The Face of Slavery
Abraham Lincoln was the original abolitionist, but slavery still exists. It has a new face: it’s the face of an innocent child. Victims today include nearly 2 million children throughout the world. They are slaves, exploited for sex.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is an international leader in fighting human trafficking and recently testified before the United States Congress on the evils and perils of this industry. According to Reyes, human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise worldwide and the second most lucrative criminal enterprise globally ahead of arms dealing and counterfeiting.
A subset of human trafficking is child trafficking. The AG’s office works with agencies nationwide to fight domestic child trafficking, but overseas, it is another story. That is where Operation Underground Railroad comes in.
OUR is a nonprofit organization that rescues kidnapped children from slavery. Their rescue jump teams are comprised of highly skilled ex-Navy Seals as well as CIA and other operatives who work in conjunction with and in full cooperation with local police forces and foreign governments to liberate children around the world. They rescue these children and deliver them to safe havens that offer freedom and rehabilitation.
Today, hundreds of enslaved victims of sex trafficking, mostly minors, are free due to OUR’s rescue efforts. One hundred and twenty-four of these victims, ages 9-16, were liberated in three highly dangerous, simultaneous undercover rescues in Colombia in a one-hour period in October 2014.
Of the October rescue, Reyes said he posed as the bodyguard and translator of a phony pedophile businessman in the undercover operation. “Operation Underground Railroad is an amazing organization,” said Reyes. “They set up operations the world over to liberate children from the clutches of traffickers and then provide them with the care, counseling and recovery resources needed for survival.”
Lead by Tim Ballard, a former CIA agent and founder of OUR, this nongovernmental organization can deal directly with law enforcement and child services in each of the countries it operates in with the invitation and blessing of the ambassadors, heads of state or other top government officials.
Trafficking is also a serious issue in Utah. The AG’s Secure Strikeforce has made numerous arrests including some of the biggest and highest-profile cases in state history. Reyes said, “In Utah, our state is leading out the fight against human trafficking,” he said.
He goes on to warn: “Even in Utah, people are able to hide in plain sight. The community is so trusting. No one believes or wants to believe it happens here, so traffickers have little or no risk of being identified and caught.” That is until now — and you can help.
The cost of a rescue is $25,000 to $60,000. OUR recently launched a fundraising campaign titled “Become an Abolitionist: Give a Lincoln, Save a Slave.” For as little as $5 a month, you can help their efforts in rescuing children worldwide (https://ourrescue.org/). In addition, you can volunteer to host a fun run, a yard sale or any fundraising event on their behalf. For more information, contact Doug Osmond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is an international leader in fighting human trafficking and recently testified before Congress on the evils of this industry.