to this other place down the road." And it is a booming business. I am absolutely just astonished and sickened that Amnesty International could be so incredibly short-sighted and idiotic that they don’t see that they are completely neglecting the children. They are creating safe havens. They are making it so easy for the johns and pimps to rape children. Mark: That is pretty inflammatory. Tim: It is inflammatory! Mark: You just called them idiotic. Tim: They are idiots! Mark: What if we need their help? Tim: Well, we won't need their help. Mark: Ok. Tim: But do you know who does need their help? Fuego needs their help, and apparently he is going to get it. Mark: So, an entire industry... You might shut down an entire industry. There might be jobless Fuegos all over Colombia, all over Mexico. Tim: How sad. Mark: Have you ever ordered the 'Sin City'? Tim: No. Mark: Smashburger. You go down, and it is kind of like In-N-Out burger. You can show up and there is the menu, right, there is a Smashburger menu (and they are not a sponsor of this show), but you can order the ‘Sin City’ which is not on the menu. And it is kind of a niche thing for people to go in and they give you the wink and they say, "I’ll take the Sin City." Tim: It is like In-N-Out burger, it is the same thing. They have their Animal Fries, Animal Burgers. Mark: Yeah, the Animal Style. Now, I see prostitution becoming like that. Tim: That is exactly right! Mark: Under the Amnesty plan. Tim: Absolutely! It is exactly what it is. Mark: I’ll take Sin City (wink, wink). Tim: It is exactly what it is. Mark: She is in the back alley. Tim: It is exactly what is going to happen. Mark: It is a brand extension. Tim: It is exactly what is going to happen. And we know this! I know this! I know these guys! I have negotiated with them undercover, I sit across the table from them. And if it was legal to sell, for him to sell adults - which it is not in Cartagena frankly, ok. But if it were, if we all follow Amnesty International, and if they make it legal, and I am sitting across from him... Think about this, just play it out in your head - I’ve been there a hundred times. "Hey Tim, come to my office with the sign that says, 'Beautiful women for sale,'" right, because this is a legal business. I walk in there... I mean, we have set him up, he is totally legitimate. And you don't think we are going to have that little 'Sin City menu' talk? Absolutely we are going to! Because he is going to make double or triple off this sick, horny American who is sitting across from him. Mark: Yeah. Tim: Right? It is so unbelievable! When I saw Amnesty International’s policy, I thought there is no way, there is no way they are going to vote. Sane minds will prevail here. And they didn't. Mark: Who voted for it? Tim: It is the board of Amnesty International. This is a powerful organization that has done good in the world - they are all about human rights. They have done good in the world to protect innocence. Mark: Well, traffickers are humans. They have the right to traffick. Tim: Traffickers have rights too, I guess. Mark: Apparently. So now... Tim: It is unbelievable.   Mark: So now, Amnesty International, for the uninitiated like me, Amnesty International now goes and lobbies the UN, they lobby Washington, they lobby... Tim: They lobby countries all over the earth. They will be going and saying, "You need to decriminalize prostitution!" And don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in decriminalizing prostitutes. They should all be treated as victims, absolutely, even if they are saying, "I’m here because I want to be - arrest me!" No, we are going to treat you like... We don’t know your story. I agree with that, that’s right. But what they do is, because the sex worker can’t provide her service if johns are scared to come buy them. So, who they are really protecting are the johns and the pimps. And they say that in their legislation, or in their proposed legislation. They say that... They don’t call them pimps, they are very careful with all the wording, but they call them 'security': 'security for the prostitutes'. Mark: They call them security? Tim: They need to have their infrastructure, they need to have their security, which means that there could be other people helping and facilitating in their business. So, it is unbelievable. Now, will there be a prostitute that would benefit from this? Will there will be a prostitute that would say, "I truly do want to be here"? Absolutely! I believe there are prostitutes who want to be there. And might they say, "We need this policy so that we can sell ourselves freely and be sex workers by choice," and all this, and this would help them. Yes, that would help them, but you have to weigh that against the twelve 12-year-olds who are sitting in the tractor trailer down the road from the legitimate brothel. Mark: Whom you have seen. Tim: I have seen them! They are everywhere! There are 2 million of them. And you have completely thrown them under the bus because you are so worried about the few prostitutes who want to be there, who love their job, and whatever. Mark: The company guys. Tim: I can’t say I am completely unsympathetic to that - maybe that is what their choice is and I am a libertarian in that way. I want people to be able to choose. But it is a balancing act and when you are choosing that over the children who will now be raped because you have provided the infrastructure for them to be raped, you are in the wrong. I mean, it is so clear that you are in the wrong. I know from our perspective, you know, we spend a lot time in the trenches and we see this. Perhaps the folks from the Amnesty haven’t. I have to assume they haven’t seen this, and see how easy they are making it now for children to be raped.

Mar 10, 2016

Interview w/ Tim Ballard & Mark Mabry Tim: The guy’s name was Marble. Mark: Marble the child molester. Tim: His name was Marble, and he looked like a marble. El Centro childporn... Mark: Child Fugitive Caught in Calexico? 'Child Pornography Fugitive Caught in Calexico Port' Tim: No. Mark:  Imperial Valley Press. 'A man suspected of having child pornography was arrested in Calexico, El Centro, indicted in child sex crime'. Tim: Is his name Marble? Mark: Man, Imperial... "An Imperial man was arrested on suspicion of possession of child pornography on Tuesday, after authorities allegedly found child pornography on his computer. Homeland Security investigators, special agents began investigating local internet activity about child pornography."


  Intro: You are listening to Slave Stealer. "It is a world that I know I understand better than most people, but you don’t even know how real and how huge it is. There are laws put in place to protect kids, and one of the laws, surprise, surprise, is you can’t sell them. If you guys are traffickers, you’d come in just like this. This is what happens. This is the core of the problem."   Tim: Welcome to Slave Stealer podcast. I am here shouting too loud for... Mark: You broke the mike! Tim: ...with co-host Mark Mabry, but we welcome you, and this is our kind of Throwback Thursday version We’re just going to talk about couple of interesting things that we think you should know about.    Mark: One in particular... People ask, "Do you do domestic work?" "Is everything overseas?" So, I want a domestic Throwback Thursday. Tim: Yeah, we... See, it’s interesting. We... I say about half our, half our case load right now is domestic, but the domestic cases are the ones we cannot readily talk about because they are generally more sensitive, because they require more... They require a different set of tools, they are law enforcement sensitive - a lot of software, a lot of techniques that require us to go online and do things that we can’t reveal to the public because there are countermeasures that the bad guys could utilize if they knew what we were doing. So...  Mark: Like what? Tim: Well, let me...let me just tell you and ruin every case we have pending! So yeah, we do a ton of domestic work, but because of the nature of it, we don’t get to talk too much about it. We let our law enforcement partners talk about it. They come out with a press release, and then we just point our donors to it. And they are usually kind enough to mention us in it, and we leave it at that.   Mark: Yeah. What do you find... Before we jump into that, give me like kind of a glossary of key elements for this story that...a few little background tidbits that will help us understand things that you are going to say in the story. Are there any like technical things we need to understand? Tim: No, I mean, you should just know that things like child pornography and acquiring children, in the United States in particular, are readily available on the internet - mostly in the dark web. These are the places that Google is not going to reach.    Mark: You mean Google does not reach everything? Tim: Google does not reach everything. There are many parts of the internet that are impossible for Google to reach, and these are the places where the pedophiles flock to. They network, they trade in child pornography, they negotiate child sex deals, and we are way behind in terms of our response to this. And so - when I say we,  I mean the nation, law enforcement in general - and so we are working to better the solution to that problem - building software, working with some of the most advanced technology companies on the planet, working with the top U.S. officials in this area. And we are building tools that will allow law enforcement to go into these dark places and root out these bad guys.    Mark: Are there...on the market right now - or not on the market, in the space right now - there are software solutions that are good. What are some of the good guys out there with great software that are busting... Is Thorn? Tim: Oh, absolutely yeah! So Thorn, which is Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's foundation - they have internet computer gurus/engineers who are constantly in a think tank developing software. They have developed tools, for example - and they have been open about this - tools that allow law enforcement to identify when a child is actually soliciting himself or herself. And the reason... And it has to do with how they are writing the post. Now, the posts look like they are coming from some pimp, but the pimp takes the kid and forces them to write their own advertisement on Backpage or Craigslist, or different social media networks - Facebook. And so it looks like it is coming from an adult.   Mark: Or a kid. Looks like it is coming from an adult, but it’s a kid. Tim: They are trying to make it look like it is coming from an adult, or that a pimp is negotiating the deal, when in fact the child himself or herself is writing it. Mark: Under duress. Tim: Under duress. And so the software actually has...looks for key identifiers that would indicate that it’s a child.   Mark: Voiceprint things. Tim: And then they would...yes, and verbage and different things. And then that would allow law enforcement to go solicit that individual in their current capacity to pull them out and find them. So that’s some software that Thorn is involved in building.    Mark: That’s cool! Way to go Demi and Ashton Kutcher - on the good guy list. Tim: Good guy list. Mark: Ok, that’s... Let’s storm straight into the story that I’d like you to tell today. It happened in Imperial Valley. Talk to me. Tim: So it was, again it was... We identified somebody through means I can’t reveal, but it was somebody who was dealing in the dark net. Mark: Now, we were there doing some training. Can you reveal that? Tim: Yeah. I mean that’s how...that’s how it started. We were training... Mark: Yeah, walk me through the whole story. Tim: We went down to Imperial County and we trained law enforcement - several agencies - on how to go on the dark net and find people who are trading in child pornography. And during the training, we found this manual, this 'how to' manual. And it was multiple pages - I want to say somewhere between 40 and 50 pages long. Mark: How to what? Tim: Well, I am getting to that, ok. It’s 'how to'... Mark: Oh, you are saving that? Tim: I am saving that, yeah, the punchline. Mark: Awesome. Stay tuned. Tim: ...how to court and ultimately rape a child. That’s what the manual was. And it said things like - and this is something that had been traded amongst many pedophiles... Mark: So this manual has a title on it in pretty script that says, 'How to court and rape a child'? Tim: I don’t...I can’t tell you that that is the exact language, but that is what the manual was. And it talks about everything from how do you find a child - "well, find a niece or nephew that has friends and invite them over," like starting there. And then from there, these are the kind of gifts you can give them, here's the kind of things you can say to them so they trust you...and then it takes you down this whole dark horrific path to the point where you are controlling this child completely and abusing them sexually. Mark: So you had... You found this manual in the training on the dark web. Tim: On the dark web, being traded by someone who was in Imperial County. And then following up... And again, I can’t get into details of how we did this, but following up, we were able to - in an undercover capacity - able to ascertain the same person also possessed quite a bit of child pornography: child rape videos and images. Mark: And then what? Tim: And then, after that, we decided that this training should end with the search warrant for this individual’s home being at least mostly written. And that’s what we did. And so we were able to do the training, come back a week or so later after they got the paperwork in place, judge signed the warrant, and we were able to accompany the Imperial County sheriff’s office as they raided the home of this individual and seized his computer and talk to him. Mark: Are you allowed to say his name? Tim: Sure, yeah! He’s been convicted, it’s open, it’s public - his name is, his last name is Marble. Mark: That is such a creepy pedophile name. Tim: Why? Mark: Marble. I don’t know, that’s like a movie character name. Tim: Yeah. Mark: "Mr. Marble, we’d like to have a look around." So, were there any big or little surprises at the house? Tim: So, yeah, a couple funny things... As law enforcement breached the door, he instantly said - we didn’t tell him why we were there - the minute the door was breached, he said, "Other people have been using my computer too!" "Well, we didn’t say we were here for your computer," you know, "I’m not the only one, who uses it!" So it was obvious - he ended up confessing everything. And it was... Some of these cases get depressing, you know. You want to hate these guys completely because of what they are doing and the threat they pose. He actually told one of the sheriff deputies: "It’s a good thing you caught me," because, he said, he was in the process of being a foster parent to a 7-year-old girl. And he said, "If I got that little girl, I was going to rape her. That’s why I was doing it. So it is a good thing you caught me." And a lot of these guys, from my experience, do say that. They admit that they are monsters. And they don’t like that they are in this place. And some are almost relieved to get caught and be put away before they can really hurt somebody. I mean, it’s like they’ve lost control of their lives - they are so addicted to this horrific desire and passion and everything else. And so this guy in the interrogation, the thing that made it kind of sad... And we have video of him, we can probably put at least part of the video up on the website - he started talking about his life and how he was sexually abused as a child. You know, we talk a lot about how people can become addicted to child pornography because they start looking at pornography and that changes their brain - it basically creates brain damage, shrinkage in the brain, because of the overstimulation of the frontal lobes of the brain because that’s what people are going for, right, trying to get this chemical reaction and they overuse it and they overrun it and that ruins their life. It hurts their opportunity to have a normal, healthy, romantic relationship, you know, because their brain is now demented, and porn is the only thing that they recognize as fulfilling that need. It’s really sad. That’s a choice people make, like drugs. And it takes them to a dark place where they end up in jail. And all the guys - everyone who is a pedophile abusing children - are a threat to children and need to go to jail. But this case was a little bit different, and we see this often too. When you are abused as a child and that becomes your first sexual experience... And I’ve talked to so many psychologists to try to understand these guys - these guys that we're investigating, interrogating. And they said it is absolutely true: when your first sexual experience as a child or a teenager, whatever that experience is, that becomes what your brain, as it’s still forming... It’s still, really physically hasn’t formed completely and so it’s still taking ideas and concepts and ingraining them into your person. And so sex becomes, to these kids who are being molested, can become a relationship that is defined by an adult and a child. And that’s what their brain recognizes as sex. So when they get older, and they start developing their sexuality, what they know to be that sexuality is relationships, sexual relationships, between an adult and a child. So they then become the offender.    Mark: Now, to be clear, not every child that was molested grows up to become an offender... Tim: Absolutely. Mark: ...or has that predisposition. Tim: Absolutely. That’s not... Yeah, it’s not every...it’s certainly not every person who is abused, but it happens quite a bit. Mark: It’s a factor in a lot of people we catch. Tim: It’s a factor, and in the case of this man, that’s what he was telling us - that he had been abused. And I mean, you listen to the interrogation and it makes you sad. You know he needs to go to jail because he is a threat. He admits himself he needs to go to jail and he’s a threat. But when you hear his story, you realize how tragic this whole thing is. It’s so cyclical.   Mark: Is there a more... And I love to hear you say that and it breaks my heart too, because there’s...seems like it’s really easy, and we do it frequently. Some of the bad guys, like Fuego and these guys that we bust that are selling kids - they are horrible monsters. And then there are guys like Marble who...there’s a high degree of sympathy where you're like, "Man, I’m just sad for your ruined, shattered life that started out ruined and shattered and you were left to try to pick up the pieces." Like, how do you go about your job sympathetically or empathetically? You know what I am saying?   Tim: You just carry that sadness with you, but you don’t regret for one second putting the guy behind bars. Mark: Yeah. Tim: Because there’s nothing more important than children and their safety and the preservation of their innocence. So they have to go to jail. And you just look at them and you are sympathetic to their plight, and you hope that they can have redemption and they can somehow be healed from their brain damage.   Mark: You know, it’s interesting. Our intro music on the Slave Stealer podcast is - you know the intro sequence where you are talking about, "They look like you, and this guy and that guy" - that actually took place in an interrogation room in Haiti. And you can see it on "The Abolitionists", the documentary that is coming out on April 8th, that you are actually lecturing me. It was our very first op that I accompanied you on and we busted those two ladies who were selling kids, and I said to you, "Man, I’m a little torn up here." Do you remember that?    Tim: Yeah, absolutely! Mark: And you went off and you were like, "Listen, this is hard," and you essentially said the same thing. But I understand it now with a little more time under my belt.   Tim: Yeah. Look, you never... And it’s, it was a shocking thing for me when I started doing these cases - and this is outside even child cases, drug cases, any kind of case. There is an element of human sadness when you are taking someone from their family - even as bad as they are, there are people that love them and can’t believe they made these decisions. And you are the guy taking them away in handcuffs and putting them in jail for a long time. And you can’t help but feel an element of human sympathy, you know. And you don’t know what decisions led, you know, what things happened to this person that led them to make these decisions. But that doesn’t mean for a second that you don’t wish they were in jail. Mark: Yeah. Tim: You know they need to go to jail, but it’s rarely this total victorious, just, "Yeah, we did this!" You know, it’s... There can be some of that, but the whole thing is sad. The whole thing is tragic. It is tragic for everybody involved, especially for the victims, especially for the children, the parents. But also, in some ways, for the bad guys... Mark: Yeah. Tim: But it doesn’t mean you stop doing it. Mark: I think that’s a great little Throwback Thursday moment. Sign us off, man. Tim: Thanks for tuning in, and we will see you next time on Slave Stealer podcast.

Mar 7, 2016

Tim, Mark & Marisol Interview 00:00 Tim: When you rape a child, you lose rights forever. That’s it! You lose rights forever. Somehow we don’t understand this. And again, you can serve your sentence and everything else, but you still have lost rights. One of those rights you lose is you don’t get to travel around the world with anonymity. We are going to talk about where you are. We are going to watch you. Is that so unreasonable? I mean, the argument is that, well if they travel to some place like Iran and we tell the Iranian Government, they might kill him. Well, you know what, that is his choice to travel to Iran after raping children. Don’t rape kids! How about that?! Let’s start with that. 00:36 Mark: If you do it twice, we are sending you to Iran with a big tag on your head, ‘I rape kids’. 00:40 Tim: That should be the punishment, right? That should be the sentence. 00:42 Marisol: We do that for terrorism and we give up their rights that way. It should be no different. Intro 00:50 You are listening to Slave Stealer. 00:54 Tim: It is a world I know and understand better than most people, because you don’t even know how real and how huge it is. There have been laws put in place to protect kids, and one of the laws - surprise, surprise - is that you can’t sell them. If you guys are traffickers, you have come in just like this. This is what happens, this is the core of the problem.


Tim: Marisol, thank you for joining us on Slave Stealer podcast. Marisol: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Tim: Marisol Nichols is our friend, and actress, and social activist. She has been on ‘Criminal Minds’, ‘24’, ‘Blind Justice’, ‘NCIS’ - all these cop shows. Does that have anything to do...or is that just a coincidence with your passion to fight crime?   Marisol: I am sure it does. I am sure it does. I did so much resource playing different kinds of cop roles and agent roles and stuff that it just kind of, by default, dealt with me into this world.   Tim: Tell us about your foundation, and we’ll talk about how we met and what we are doing together with you. Marisol: Sure! So I have got involved in trafficking maybe three or four years ago, and the whole reason I started my foundation was... Well, there are a couple of reasons. One was, like, the more I learned, the more I found out about it, the more I was like, "I have to do something." I can not do something. It can’t be something that I can sit back and say, "Those poor people over there, how horrible for them." That’s… I can’t sleep at night unless I do something. And there were many, many, many nights that I wouldn’t sleep because the more I learned, the more, you know, horrific it is. So forming my own foundation - it was sort of a natural thing that came out of meeting with different organizations and legislators - you know, the people that live and work in this field - to see how I could help, what could I do. I have, you know, many, many friends in the business, both in front of the camera and behind the camera, and anyone and everyone I would talk to were like, “What can I do? How can I help?” And because of that is how I started doing these briefings and big events, educating a particular audience about what is happening not only in our world and on our planet, but also in our own backyard. Tim: So, question for you, because I don’t know the answer to this question but it bugs me. I mean, this is the greatest plague on the planet. There is nothing worse than this and yet, we, our presidential candidates, aren’t talking about it. It is kind of still a vague word, you know, people, trafficking… What is going on? Why can’t people see it? Marisol: Two reasons. And I don’t actually even blame people for not seeing - I blame the people that are in charge of our entertainment. I blame...I really do, I truly do, because I think that we have created a world where we can’t get purposely distracted by Kardashians and social media and whatever other things that they want coming down the line as a buzzword of the week. So we don’t pay attention to what is really really going on. And that our news channels are not very forthcoming - some of them are really wonderfully, will do pieces on it and pieces on it, but to me, like you said, is nowhere near fit to what is needed. And I am sure that you have had this strange [inaudbile] that when you do meet people that find out about it, their world is completely rocked and they are completely changed and they want to help. Tim: Yep. Marisol: And I honestly believe that there are, you know, certain forces out there that don’t want to see this end. Mark: Name names. Marisol: Well look, who is profiting? I mean, you can follow money: who makes the most money from this? Whether it is sex slavery or labor bondage or what. Who is making money from this? And you can trace it back and trace it back. And Tim hit it right on the head - why aren’t our presidential candidates talking about this? This is a huge issue; it is bigger than anything. Tim: Yeah. Marisol: He is right. Why isn’t there a giant spotlight on who is profiting from that? Who is benefitting and keeping people enslaved? Tim: It boggles my mind, but I do believe like you believed it - if we can get people to see it and they become converts, our politicians will have to start talking about it if there is a demand for that subject.   Marisol: Exactly. Tim: And we are not yelling loud enough yet. We are trying to yell loud and be a voice for these victims. Now you got to come with us - we took you down to visit some of the victims that we had rescued in Haiti, and then on our way back we stopped in an unnamed city. Marisol actually went undercover with us, and... Tell me, tell me about the whole experience, how you felt seeing those kids. And then, I mean, you kind of got this cool experience where you got to see these victims and, all of a sudden, you are thrown into this - one of the people who travels and abuses these kids, one of the partakers. What was that like?     Marisol: It is haunting because it is one thing to read about the issue, talk about the issue, hear the stories, look at videos; it is another thing to see it firsthand, and particularly meeting the abuser... I mean, this was... You know, you wouldn’t recognize him down the street. You’d think this is your college guy, this is your neighbor, this is your… You know, he looks like an everyday Joe. And the casualness in which he would talk about doing these things to girls was astonishing and also heart-breaking. You realize that these are human beings, right? You realize that you are talking about someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, one day hopefully...   Tim: Yeah. Marisol: And it was....you know, it was haunting because you go, “Ok, that is the mindset that allows this to occur.” That is the mindset - partyyy, woohoo, or whatever it is. It was haunting; it stayed with me. Tim: And can you tell us...what was the role you were playing? You were awesome, by the way, and it was obviously natural. You know, it’s funny... People think like, you know, like undercover operators... Just because you are a cop, you think you are going to be good in undercover work. It is not true. And when I was in the law enforcement, it was difficult to find good undercover operators because, again, it is not inherent to a police officer. It is more an actor or actresses, and that is where you were being able to pull it up. So, tell us what role you played in that?   Marisol: Yeah. So, I was playing the person who sets up the sex parties basically, who sets up the situation for men to come and abuse these girls. You know, it was very, very like spur of the moment. I think we had, what, half an hour to plan it or something. Tim: Yeah. Marisol: You know, when I saw that the only way I am going to pull this off with this guy is if I pretend to be one of those people that just don’t care. Mark: What did you do? Give me some lines. Marisol: You know, I have... I did things like, “Hey, yeah, you know, it’s all good.” Tim: Yeah, she was sitting like really sexy, like just loosey-goosey. It was perfect. And the guy was like watching her more than anything else, and he understands that she will be able to get girls for us, better than we can get them on our own. Marisol: One of the facts that I was surprised to learn about is that some of the traffickers are girls - they are. And they lower young girls just as men do. Tim: Even better. Mark: Let’s say you get a big role as a trafficker on a film coming out in a couple of years. What do you do to prepare? Marisol: It is interesting because prior to coming into this world, you know that there are evil people out there, but you think, you know, you just don’t have that much reality. And then playing the trafficker or playing someone like this...now I’ve started to play some sort of, you know, one or two bad guys here and there, and I am like, “Oh no, no, no, it is 100% evil with no remorse and no feeling and no nothing.” That is how you would have to be to do this. You have to be one of those people, that ‘there is nothing left’. Tim: You are looking into their eyes when you see these people - I mean there is no soul. I mean, it is like past feeling. It is just unbelievable. Like the woman we have talked about, the trafficker, the beauty queen, who was going and luring these girls at 9, 10 years old, telling them that she will teach them to be famous. She is famous, she is also in music videos, and the families were sending their kids with her. And she is going and selling them to us who she believed were men coming down to violate. And Marisol, you talked about this guy we met and you played your undercover role... I mean, I am literally sitting here, we are late for the podcast, I have twenty dudes sitting here, and they look just like that guy. I mean, I have a couple - I am not kidding you - I have a couple right now who are coming together to abuse who they believe to be a 13, a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old. And they are all excited - they tell me what they are going to do and they both want to do it together. They will be arrested next week when they show up. Marisol: It sound like how can you not do everything you possibly can, and, like, why aren’t there writings on the streets, why aren't we talking about this? It should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. And I believe that if we did, it really would end it fast.   Tim: Yes. And the problem is this concept that people think, "Well, I have heard of it, but law enforcement is taking care of it. The government can take care of it." And not to slam the government, but it is too big of a problem. There are 30 million plus slaves, depending on what numbers you look at, 2 million at least or more, probably, kids in the sex slave industry. If people knew… And it reminds me of the slavery in the 19th century where it was the same thing. They were not talking about it. It was just like people knew what was happening, but: "Oh, the government will take care of that." It wasn’t until people learned through, like, abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote "Uncle Tom’s Cabin." It wasn’t until the people rose up and it got so loud that the government said, “Oh crap, we better do more, we better do something.” And then you start to stop it. We can do it, we can stop it! Marisol: And it comes down to people demanding that the government do something about it. These are just demands that it will end, and it will end it. But you need multitudes and multitudes of people demanding, showing more, and educating others to really put an end to this. But it can be done. I believe you, 100% it can be done. Mark: I have a question, Marisol. In your dealings with trafficking, who were the good guys? Why don’t we just start shouting out people that are amazing? You may have worked with them directly or not, you have known them or are friends of yours. Marisol: Yeah, ok! Well, first of all, Tim, Tim Ballard, whom I met at Osborne - for sure, 100% top of the list. Tim: Thank you, you are so nice. Marisol: What they do is incredible. And I have mentioned it before, but it is when you first learn about this, you are, “Let’s go get the kids. Can we just go and just get the kids?” And that is what they do. Mark: Yes. Marisol: And I mean that is vital. There is, obviously, a lot more they are doing. There are so many people doing this particular fight. There is Kim Biddle, from an organization called Saving Innocence in Los Angeles, that has dedicated her life. She is this beautiful, brilliant, brilliant girl, gorgeous, and she has dedicated her entire life to saving girls from trafficking and then rehabilitating them and seeing it through, like seeing it all the way through - not put them in a home and walk away, but seeing all the way through until the girl graduate from the home, goes to college and has her entire life back. She is dedicated. Mark: More influencers... Anyone in your world, acting world? Who are the good guys in trafficking? Marisol: There was this one movement that Sean Penn and other celebs got involved in and it was quick, but it really made a difference. It was "Real Men Don't Buy Girls." I don’t know if you remember that, but it was a whole Twitter and hashtag thing, and they got giant celebs to do this. And I thought it was really effective because people look up to actors, musicians, incredible artists as opinion leaders. For these guys to stand up there and say real men don’t buy girls... I thought it setted up a little bit which was really, really good to set a precedent of like, "Hey, who are we looking at that really does this?" and maybe, maybe make someone think twice about it. There needs to be more. I mean, just to be honest, we need more shows focusing on it. We need more episodes of crime shows focusing on it and really telling the stories. On "Law and Order: SVU," they have done a fairly good job on that because that is their ‘Sexual Victims Unit’ - that is the entire title of the show - but I believe we need more.  And recently - I don’t know if you saw "Room," but "Room" did a really good job of taking you through a girl’s experience, what it would be like to be trapped and under the control of someone else who is monitoring your every single move. I don’t know if you know the story, but she was trapped for seven years and had a baby by the trafficker and eventually escaped. And this particular story in this movie did such a good job. But it is based on so many cases of girls being trapped in the exact same way, having children from their traffickers, all of it… And it really... I thought they painted a really great picture of what it is like for the victim, and they do sort of wake up, like, “Wait, this exists. This happened.”       Mark: Are there certain writers or studios or groups that do a better job of talking about trafficking, and are they getting the ratings when they do it? Marisol: That is a really good question. There are definitely episodes that focus on it, but not anyone where I can, “Oh yeah, this particular writer," or, "Fox is dedicating an entire series to this,” or anything like that. It is still not there. And, like anything right now, it is just an episode or two that would be dedicated to it rather than an entire show. Is that make sense? But when they do air, they make just as equal ratings as they would any other crime, because it usually goes on crime shows. What I would like to see is that at the end of those things, "To find out more, go to www..." or statistics. Mark: Yes. Marisol: Or, like, “Hey, this is actually based on a real case,” to get the audience going, “I had no idea.” Because anything that is based on real life events will always get more interest. Mark: Do you feel like we speak about trafficking correctly? In general, how it is messaged? How should it be messaged in your opinion, if you were PR for the movement? Marisol: If I was PR for the movement, I would call it slavery. I would call it modern-day slavery and I would make sure that it was on the forefront of everything. And I would really, really, really validate the people who rescue the kids - not only OUR, but also police officers, FBI agents, sheriffs...because when I would tell people, they would go, “Why isn’t the police doing anything about it?” I am like, “Because the police is the same people who have to respond to a burglary, to a murder, to a cat caught up in the tree, to all of it.”     Mark: Yeah. Marisol: And I think if we started validating more and more the officers and sheriffs and agents that are focusing on this, and on getting results, freeing girls, and, most importantly, putting the traffickers away... I think the more validation you give that, or anything, the more of that we will get. Mark: Yeah. Marisol: You know, there is a fascination with murder. You know, there are a thousand TV shows about murder, about this, and I have been in all of them, so I do know. And I think we need to shift our focus, because, for one, I think you get whatever you validate. So, if you validate that, you are going to get more of it. We can use that to our advantage and validate those guys that are doing this, and not only getting the girls, but arresting those traffickers and making sure it sticks. Because it is not easy. And I know this from law enforcement, I know this from meeting with different legislators, and all of that. It is that trafficking is not an easy thing to prosecute.   Mark: It is not. Marisol: It is crazy to me, and I have certain ideas that I am working with to make it a lot easier and what I think could be done. But we will get to that whenever you are at that point of the program.   Mark: Well no, if you have certain ideas, let those out. Marisol: What is hard, at least in this country, is you have to get a victim to testify against her trafficker and the johns just walk free: "Well, she approached me," or, "I don’t know… answered an ad," blah blah blah… There is an existing law in the book called statutory rape that doesn’t matter if the girl was consensual or not. It doesn’t matter at all. So if you would start prosecuting johns and traffickers with statutory rape, you don’t have to get the girl to go through a whole testimony, and how he forced her, anything. Is she under the age of 17 or not? Tim: Yeah. Marisol: That... It is done. And when you start prosecuting johns and traffickers with rape, that is a different story now. Tim: Yeah. Marisol: And charging traffickers, by the way, with facilitation of late, where you are creating an environment, where a girl can be raped extremely easily, should be under the age of 17, it is done. Tim: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, a lot of our approaches to this is all about figuring out how to prosecute these cases without needing to put the victim on the stand. These victims are so... They have been so terrorized and so rewired. For their own well-being, you don’t want to put them on the stand to have them have to relive this. Also, they are not the best witnesses because they do not know who they are, they don’t know who to trust. And so, this solution of prosecuting different crimes to get around that is one approach. Something we are doing, especially in foreign countries, is we do these sting operations and film everything. And they don’t really do that, especially in developing nations. We film every part, from the day we meet the trafficker until we buy the kid. And so, at the end of the day, we just give a hard drive to the prosecutor, and it is like they are watching the movie, and they say, “We don’t need to put the kid on the stand because we have the true intent of this trafficker from seventeen different angles."    Marisol: Yeah. And you know, Tim, I have had these conversations with Lieutenant Mark Evans, who is head of all Los Angeles Vice and all of the trafficking in Los Angeles on the Valley side, and he is like, “We would do this if the DA/district attorney would prosecute.” So my next step is to meet with DA and go, “Would you prosecute them?” Because all depends on are they going to prosecute a case like that or not. The cops can actually charge them with anything that they want, so if we just start instilling the mindset... And also johns... Can we just take a moment about the customers? Because if, right now - and I don’t know if this is the case all over, but at least in California, you know - let’s say there is a 12-year-old-girl. Someone answered an ad on Backpage and went to a motel and had sex with the 12-year-old girl. And the guy is 55 years old - he gets a slap on the wrist and he goes to john school and he gets a misdemeanor and gets it wiped from his record, just like traffic school. I don’t understand - how that is ok? Tim: Yeah… It is not ok. Marisol: And if we started prosecuting the johns with statutory rape, and you advertise that, you are going to take away the demand a lot faster. Tim: Absolutely. Marisol: Because people don’t like to be charged with rape by any means. But right now, there is no consequence. Tim: Yeah. Marisol: There is no consequence. They walk free. It doesn’t matter. So there are mindsets and things that can be changed within our already existing laws, at least in this country, that I believe can go a long way towards making a difference. Continuing with the customers... And then, as the johns get arrested and as they do get prosecuted, or even just arrested, why are we protecting them? If you look on the back of a newspaper, or whatever, you can read like who got arrested for what, drunk driving, blah blah blah blah, but you can get arrested for this and it is not there.    Tim: Yeah. Marisol: So I think we should make the johns, particularly the rich white guys, pay for a billboard with their face and their mugshot in their neighborhood. Tim: The Queen of Sweden did this. She did this thing where if you got caught trying to have sex with a child, you got your face plastered on a billboard for everyone to see. And guess what happened? They stopped. They stopped soliciting kids in Sweden. They left. It is exactly what we need to do. Marisol: Exactly. Tim: Unfortunately, there are a lot of groups out here who would stop us from doing that. Trying, worrying about child rapist rights. Marisol: It is insane to me. And I think, I honestly believe, Tim, that if we could get the certain people in the government that are not scared of that, we could push something like that through. But what I have run into in meeting on the local state and federal level is you get guys that are just, "Oh no, we can’t do that. We will be fought,” and they don’t even try. But I believe if you would try hard enough, we could push something like that through just based on the statistics alone that you ended this.      Tim: These politicians answered to the people. If we would get the people loud enough, then they would say, "Of course, I will put their face on a billboard!" Because the people are demanding it, and that is where we need to start this, right. And that is what you are doing - that is what we are doing - is trying to create this grassroots movement - get so loud that these guys have to start doing stuff like this. History tells us that they will do it if we get loud enough. Mark: You mentioned politicians that are scared, and we don’t know what the exact story is on H.R.515 right now, which is before Congress, which is a big cause that we are going to take up.     Marisol: Which one is that? Mark: It is International Megan’s Law. Marisol: Oh great, yes! Ok. Mark: It will allow better communication between governments as bad guys travel abroad and come in. Right now, you cannot really get the information quickly enough to be actionable intelligence. Now, it went through the House, it went through the Senate, the Senate put some amendments on it, threw it back to the House - now it has a 15% passage rate. We have got a brilliant girl from the Podcast Congressional Web that just dissects bills. She is amazing.    Marisol: Who? Who does she work for, do you know? Mark: She is, totally... It is just her, totally independent. Marisol: Oh, ok. Mark: I don’t know what her politics are. I have listened to her shows - I have no idea, which is beautiful to me. She just dissects bills and sees what the [inaudible], sees what the hold-ups are in...what day, I think February 10th, we are going to be on with her and she is going to walk us through the bill and dissect who is holding it up and why. Marisol: Great! Mark: That is going to be awesome, right? Tim: This thing has been in Congress for over a year. It is ridiculous. Now, I actually testified with [inaudible] of Utah. We testified before the House on this bill because we were so frustrated, like, “Why can’t you pass this?!” It is a place that actually creates what is called the Angel Watch Center, a center where non-profit, private groups, government groups all get together and they talk about... They bring intel together, they start communicating better. And like Mark was saying, it is a notification program. If some French child rapist/former convict comes into our country, they are going to tell us, “Hey, this guys is flying into JFK. You might want to either deny him entry or watch him,” you know. We did the same for other countries. And again, what the issue is is their rights, the criminal’s right to travel without being notified. Mark: As we start to find more about H.R.515, maybe we engage you. Marisol: I am looking at it right now and I am kind of seeing where possibly the hold-up is because they are talking about any sex offender, and what I found in the past of certain other laws was that the definition of sex offender also includes, like, the person who was caught urinating in a park drunk, and he is labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life. And they are using those cases to cause an uproar to stop the whole thing, and say it is discriminatory against them. It is a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense, but that is where I am guessing - it is a guess - some of the hold-up is. One of the things that could go a long way is we will prosecute people for aiding and abetting. If they knew about a murder or they knew about a robbery that was taken place - so they were the driver but they didn’t do it... But we don’t do this with [inaudible].     Tim: It is a great point. It is true. Marisol: That would be another angle to getting the johns going, "Hey, you knew about this?” to get prostitution illegal in this country. So, did you really answer an ad for a massage? Do you know what I mean? And cast a wider net when you can actually prosecute people for aiding and abetting, for helping along, for being an accomplice...you know, looking in terms of existent laws that we already have in the books and prosecute differently to make a bigger dent. Tim: Agreed. We could make a list and shout it out to the world: "So, here are the things that need a change," and just be loud. Get the footage, get entertainment industry, get everyone to be so loud - Harriet Beecher Stowe thing, right - and then say, "What do we do?" "Here is the list, call your congressmen, get this stuff changed." Let’s do it, we are going to do it! Alright. Thanks so much, Marisol, we will have you back soon. Marisol: Alright, thanks guys! Thanks for having me! Tim: Alright, thank you! You know, the thing done is at least there are people out there because what this requires to save kids... You have to think outside the box. Just like to get rid of slavery in America, you had to think outside the box. And the model we are proposing is this private public partnership where we need our law enforcement. They have the badges, they have their prosecutors, they have the jail system, they have the judicial system, they can do this. But the problem is, this is such a unique problem and it is so enormous you have to be proactive and creative. Because these…the bad guys are being creative, and most law enforcement agencies don’t have the wherewithal to cover the homicides, the drug dealers and all the things they have been fighting for years and years and are trained to do. And now, you have trafficking problem on top of that. It is relatively new in terms of trying to react to it and most don’t have the tools they need. And that is why I left the government. Because I recognized all the gaps in the agencies that were fighting this problem. Again, not to slam them, but there are gaps everywhere. I got turned down by half the time when I put out request to do an operation. I got shut down because of X,Y, or Z. I always kind of understood the reasons, and I thought, “Alright, I don’t see the government fixing these gaps anytime soon, so I am going to leave - start my own organization that fills those gaps.” So I can go to any agency and say, “I know your problems because I had them, and I am going to solve them for you. We will do this, this, that and the other.” And the law enforcement agencies that want to save their kids are like, “Yes, come on in!” and we go and conquer together in the private-public model.  There are other law enforcement officers who... I will not name them right now, but have them in my head right now, and I am pissed off at them. So close-minded. Mark: What did they say? Give me a conversation. Tim: "You shouldn’t be doing this work. This is just for us. This is for a SWAT law enforcement." "I was a SWAT law enforcement for 12 years, I know how to do this." "Well, you cannot do it. I do not like you doing it." “The parents of the kids, who are being abused - they like that we are doing it. And where we are working, no one is doing it." So there is no answer, no answer to it. It just the partners we work with - they are not this way. If you are this way, we don’t work with you. But you would be surprised how many come back and say that they literally gave up the opportunity to rescue more kids because of pride, because of ego, because if you don’t have a badge, you shouldn’t be consulting or helping or anything like that. They can’t see outside the box. And it is sad because kids are getting hurt. I have had a conversation, actually - and I will not name the people, the agency - but I have literally had a conversation that went like this: "So you are telling me that you or your boss would rather let these kids continue to be raped than work with a private organization that you know together we can solve the problem?" And they said, "Yes." Mark: Wow. Tim: They said yes. It wasn’t them... The person I was talking to said, “I want to do it, but yes that is... My boss has made that deliberate decision.” They don’t want to admit that they need help or that they don’t have a handle on it. It is sick, it is sad. But you know, you have all sorts of people, and the good news is that there are a whole bunch of law enforcement agencies out there and prosecutors all over the place that put the kids above everything else, and that is who we work with. Yep, that is who we work with. And there are so many of them that we don’t run out of work. So, you know, I was talking to some folks at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who are a wonderful asset - all law enforcement works with them on so many areas to find kids, to find child pornographers - such an amazing organization. And I was talking to them about some of my frustrations and they said, "You know what? We did the same thing." They went through the same thing in the 80’s when they created the organization. There was a major - and I won’t name the agency - a major agency in the United States government that actually put out a policy/memo to their agents, to their law enforcement, saying, "You will not work with this new National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. You will not work with them. We got this. We don’t need help."    Mark: Farm Bureau. Tim: Yeah. That was a farm bureau. You got it.    Mark: Gosh…you know, the pressure was their heyday. Tim: Between that and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, yeah... They just went...yeah, unbelievable. But now, guess what? That agency has agents in their office that work inside the National Center. And so they say, "Just don’t worry. Buck up, little Timmy. Just work with those that will work with you. And success will be built upon success." And so we just have to put the negative aside and put the haters aside and we will work with those who see the vision. And they are the best ones anyway. They are the ones who are getting it done. Mark: Today, more than any other day, in talking to you, I feel momentum. I feel really pumped. And I don’t know what you had for lunch, or what your pre-workout was, but you are on fire, man. You are going to kill it. Tim: You didn’t feel that before? Mark: I did. Tim: You jerk. Mark: I didn’t... I felt like... Tim: ...how to take a compliment and just throw it in the trash. Mark: No, listen. I have felt like you are pushing a boulder uphill before, but now I feel like the boulder is moving. You know what I am saying? Like, we were getting people and we're shedding light on the problem, but really I just feel a new energy and not sure what it is. Tim: Well, what you are feeling probably is... I am in the middle of a case. I am back in my... Mark: You are... Tim: ...I am back in my agent days right now as an employee of this law enforcement agency. It is… I have been given authorization to get back and get my hands dirty back in this. And when I do that, I get very energized. Well, friends, sign us off, Timmy. Buck up, little Timmy. Tim: Thanks for joining us, guys. Looking forward to see you again on Slave Stealer Podcast.

Feb 1, 2016
Timothy Ballard has met and arrested hundreds of child traffickers. They are different genders, ethnicities, ages, and religions, but what was the one thing they all had (have) in common? An addiction to pornography that started years before. In this bonus episode, Tim sites recent research about the effects of pornography on the human brain. He and his team, known as Operation Underground Railroad, often begin investigations into trafficking by following the trail of child pornography directly to traffickers on their way to act out the very things they have been watching in the videos. [caption id="attachment_12137" align="alignright" width="49"]Pornography is a root cause of Human Trafficking In Episode 003 of the Slave Stealer Podcast, Timothy Ballard points to pornography as a root cause of child sex trafficking. This infographic, by FightTheNewDrug.org supports his claim with anecdotes and evidence.[/caption]     Full Transcript: Intro: You are listening to Slave Stealer.   Timothy Ballard: Ok, welcome to Slave Stealer podcast, this is a bonus edition. This bonus edition has to do with the topic of: Pornography. Not something people love to talk about, especially, the evil effects of it. But it was a tangent, that we started talking about as a result of the Vicente Fox interview, that we did recently, and it is my opinion, and I think science backs it up, that pornography is, in fact, creating a lot of the demand that we are seeing for child sex. This is me diverging from a conversation about Vicente Fox, and I am hitting pornography, and talking about the true evil that it can be, and creating sex addicts who hurt kids. So, roll it! If you saw the amounts of child pornography, that are being transferred and distributed every single day, and we know this, because we have worked these cases with our partners. It is stunning! It is mind-blowing! And, the largest consumers of pornography in the world are from the United States. So, we are producing these sex addicts. And what are we doing about that? And, I am not satisfied with what the U.S. Government is doing about that. Mark Mabry: What do you propose they would do? Tim: Well, one thing is, we need to start talking about the evils of pornography. This is not popular. Why? Because 98% of guys are stuck in pornography. Mark: Do you think 98%? Tim: I think so. That is what the studies say. Mark: 98%? Tim: Yeah. Mark: Of guys? So, between me and you, you are looking at pornography a lot? Tim: I am in the 2%. Mark: Me too! Tim: Ok, well, congratulations!   Mark: It must be Chris over there, our sound guy. Tim: Yeah, Chris. How is your porn use these days? Chris: I guess, I am in that 98%. Mark: Oh, great! Wrong answer! Tim: So, what is hard about porn, the porn issue is, that not everybody, by long shot, who looks at pornagraphy, is getting end up raping children. But, I would say, 100% of men who rape children are porn addicts.  And so, like anything else it needs to be education around it, like it can be a drug. Pornography can be a drug. Mark: Yes. Tim: Especially if it is in certain levels, and it becomes an addiction, like any other drug. Like alcohol is a drug, right? So, people need to drink responsibly. We need to educate people, kids especially, about what pornography could lead to. I have arrested dozens and dozens of pedophiles. I have interrogated dozens and dozens of pedophiles over my career as a special agent, and also in the work we are doing with Operation Underground Railroad. And every single time when they talk, they talk about how it all started when they were 12 years old, when they picked up a Playboy, or they looked at this naked picture or whatever, and their mind starts going there, and then it is a progression. And, the science backs it up. You can go to our friends at fightthenewdrug.org, and they talk all about the science behind what this pornography... how it is in fact a drug. I mean, it over-stimulates the frontal lobes of the brain, it creates shrinkage in the brain. It creates brain damage. And, what happens to people who are addicted to it, it is not the naked pictures they are addicted to. What they are addicted to is the chemical reaction, the dopamine, the endorphins that the images produce in their brains. That is what they want, and they will do anything to get that. And, when the naked pictures aren’t working anymore, just like marijuana eventually starts to wear off on the use - I need to progress to something more powerful to get that same chemical reaction - and, frankly it is very similar chemical reaction to pornography. So, they need something to... they just want that reaction, they want that dose of dopamine. They know their brain can give them, but they have got to shot their brain now, because the adult stuff, the legal stuff ain’t working. Mark: When we were… Tim: So what they do..wait! Mark: Dude! I heard what you were saying. I am not interrupting.. Tim: But, I am about to end it. I am about to give my final line and you cut me off. So, what they turn to is Mark: It is a long final line. Tim: Well, it is powerful. Mark: Alright, let’s go. Tim: What they turn to is child pornography. That becomes their heroine, their crack, cocaine, and it shots their brain enough to get the reaction they need. And, these guys are almost brain-dead at this point, but they need something, and then when that wears off, they travel to Cancun, Mexico to find a child. And, again, a very small percentage of porn users end up in Cancun, Mexico, but there is enough, that there is 2 million children who are being sold for sex in the world.   Ending: Get more Tim and Mark at slavestealer.com.
Jan 29, 2016
  Interview w/ Timothy Ballard Mark Mabry January 11, 2016 Final Transcript   Intro: You are listening to Slave Stealer. Tim: Welcome to Slave Stealer podcast, where we take you into the dark world of trafficking so you can help us find the solution. We are talking here with co-host, Mark Mabry. Mark: That’s me. And we did a little change in format. This is part two of our ‘Meet Tim’ series, because he has had a really interesting story. And what I found amazing in getting to know Tim over the last few years, is that sacrifice of peace of mind, sacrifice of kind of this level of innocence that 99.9% of the rest of us enjoy. And, to recap, we talked about Tim’s story a little bit, how he got into child crimes, and how he was invited by HSI to be on that team, and then we talked about his family. He has got young kids, and his son is now 15. And, the birds and the bees talk is awkward enough. What about that talk about what dad does for a living?” Tim: Well, you know, yeah..Let me say this first: I was scared to death some 15 years ago when I was asked to enter this dark world of child crimes. And the thing that scared me the most was the fact that I had kids, and I didn’t know how that would affect me. Would I see an image that reminded me of my kids, would that make me a paranoid father, would that turn me... My wife was scared to death that I would turn into just some cynical, just bitter old dude. And I was scared to death. I mean, you’ve got to wade through the sewer to find the crap. Mark: And what if the pornography took, I mean, worst case scenario, you turn into somebody that is actually into it? Not that that would happen with you knowing you, but... Tim: You know, what I have found that’s..a lot of people think that, and they go there, but... Mark: Those people are stupid. Tim: The people who had that suggestion are really idiotic. No, but it’s a logical conclusion. But what I have found is, frankly, kind of the opposite. Because when you are exposed to children - unless you are a pedophile, right - when you are exposed to that, it makes you want to distance yourself even more from all things pornography. At least that was my experience, and as I watched other agents who I have worked with, who have to be exposed to this. It turns you off so much to the whole industry, even the legal part of it, because it’s so, frankly, similar that it actually, at least for me, it has had the effect of major deterrent, even from any temptation my own part to even look at regular pornography. Does that make sense? Mark: Yeah! Tim: And, for the child stuff, it is just a punch in the stomach every time, and it is worse and worse every time. And you learn how to cope, you learn how to be able to see this stuff and still move on. But, like in the last show, I was talking about how the first thing I want to do when I saw particular images or videos, is just grab my kids and bring them to the safest place I know, which is my home, and just hold them. And so the whole concept, the whole idea to your question of how I bring together these two worlds, of what I do outside versus what I do inside - you have to factor in all these things. But my kids do start asking questions. I was addressing a group that was doing a benefit for Operation Underground Railroad just two nights ago. And they had the kids there and they wanted me to talk about it, and it was so hard, because I’m sitting there, and they say, “Tell us what you do!”, and I’m going, “All right, well I’ll start...”       Mark: How old were the kids? Tim: Oh, the kids were as young as five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Mark: Oh, geez.. Tim: It was like all these neighborhood kids. And their parents wanted them to know that there are kids who are less fortunate and that we need to help them. That was the idea. So, I thought to myself, “I’ll start with the software that we are building.” The software is called ‘Stars’. It’s a pretty name. Until one of the kids says, “What does STARS stand for?” And it stands for Sex Traveler Apprehension Retention System, right? So, I say SEEEE ugh...I can’t say it, I can’t even say the name of the software! Mark: Super Terrific Apprehension... Tim: Yes! So, I couldn’t, and it was so..it’s so difficult. A little kid raises his hand after I’m talking about slavery in general terms, and he said, “Why would someone want to steal a child? Wouldn’t they rather steal an adult because they’d be better at being a slave and a stronger worker?” I just looked at this little kid, I was like, “I know exactly the truth of your question, I know how to answer that, but I cannot answer that.” And so these issues that I was grappling with at this charity event, are the same issues I grapple with every day with my kids. When they see something on the news, and with my small children I just tell them, you know, I help kids, we help kids, we help kids who’ve been kidnapped. That’s all they know, and they seem ok with that. But as they get older, they start asking questions. And it intersects at the same time that I need to start talking to them about the birds and the bees. My wife and I are very open, I mean, I think my job has made me the most desensitized to all things sex, like I can say anything to anyone, because the conversations that I have had with people, with perpetrators especially during interrogations, where we were talking about things, or undercover, where they’re selling me kids. There is nothing that makes me blush, right. So, I can just take my kids and sit down, and say, “Hey”, talk about everything, embarrassing things, everything from pornography to masturbation to dating and all this stuff. It is rare that we talk about that, somehow it leads to the fact that - again these are my more adolescent, teenage kids - it always leads to some kind of an explanation that they are asking me for about, “Why would an adult want to do that to a child?”      Mark: When they say THAT, what ..I mean.. Tim: I mean they kind of..they know, I mean, they figured it out. Mark: Yeah. Tim: They do, because they know what is what we’re talking about. And so, I think, in the world of child pornography and sexual abuse of children, you don’t want to be graphic with the kids at all, even with my teenage kids. I kind of let them just figure it out and let their brain stop them where they should be stopped, because the brain will do that. Mark: Oh, adults don’t even grasp it. Tim: Adults don’t grasp it. I was sitting with my father-in-law - a brilliant man, PhD - we were in his kitchen, this was when I was an agent, and I heard him, he started talking.. What had happened was that I arrested one of his friends - not like a close friend, right, but... Mark: ”So, what did you do today, Tim?” “Well, I busted Larry.” Tim: Right! Mark: I have heard this story. Tim: He knew this guy, he had been to his home. So he knew this guy, and he started saying, “You know...I kind of feel bad for this particular individual, because it’s not really their fault. I mean, these girls dress in a certain way that is provocative, and it is not totally their fault.” And, I’m just dying. I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, what?! You are telling me that a 5-year old puts on clothes, and now it’s not the pedophile’s fault that they look at the 5-year-old!” And his eyes almost popped out of his head! He says, “Five years old?! Why are you talking about 5-year-olds?!”     Mark: He’s thinking the 17 ½-year-old. Tim: He’s thinking 17, 16 years old, where you can’t really maybe tell the difference between a 17- and an 18-year-old, right. His eyes popped out of his head, and he says, “What?!” I said, “Yeah...Dad, you don’t know this, but what George was looking at was 5- to 7-year-old children, boys and girls, being raped, ok?” Mark: They sent a picture in the tub. Tim: Exactly. Being raped by adults. And he just kind of put his head down, shook it, and he said, “Now, that is weird..” I remember he said, ”That is just weird...”, and he walked out of the kitchen. He couldn’t handle it, and I don’t blame him. Our minds don’t even let us go there. And this is the problem. This is the problem that, frankly, is the obstacle to the solution. And the problem is we don’t want to see, we don’t want to believe it. I remember in the very beginning, in the early 2000s, when we were taking cases, child porn cases, to the judges, federal judges and state judges on pornography cases, on child pornography cases. And they were sentencing them to the most minimal sentences. Like this one guy had this collection that was unbelievable, categorized it by the names - he would name the kids in the videos, and create little files for them. It was unbelievable. He had hundreds of thousands of videos, images and everything else. And when the judge sentenced him, he sentenced him to four or five months in jail, but weekends only.            Mark: What?! Tim: And, I thought, “What is going on?!” The prosecutor I was working with, she said, “You know, the problem, Tim, is they don’t get it.The judges don’t get it!” They don’t get it. And we asked the judges if we could please show..during the sentencing they brought me in, and said, “Agent Ballard wants to show you the images.” He said, “I don’t want to see that junk! I don’t want to see that junk.” He’s embarrassed to even look at it. The human side of him doesn't want to even watch him looking at it, so he says, “I don’t need to see, I don’t need to see it!” So, we didn’t show it to him, and then that sentence came out. I guarantee you, I guarantee you that he doesn’t want to accept it. You know, the reports indicated that the kids were as young as five or four years old. His brain - my theory - wouldn’t let him grasp it, wouldn’t let him grasp it. And so he just gave him this super light sentence. But if I would have just opened that laptop, and say, “You have to watch this, you need to see this.” Now, I’m not advocating for showing child porn to people.    Mark: Exactly. Tim: At all! At all! Mark: But, maybe we emphasize, highly illegal: if you download this, even for altruistic, I’m-going-to-expose-myself, but...   Tim: You will go to jail. Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Mark: Yes! Tim: But what I’m telling you is, be aware that it is there, and we have got to talk about it. It hurts...You mentioned that when you talk about this, and this is why people don’t want to talk about it, you hit the nail in the head: you lose part of your own innocence. Mark: Absolutely. Tim: And every time you talk about it, some more of your innocence, even as adults, it goes away. You have to sacrifice that, but you sacrifice it for the kids. Because if we don’t sacrifice a part of our innocence to know this is happening, they have no hope, because we are the adults, we are the ones who will...if anyone’s going to save them, it is going to be the adults, that have the power and the influence and the ability. But if we don’t know about it, we are not going to save them. But to know about it, you must sacrifice some of your innocence. And so that’s what we ask people to do: sacrifice some of your innocence, listen to this show, go to our website, learn about trafficking. It’s the fastest growing criminal enterprise on earth. Two million children, and more, are being sold for sex, over ten million children sold for labor. Add all the adults, we’re on a 30-40 million range. I mean, wake up! Help them out! But it does require a sacrifice of innocence.     Mark: So, back to the question at hand, did you actually have, have you had a sit-down, “Ok, let me talk to you about this, son”? Like, let me ask it this way: have your kids seen the documentary? Tim: Here’s my policy and my wife’s, I mean, every kid is an individual, right. Every kid you treat differently, because it is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution to raising kids. Mark: You have how many? Tim: I have six kids. Mark: That’s awesome! Tim: So, our kind of general policy, guideline on the documentary, which is ‘The Abolitionists’ documentary, which films my team going into different countries and helping the police infiltrate trafficking rings and so forth... Mark: Catching you soliciting pimps for underaged girls. Tim: Right. Mark: Asking “Hey, will she do this, will she do that?” Tim: Oh, yeah. Mark: Your kids have to hear you saying that. Tim: My kids are hearing that, yeah. So, what we’ve decided is, generally speaking, if this particular video or this particular documentary includes children, who are being sold, who are, say, 12 years old, then I’m going to let my 12-year-old watch it. And that is because I think it’s important for him to see what he has and what someone else doesn’t have. “Someone your age is being trafficked. You get to play football; they are being sold for sex.” And, I think it’s important for kids to recognize what they have, and then it instills in them a sense of responsibility: “How can I help that kid, who doesn’t get to play football? What can I do?” And it makes them aware of the world and aware of what’s happening. So, that is kind of how we deal with it. And then again I let them watch it, I don’t rehash it with them, I don’t bring it up too much, at least graphically.           Mark: Yeah. Tim: I let their mind stop them where it needs to stop. Mark: Smart. I like that principle that you said with adults, with kids, with everyone - they will go to a point that they are ready to go to.   Tim: Right. But here’s the point that I was making too - once you are an adult and you have real influence to help, it changes a bit in my mind, right.     Mark: Especially if you are a judge. Tim: Especially if you are a judge. I don’t want it to stop where your mind wants it to stop. And this is our job at Slave Stealer podcast and other places, other people’s responsibility, who are in the know-how, who have seen it, you’ve got to say “No!” No, I’m not going to let you stop. I am not going to let you shake your head and walk out of the kitchen. I’m going to make you stay until your mind grasps this enough to where you are going to act. And that’s the problem, is people hit that point where their brain wants them to stop, and they shake their head and walk away. We can’t have that. If we do that, these kids will not be liberated.        Mark: If that happens in 1860, you have still got millions of slaves in the South. Tim: Absolutely! Mark: Because we have talked about it. Tim: Absolutely. That’s why, because people shook their head and walked out of the kitchen. Mark: Yeah. You have got to show it to them. There are so many questions - I’m trying to think of a logical order here. You talked about it with your father-in-law, and we are not talking about 17 ½-year-old girls.    Tim: Right. Mark: We are talking about kids that are groomed, And, maybe.. let’s define the term. We kind of need to have like a trafficking glossary on our site. But grooming, and, maybe in the case of Lady, that we talked about - that’s when you explained it to me, you know, when I was going to go be a scoutmaster. I had to go through the whole ‘how to identify a perv’, right, and one of the terms they used was grooming. And they’re like, “Well, when you prepare a child for…” whatever. But you really broke it down for me in the case of this 11-year old virgin, who was sold to you in Columbia. I was there watching, she was a virgin. Tim: Right Mark: However, she knew exactly what was going to go down. Tim: Right.. Mark: What do they do to groom a child and how were you made aware of it? Like, give me how you came to that knowledge. Because this episode is kind of about you and the topic. Tim: So I came to the knowledge the only way I think anyone can, and that is experiencing it firsthand. For me, that was going undercover, pretending to be someone, who is interested in that black market, and getting into that market, becoming a player in that market. So, in the case of this little girl, who they were calling ‘Lady’ - and that surely wasn’t her real name, it was a name the traffickers gave her - in that case, we were pretending to be solicitors of child sex. We were working with the Colombian police pretending to be Americans, who travel to Colombia to engage in sex with children. And what had happened in this case, because we were working in that capacity and because we presented ourselves as wealthy Americans, I hinted to the trafficker that we would be interested in sharing profits and investing in his trafficking business. The reason we did that was because that all of a sudden, if they believe us, that pushes them to open their books and open their business and explain the business plan. And that’s how we learn how they do this. I would say things like, ”Look, I could probably get you a million dollar investment in this, but I need to know how it works; I need to know how you get these kids; I want to know you maintain the kids, how you groom and prepare them,” and so on and so forth. And the guy was more than happy to tell me what he does. Mark: I have a photograph of your hands around this little pattern napkin. It was like a napkin business plan...     Tim: Sure, yeah. Mark: Of a sex hotel for kids. Tim: That’s right. Mark: I have a picture of that. I’ll post it, because it is so disturbing when you realize what those numbers represent, volume and quantity and velocity of children and child rape.    Tim: Yeah, it was the dirtiest, most evil business plan that anyone could ever dream up. Mark: Yeah. Tim: ..on that napkin. That’s right. Mark: I’ll post that. Tim: And that was like our third or fourth discussion about how their business operations work. So, what they explained to me was, “Look, it’s easy to get the kids. You find poor families.” You don’t want to do a hard kidnapping, you know like the movie ‘Taken’. Does that happen? Yes. Is that the likely scenario? No. Why? Because you kidnap a kid, a hard kidnapping - meaning go into their house, like what happened with Elizabeth Smart, go into the house, pull them out. Well, you are going to kick up a lot of dust around you. Why do that if you are a trafficker if you can instead make it a peaceful kidnapping. Not peaceful for the child, right.          Mark: Yeah. Tim: Hell for the child, peaceful for the trafficker. In other words, they can kind of do this without fearing much consequence. So, what they do is they go to poor families, and these guys had actually hired or were working with, contracting with, a beauty queen in Cartagena. She had won a pageant, a beauty pageant. So, kind of people knew who she was; she had been on the news, she showed up in music videos, and so people knew who she was. So, they walk into the house with this beauty queen, and they say, “Look, look at this beautiful woman. She doesn’t have a worry in the world. She is paid, she is wealthy, she is beautiful, she is famous.” And then they point to the 9-year old daughter, and say, “we focus” - they told us “9 years old is where we start”. And they say to the mother and father: “Your 9-year-old daughter is just as beautiful as this girl; we just got to train her. We can train her, and she can become a model and an actress.” And they fill the parents with all sorts of dreams that they never believed were possible for their child. And certainly this is legitimate, because they are looking at the star, who is in their living room saying, “I can do this for you. And we’re going to give you a scholarship. You can come to our school and learn how to be a model for free.” At that point, they bring them into the modeling school, and they teach them some things. And when they get comfortable, they say, “Now you are going to watch this video.” And the video will be pornography. “This is part of being an actress, it’s part of…you need to understand this world.” And when kids are at that age - nine, ten, eleven - their minds are still developing and forming, and if someone tells you this is right, this is right, this is right, eventually your mind develops as a 9- or 10-year old into believing, “Ok, this is right, this is right.” And so they start seeing that. We had evidence that some of them were being drugged, you know, threatened: “If you go back and tell your parents that we are doing these things, you are going to be in big trouble.” And again, kids are very… Elizabeth Smart, when we get her on the show, she can talk about this, where a police officer walked up to her, while she was in captivity, and said “Are you Elizabeth Smart?”. I mean that, it would have been over! Mark: Yeah. Tim: And she said, “I am not. I am not Elizabeth Smart.” Because she was scared to death because they, her captors, had told her, “If you ever reveal who you are, we will kill your sister, and your family.” And as Elizabeth tells it, everything they had told her they are going to do to her, they did it. They told her they are going to rape her, and they did it. They told her they are doing this particular thing - sex acts - and they did it. They told her they’d chain her up, and they did it. So, when they told her that they are going to kill her parents if she reveals who she is, why would a 14-year-old not believe that they are going to do it?                        Mark: They’ve got all power. Tim: All power. And she has received criticism for that, you know, like, “Why didn’t you run away? Did you want to be there?”, you know... People just can’t comprehend how the mind of a child works. And that’s what these kids go through - they are scared into not revealing what is really going on. So, they groom them, and they said it, it will be a year and a half, or more, while they are grooming them, all under the hospices of this modeling school. And of course they are being trained to be models as well, and then eventually they say, “Ok, so this is your test. You are going to this party on this island, and these men are going to come from America, and you are going to do the things that you have seen being done in the pornography videos, and do whatever they want.” In a nutshell, that is how it works. I mean, that is how it works, that is the reality. Mark: And variations of. Tim: And variations of that.   Mark: So, they can do everything up until the point that she is not a virgin to claim... Tim: Right. Mark: “Hey, it is a virgin.” Tim: And they can, and they want to do this because their virgins are premium, right.  Already, a child, in most black markets, a child will go for about a double or more than double of what an adult prostitute will go for. But then, if that child is also a virgin, then it’s quadruple, or more of that price. So, it’s a premium to sell a virgin child. Mark: Wow...Give me, you’ve talked about it - like pulling people’s blinders off, and those moments where people are opened up, and the one with I think your father-in-law, who gets it now - that was pretty dramatic. What about..give me another one. You don’t have to name names, I just like hearing about people’s response. Are there any high profiles that you are allowed to share, that, maybe change the name, change the whatever? Somebody that you have shocked, that should have known?        Tim: Yeah. I was in the office, probably a year or two ago, of a governor of a certain state. We were explaining who we were and what we did, and he was absolutely shocked. And, kudos to him for being honest, saying, “Wait, wait, wait, what?! There is how many kids? There is how many kids being hurt and trafficked in the world? And what does that mean? They do what?!” He didn’t know, he didn’t know anything! And again, I’m not blaming him for not knowing. It is not something you go seek out, right? It is not something that your advisors seek out to tell you. It is hard to talk about. And I don’t know that you know the answer - why aren’t we talking about it more? Why, why, why, why? I really believe because it is that.. it is so dark a topic. It is not even...you know, slavery in the nineteenth century - it was politically divisive. It was a political nightmare to get involved: go back to the Lincoln-Douglas debates and everything. I mean, it was a divisive and a political issue. This is not even a political issue. There is nobody standing on the side of the pedophiles - well there are some: NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which deserves its own show someday.         Mark: Do they have a logo? Tim: Well, there are all sorts of different..Look them up: nambla.org. Mark: Is that weird? Tim: You might have cops knocking on your door tonight. Mark: That is what I am saying. Tim: No, no, no, you won’t. You can look them up. Mark: What are the pop-up ads I am getting after that? Tim: Yeah, be careful when you go: nambla.org. I mean, it is a legitimate organization, legitimate in terms of legality, right. And, they are just a group that is pushing for a.. Mark: Oh hell! Tim: What did you find? You got...I told you to be careful when you go to that... Mark: No, it is not...and luckily, I’ve retained that innocence: I have never seen child pornography. It is a cartoon on the front their page - it is an adult asking a little boy, “What can I do to make you happy?” And the little boy says, “I like hugs.” Tim: Boom! And that’s their whole message. If you go into...When I was an agent, I would go all into it and learn about it, what they believe in. And they actually talk about how kids, psychologically and emotionally, need sexual healing and sexual exposure from adults. And why not adults, who know what they are doing? And so they make it sound as though the kid wants to be hugged, the kid wants to be touched. Why is it so bad? And they bring up science, where they show that children are sexual beings based on this story and that. Of course, they are human beings! Their sexuality is attached to everybody; we are born with it. But that doesn’t mean you are ready to bring it out and force it on a child, because that’s what you would be really doing, forcing it on a child. Their brains aren’t developed to the point where they can make those kind of decisions, or comprehend the kind of consequences of that activity. I mean it destroys...I’ve seen kids destroyed over this. And here they are saying they just want to hug, “Just hug me, that is all I want.”      Mark: Oh, here’s the other one, right. They are just headlines and we’re not going to go off on NAMBLA forever, because it does deserve its own show. Maybe we bring one of these idiots in.   Tim: Yeah, bring them in, let them take it. Mark: Or, we bring in some of the people they are attacking. And I thought of this this morning, ok. I’ll read a couple headlines: ‘When Labor Loved Liberty (And Before They Changed Their Minds)’ about the labor unions formally supporting..whatever. ‘Remembering Michael Jackson’, and they’ve got the old black version of Michael, ‘Remembering a Lover of Boys’, ‘Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons’, ‘The Non-Wisdom of Crowds: Defender of Anonymous Outraged by our Lack of Passivity’. Now, this one’s interesting: ‘Hipster Vigilantism and the New Populist Attack on Free Speech’. That is what they are calling it: speech, right. And then, they say ‘Anonymous Decidedly Illiberal Campaign to Silence Us’. Dude, is Anonymous getting on these guys, because they would be an awesome ally.   Tim: I don’t know, but let’s check, let’s look into it - let’s absolutely look into it. But these guys have conventions; it’s a political movement to legalize this kind of behavior. Mark: They called Oprah a liar, by the way. Tim: And so... Mark: Saying she wasn’t, she wasn’t molested as a child. Ok, I’m off on NAMBLA. Tim: Ok. So, we’ll go back talking more about that, but the point is, that, except for these few total whackjobs, who think that this is a healthy thing for children, it is really just obviously serving their own selfish lust and pleasure and evil. Dark, dark souls...But, for the most part, this is not a political issue, right, it is not a political issue. Everyone will be on the side of solving this. So, what is the obstruction? It is simply, “I don’t want to know; I don’t want to see it.” It’s the ostrich, the ostrich effect, sticking our head in the sand: “I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to...I have kids, grandkids. I can’t think about it.” And that’s where we have to make the change, that’s where we have to convert people to look at it.    Mark: What are the more offensive things that people have said to you? Maybe on purpose or not on purpose. I don’t need the top three, because it’s hard to think in superlatives, but give me five offensive things people have said to Tim Ballard, unknowingly or knowingly.   Tim: Offensive, in terms of just this topic in general? Mark: Yeah, that you’re like, “I used to respect you three minutes ago, before that came out your mouth.” Tim:I think the one time I can remember where I got the most offended...and frankly, you actually just did it to me earlier today, accidentally. I wasn’t so mad. Mark: Oh, when I wondered if you would turn into a perv by looking at... Tim: Yeah, it was so...I felt really bad because... Mark: That wasn’t a personal attack, by the way. Tim: No, no no, it wasn’t. And I want to clear this up. I don’t have a whole lot of examples of people, who say things offensive in terms of why this should or shouldn’t be legal or illegal, right. I mean, I’ve had perpetrators during interrogations defended, you know. A guy named Ernst Luposchainsky, for example - you can look him up, we arrested him in Minnesota... And he was pretty, I mean he was offensive, but I mean, geez, he was just such a joke. You are looking at this guy and you are almost, almost...somewhere in between laughter and vomit. You know, you are just like: “Are you serious? You are saying this?” You know, but he would talk about like the benefits of child pornography and how it helps the poor kids. “These kids get paid, they get paid for their sexual services, and we are helping them, we are helping their families.” He would talk about the tiger and the meat analogy. I remember we talked about, and this is all during his interrogation, where he would say, “Look, you have got to feed the tiger meat. If you don’t feed the tiger meat, he will eventually attack human beings.” So, he is actually saying, “Children are being raped, that’s horrible! Now, a consensual sex with a child, that is a different story. But, children are being raped against their will, I’m against that. Oh, I’m so against that!” You know, he would say...       Mark: Just for the record, you were quoting him on the “consensual sex is a different story”? Tim: Yes. Mark: Ok, just making sure it wasn’t like... Tim: Yes, quoting. Mark: You, parenthetically saying “Hey, consensual sex...” Tim: I’m sure some out there would love to misquote me on that and accuse me. So, the tiger and the meat, right. “You have got to feed the tiger meat, you have got to feed the tiger meat, and then he will never rape the kids.” And the meat is child porngraphy. “Make it legal. Let them look at it, because then they will just look at it, and then they will get satisfied and the kids will be safe.” Mark: Oh, yeah, totally! Tim: Because it doesn’t, it certainly doesn’t fuel your evil passion by looking at it, right? Like for example, a man who watches pornography, he never watches pornography with an int to actually engage in sex with a woman. He just watches it for, you know, for the pleasure in itself. Yeah...baloney! Any dude, who watched porn will tell you, right, “I would like to translate this to my bedroom,” right. It is no different with child pornographers. They are looking at this, and they want to act out. So it is just the opposite - you are fueling the fire, not putting it out. But, I mean, that was offensive. And, by the way, that Ernst Lupochainsky case, we got to do a show sometime on that. That was the hardest case I have ever did. In the middle of that interview, ok, while he was telling me all this stuff, he would not break, he would not break, he would not break. So, what I had to do...because he believed that all men were closet pedophiles, he just believed that story... Mark: I love this story. Tim: He just believed that. It was his way to justify his own feelings, of course. But this puritanical society - that is what he called it - has stopped the natural flow of love between a man and young, little girls. But on this show, I have got to read...he had this postmortem message he put on all his child porn collection. We will prep and I will read his message.      Mark: Oh my gosh. Tim: It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. But the point I am making here is, I had to go undercover - this is just a teaser - I had to go undercover... Mark: Don’t blow it, because I know the punchline, and it is unreal. Tim: Yeah..as myself. So, I pushed my buddy away, the other agent, who was interviewing the guy. I was still wired up undercover, you know, and I said, “Hey, listen man, listen Ernst, help me out. I mean you are right. Reading your stuff - it makes me trust you. I have got to look at this stuff all day long. What do you think that does to me? It makes me want that. But there is no one I can talk to. Can you talk to me? Can you help me?” Sure enough, his eyes just light up. He believed it! I couldn’t believe he bought into it. I was...I was...It is one thing when I am Brian Black, you know, or I’m some alias in an undercover operative.          Mark: That is a cute name. Did you make that one up? Tim: That was the name that I used to use, yeah...Brian Black. So, here I was, Tim Ballard, U.S. agent/pedophile. So it was a totally different thing. I was myself, and that went on for...and then you know, I reported it to my supervisors; they loved it. And that kept on for at least a month, until we could get all the information out of this guy we possibly could about his contacts and networks. And he opened up to me, thinking he was helping me enter into, you know, induct me into the beautiful world of pedophilia. So, someday we’ll do that story, because that is an amazing story. The guy is still in jail.     Mark: Good. Tim: So, that is kind of somewhat offensive, but the time I blew up...the sweetest lady on earth - she was, she was just...Lived down the street, sweet kind lady, and I was working in child porn cases, kind of mad - you know you’re just mad a lot, thinking about it. And she said to me, “So, how many agents, you know, end up…?” And again, the same thing you just said, but I didn’t blow up at you.    Mark: Good grief! I feel like such a schmuck, especially in context of the story you have just told me. Tim: Yeah, it was the first time... Mark: Because I know you are not susceptible to that. Tim: Right. And, I would honestly argue that unless you are predisposed and you enter the child crimes group so that you could access it, I think it is just the opposite. And, you know, she said, “So, how many end up pedophiles themselves, being exposed to this?” Mark: Legit question! Tim: Yeah...I mean it sounds like a legit question, unless when you are in it, you are like “Wait, whoa, whoa.” Yeah so, by the hundredth time I am watching a child scream in pain, by that time I am like, “I am digging this.” But, I went off, I went crazy. I said, “Do you think it is that?! Or maybe it is, ‘I can’t believe I have to watch this again! I can’t believe I have to subject myself again to this video, and my stomach is punched again and again and again.” It was so bothersome to me, because it is just the opposite of what she was saying. It is like, I have got to endure this. It is like saying this, here is a good analogy: someone who has been doing chemotherapy for a year, right, and every three months they got to go get another dose of chemo. It is like someone saying, “So, how many cancer patients become addicted to chemo? Even after the cancer is done, they still take chemo just because they are addicted to it?” Right?! That is analogous right there. Mark: Yeah... Tim: Ok? And, it is just like, “Wow, wow,” you know, it killed me. I get it, but it was just, it is...What they don’t understand is the potency of this. It is not! What they think is, she was probably still thinking 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds. I was like, are you kidding me?! It is not what we are talking about! If there is a 16-year old in a child porn video, we wouldn’t even prosecute that, unless you absolutely knew it was a 16-year-old, in like specific cases where, you know, uncles taking pictures or something. Mark:Yeah. Tim: But otherwise, you wouldn’t. You would be like “Eh...” If you can’t tell...The majority of the child porn cases we prosecuted: 5 years old, 7 years old, 10 years old, that range, right. I know, it’s just... it is just things the vast majority don’t have to see, and I don’t want them to see it. Mark: Yeah. Tim: I don’t want them to see it. But they need to know it is happening, so that they can be part of the solution. Mark: On that same thought of things that people unintentionally say that are offensive, how about this? And I have got this one before, even with my little bit of involvement: “Well, she looks like she wants it.” Tim: Oh, yeah...I get that quite a bit. In fact, right in our documentary, in “The Abolitionists”. Mark: Yeah! Tim: I have heard a couple of people say that. In an early screening that happened, and my wife who was in the room,  it was a very early screening, we brought some kind of influential people in to watch. Mark: I was there! Tim: Oh, right! You were there. That’s right! Mark: I was sitting by your wife. Tim: You were there. A sweet lady - I think you know her, I think you know who she is - totally innocent, you know, she just...she said, “Can’t you show like a little darker side to this, so that people know? Can’t you show us some kids who are not looking like they want to be here?” And, if you remember my wife, she’s like... Mark: Oh yeah. Tim: “Alright! This is tragic, what is happening to these kids! This isn’t a scripted film, this isn’t - we can’t make this up. This is real, and it is their hell. And just because you can’t see it, because you are not the spirit inside of that body,”... know, my wife just… bless her heart, she went crazy.   Mark: She is not outspoken. Tim: No. Mark: Right? For her to... Tim: For her to do that... it touched a nerve. Mark: Yeah.. Tim: And again, back to the misconceptions. Are you going to find cases of kids chained up and locked in closets? Absolutely, you are going to find that! The vast majority, the vast majority? No, that is not what it looks like. And in the documentary - most people get it, it is not usually a big problem - but in the documentary, I mean, you are watching the filmmakers put the ages of the kids - of course cover their identities - but they put their ages, their numbers like over their blurred faces. And so you are watching this 12-year old-girl, it says twelve, you know, and I remember that little girl, I remember that she actually had fear in her eyes. But if you weren’t looking straight into her eyes, she did walk into the party, and she knew what was going to happen to her.   Mark: And she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute. Maybe not her, but some of the others. Tim: Some of them were, that one wasn’t, but some of them absolutely... This little girl was wearing like long basketball shorts and a white t-shirt, and you will see that in the documentary. But others were, the 12-year-olds...    Mark: They are not picking their outfit here. Tim: Right, right. Mark: For the most part. Tim: And they are walking in and people say, “Looks like they want to do that! They want to do it! Look at, they... No one is forcing them to walk in.” And again back to Elizabeth Smart. When you will bring her on the show, we can talk to her about it, and she...If you thought Catherine, my wife, got passionate, wait until Elizabeth answers that question. And she says, because they bring it u, she had plenty of opportunities, in theory, to run. She did. She was in public areas, policeman came up to her, right, but what they don’t understand is trafficking, slavery, so much of slavery is mental. These traffickers enslave these kids mentally, emotionally, not just physically. In fact, they don’t want it; if they can get away with not enslaving them physically, all the better. Remember, they don’t want to kick up a lot of dust around them. So, if they can figure out how to enslave them mentally and emotionally, that is always the first choice, and they do it by the grooming process that we described earlier. They groom them, and then they control them. They control them! And this is why the rehab part is so important, because you have got to undo the damage, and that doesn’t happen overnight. It is a long process. I don’t know, I mean, I have talked to a lot of victims of trafficking, who are adults now and have families of their own, and they have told me, “You know, you don’t ever fully, fully heal.” I mean, there is always something there you have got to battle. And that is what happens, that is why when Elizabeth’s father runs to her, she still denies who she is for a second, and then she opens up. Because it is like a spell, and if you haven’t been through it - and I haven’t, so I can’t fully comprehend it, but I’ve been around it enough to know that you can’t comprehend it, unless it has happened to you. And a child’s mind is not like an adult’s mind. Children don’t think like adults think. Their minds are at different levels of development, they don’t have a lot of experience, they don’t understand the consequences like adults can and do. And so, it is not so difficult for the traffickers to play those mind games, warp them, brainwash them, and make them slaves.      Mark: Well, I think that...we’ll get into, I think, in shows down the road, we’ll have Throwback Thursdays. We’ll go revisit missions and do things, but I feel like that can give our listeners a little bit of insight into your passion, your feeling for what it is you do and how it affects your life. It is not a job you leave at the door, as you are hearing. And so if you have any parting shots along the lines of ‘Here’s Tim’, ‘Get to know Tim’, let’s go and leave our listeners with that.    Tim: You know I...I’d say this that I understand completely. We are talking about awareness, we are talking about people’s ability to see this problem. And I can’t sit back and judge and say, “Come on, open your eyes, open your eyes!” I was the worst of everybody; it was right before me and I was denying. I was denying it. I didn’t want to do it. It took me a long time to say yes, and even after I said yes, I was very apprehensive about how far I would go in this. So, I get it. It is a hard barrier to get around. And even when it is in front of you almost...you know, and then, when it is not in front you, of course, it is sometimes near impossible to get around. So, I get it, I get it, but I also understand that when you see it, when you allow yourself to open up to it, you become converted. And part of that I think is from God. I think God, more than anybody, wants these children liberated. I think he weeps more than anybody for these kids. So, if he can find an adult, who is willing to open their mind enough and not walk out of the room, he will help convert you, and put that passion into you, fill you with his spirit, and call you. He will call anybody, if you are going to help save his kids. And I just want people to go through the same conversion that I went through. I am kind of a missionary for trafficking, right. I mean, I am trying to evangelize here and get people converted to the cause, because that is who I am. I have been converted to the cause. And it hurt!        Mark: The cause of freedom. Tim: The cause of freedom. But it hurts to be converted, because you must leave something at the door, and that is your innocence. You must leave it. And who wants to give that up? But you must do that. You must make that sacrifice. And it hurts, and you cry, and you have moments that are embarrassing - and we’ll get into some of these. There were times, when I was like a child in my wife’s arms weeping and she is holding me, and I am just shaking. Still happens to me... I used to not talk about it, but I just talk about it now. It hurts, it hurts to get into this cause, because the cause of freedom requires you to fight evil, and evil hurts. But what we want to do here on this show is make converts, because I know this: converts to this cause equals liberty to children. And what greater thing can we do than bring liberty to children?   Mark: Thank you. And, because your last words were so good, I’ll sign off for you from OUR headquarters. Good night!    
Jan 26, 2016

Meet Tim Ballard. He and his team (aka Operation Underground Railroad) save children from sex trafficking and work with international governments to catch the bad guys in real life and online.

For over a decade Tim worked as a special agent with The U.S. Department Of Homeland Security in the child crimes division. 

Daily, Tim faces unimaginable crimes and situations. 

At home he has a wife and 6 children... 3 more kids on the way. 

How does he find balance and sanity? 

In this episode, Tim opens up about life outside of trafficking and the case that nearly caused him to walk away. He talks about family, sanity, and the song that kept him in the fight.

FULL TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE HERE 

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