An abolitionist is defined as “a person who favors the abolition (or termination) of any law or practice deemed harmful to society.” The word is commonly used when referring to someone who wanted to end slavery in the United States before the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln, for example, is considered one of our nation’s most prominent and influential abolitionists. And for good reason.
Tim Ballard has been referred to as a modern-day abolitionist. He is the founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R), a non-profit organization dedicated to the permanent eradication of child sex trafficking through coordinated rescue, recovery planning, capturing perpetrators and building public awareness about this universal plague.
He will also be the keynote speaker at the 2017 eFORCE Users Conference.
“Tim Ballard’s keynote address will be a highlight of the conference this year,” said Cory Bowers, eFORCE CEO. “The cause to which he has dedicated his life is close to the chest for many of our customers in law enforcement. I believe his experiences, stories and passion will be an inspiration, and hopefully a means of motivation, for everyone who attends.
In response to those who claim they would have stood up in opposition against slavery in the days of Lincoln, Tim says, "It's funny, because we all read history and we think, 'Oh, I would... have risen up, I would have fought, I would have been an abolitionist,' And I tell them, 'No, you wouldn't have. If you would have, you'd be doing that right now. You know trafficking exists, you've heard of it, but you don't want to look."
Ballard worked for the Department of Homeland Security as a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and was deployed as an undercover operative for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team. After working for more than a decade as a Special Agent he realized he could make a greater difference and work more efficiently by operating independently.
That is when he decided to start Operation Underground Railroad. Ballard recruited former U.S. Navy SEALs, CIA operatives, law enforcement officers, medical personnel, military veterans and more to design an organization that could move quicker, cost less, work better with foreign governments and ultimately rescue more victims than the large government agencies for which he had worked.
O.U.R.’s website states that “most governments want to fix the problem of child sex slavery, but many lack sufficient infrastructure and resources to address it.” O.U.R. develops long-term relationships with domestic and foreign government agencies and provides them with a successful model to continue eliminating sex slavery and sex tourism on their own.
“I have seen the face of modern-day slavery, and it is every bit as outrageous as the slavery of Abraham Lincoln’s day in the 1800’s,” said Ballard. “If my team and I don’t find these kids, no one else is going to. It’s our job. We have to do something.”
Since its creation in December 2013, O.U.R.’s rescue efforts have saved over 600 children from the deplorable bonds of slavery and captured more than 275 perpetrators.
Watch this short trailer for The Abolitionists movie, a documentary about O.U.R’s mission to end child sex slavery.
For more information about Operation Underground Railroad, visit ourrescue.org.