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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: May, 2016
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.

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