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Tim BallardLifeSiteNews

(LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews sat down with Tim Ballard at the Washington, D.C. premiere of “Sound of Freedom,” at the Museum of the Bible.

Ballard, played by Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel, quit his job a decade ago in order to rescue thousands of innocent children trapped in the horrific underworld of child sex trafficking, described by Ballard as “the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.”

Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad and CEO of the Nazarene Fund, told LifeSiteNews:

I wouldn’t have gotten into this work and stayed in this work if I didn’t believe that God cares deeply about this cause and about children.

The scripture that I hold onto is where Jesus gets very passionate and clear where he stands when he says, ‘Better that a millstone be wrapped about your neck and you cast to the bottom of the sea then that you would hurt these children.’

READ: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Sound of Freedom’ filmmakers sit down with LifeSiteNews for extended interview

He noted that when he goes into dangerous places to rescue kids, he calls to mind those words of Jesus.

The movie doesn’t show kids getting abused, but still punches you ‘in the gut’

Ballard said that when work began on making the film eight years ago, hardly anyone was aware of the problem of child sex trafficking and its magnitude. The challenge to the filmmaking crew – who chose to devote themselves to bringing to light the dark world of depraved adults paying to sexually abuse abducted children – was twofold: “No one really knows about it,” and “it’s such a devastating topic.”

So, the question confronting all involved was that the world needs “to know what’s going on there,” but “how do we do it?”

READ: Jim Caviezel: ‘Sound of Freedom’ film is the ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin of 21st century slavery’

“The movie never shows children getting abused,” said Ballard, however, “it still punches you. If you’re not punched, you’re doing a disservice to those children.”

The movie is a “white knuckle thriller,” keeping audiences on the edge of their seats until the end, wondering if the kids will be found and set free from their sex traffickers.

Ballard explained that he doesn’t watch the film because “it triggers too much PTSD in me,” but allowed that he does like to duck into theaters to watch the audience’s reaction at the end of the movie.

“At the end, when the credits roll, no one moves,” said Ballard. “No one gets up. They sit there until all the credits are done and they still sit there.”

“And they’ll wake up thinking about it,” the next morning, he noted.

He’s right.

‘We stay with the kids that we rescue’

LifeSiteNews asked Ballard about the scene in the movie – based on a real event – where many kids are rescued at one time. “How many of those kids would’ve had families to return to?  How many of the kids that get abducted come from broken homes?”

“About half of them actually have families,” said Ballard. “[For] some of the families, believe it or not, the kids were so coerced and threatened, they were going home every night to their families but still being abused during the day.”

“Others had nothing,” he said. “It’s vulnerable children that they look for.”

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Ballard said that early on he and his team set up a partnership with an organization that takes on kids rescued from sexual exploitation.

“We stayed with these kids” portrayed in the movie. “They’re now young adults and we’re still working with them.  We’re still providing for them. We’re still helping them get educated and start businesses.”

“We stay with the kids that we rescue.”

Operation Underground Railroad goes “to the darkest corners of the world to assist in rescuing children from slavery and ensure ongoing aftercare, provide cutting edge tools and resources to U.S. law enforcement throughout the United States, while strengthening preventative efforts that benefit at-risk children worldwide. We will not give up and will continue to go to the darkest place until light is restored, and every child is protected.” 

Check out their website to discover how you can join in the fight against child sex trafficking.

Sound of Freedom opens in theaters across the nation on July 4. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.