Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note August 9, 2020: This article is now an ACJ Investigates series. For additional articles covering OUR, please go to ACJ Investigates- Derailed: Operation Underground Railroad
ACJ Investigates: OUR’s ‘Jihad’ Against Human Trafficking is deeply rooted in LDS Fundamentalism. Their war to end it is not what you think. The enemy is not who you expect. The victims are not who you’re fighting for.
Do you know what today is?
How could you not know? It’s July 30th, and that means today is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons! Rise up! As I listened to the speaker at OUR’s Rise Up! Event this evening, I realized that this was no coincidence. Just as the email I received from another journalist predicted, Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) has begun to frame “pedophilia” as another major component of “human trafficking”. That seemed to be one of the new ‘priorities’ of OUR. Once again, just like everything else Ballard and his team confronts, they do it ‘head on’ and guns blazing.
Like a Multi-Level Marketing sales conference, OUR’s attendees demonstrate a cult-like devotion to the organization and view Ballard as a messiah like figure. As the minutes ticked by, I watched the faces of those in attendance turn to gravely concerned and sickened, at the descriptions and horror stories shared. Have no fear though, OUR and their team of super secret agents and Tim Ballard is here to save the world from child sex trafficking. Except the only problem is, it appears the speaker was either just desperately pandering for money or was simply misinformed? Maybe both?
As with all great hysteria throughout American history (Salem Witch Trials, Satanic Panic, White Slavery, Human Trafficking… just to name a few), it becomes clear that it is the byproduct of the religious right, twisted views while fiddling with religion, politics, social justice, human nature and human rights… the enemy is less & less corporeal and more a reflection of society in general. Lifestyles. Independence from religion (especially the more extreme ones). It becomes a commentary. A warped view, taking glimpses at and postulating the most extreme instances of human depravity and sickness, misrepresenting it, making it the norm. Despite violence being at near historic lows in the United States,
we are reminded that we…, no scratch that… we are reminded that our children are in grave danger.
They don’t know who exactly, but they know ‘what’. And it’s rampant. It’s all around us. They’ve infiltrated schools, government, politics, science labs, law enforcement, etc… with their godless views. All engaged in depravity, Satanism, unabashed homosexuality run amok, child abuse and sacrifice… we’ve heard it countless times.
Who can forget the Combine High School Massacre? The religious right hijacked a massacre and turned it into a war on God and martyrdom. The entire dialogue, even in the media turned to Cassie Bernall. As her parents went from news channel to news channel and TV talk show to TV talk show, explaining how one of the shooters asked their daughter, “Do you believe in God?”, she replied, “yes” and she was senselessly executed by the “depraved atheist”.
It had turned into a bestselling book, reaching # 8 on the New York Times’ Bestsellers list of non-fiction.
This clearly was a war on God and an attack on his most devout believers (as if the only reason you’re alive is because you don’t believe enough). Those depraved school shooters (who in reality dabbled in and expressed extreme right-wing ideologies) will be test of your faith and they are coming for you.
In reality, we learned it was the complete opposite (aw shucks, another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad senseless act of violence is again proven not to be another gleaming example of inspired Christian faith leading to martyrdom- but at least it was exploitable and more importantly, profitable for a little while and the misinformed will continue to parrot this fairy tale for decades).
When Craig Scott walked investigators through the school’s library and asked him where he was and where he heard the exchange, he pointed to the desk, exactly where another student, Valeen Schnurr, another student who had been shot was hiding. Dylan Klebold approached her.
She said, “Oh, my God, oh, my God, don’t let me die.”
Klebold asked her if she believed in God. She said yes, and he asked why.
She responded, “Because I believe and my parents brought me up that way.” Klebold reloaded but did not shoot her again, and Schnurr ultimately survived the massacre.-Dave Cullen, Who said Yes?
Should we now frame, package and present (for a small fee) that school shooters, many who hold & express right-wing ideologies, are sparing believers and targeting non-believers?
It’s not bad enough that OUR has to date framed and packaged with a pretty yellow bow (and complimentary CrossFit brochure inside) “pornography, prostitution, immigration, child exploitation, child pornography, kidnapping, runaway youth, teen sex, gay sex, homosexuality, woman’s sexuality, sex outside of wedlock, rape and gangsta rap”, all as either human trafficking, signs of human trafficking or tactics designed solely to desensitize potential victims, ultimately grooming them into becoming the ideal trafficking victims… but now they are attempting to include pedophilia?
“Framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support and to stimulate stronger opposition.”-Demand Abolition’s 2010 “National Action Plan”
So, before I go any further, I’d like to take a moment to say that we at ACJ felt there was no better day than today to announce our upcoming Investigates series on Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), its founder Timothy Ballard along with his radical, misguided & dangerous LDS fundamentalist inspired beliefs and most importantly; what and/or who are the real targets and finally the goals of these so-called “abolitionists”?
Let’s make one thing clear, right now. It’s important to understand, yes… right now, being completely transparent and upfront, that human trafficking, child exploitation and abuse is absolutely real. The most important thing in prevention of all of this, is that you get the facts.
Knowledge is power and the only way to protect women and children… victims of actual crimes is to first properly identify what crimes are occurring and how to actually correct, protect and then ultimately prevent it. Until then, you yourself and others are vulnerable to the type of exploitation that OUR is engaged in here. That’s getting your money and for you to spread misinformation and fear, making OUR the only thing standing between children and these predators.
That gets them more money and further puts a wedge between the public and those that can really help the victims. It makes them the middle man. Law enforcement only trusts them. The public only trusts them. It’s called isolation. The public and law enforcement have a wedge between them, and that is where OUR flourishes.
Why I wish to make that clear is simple.
OUR devotees often charge that by challenging their propaganda and rhetoric with facts and reality, and exposing the LDS fundamentalist rhetoric neatly framed in Tim Ballard’s mission and agenda for OUR; critics are accused of being ignorant, or worse; part of the “greater conspiracy”. They dismiss everyone who don’t stand behind them as one of those that “just don’t care about the kids”. The gaslighting is packaged and sold by Ballard himself as a means to immediately discount and discredit anyone who exposes exactly what OUR is, an extension of his radicalism, twisted views on morality, feminism and sex. Unfortunately for OUR and their believers, the type of “human trafficking” described and promoted by Ballard and his organization is much like a Multi-Level-Marketing scheme that makes outrageous, extraordinary and often disproven claims- backed with little to no evidence to support it. Rather, it’s nothing more than a complex money making scheme that yields little results, often making matters worse for those who support them and hurts the very ones they claim to “help”.
Now for those thinking “well, if that is true why hasn’t the authorities or someone like the Attorney General stepped in”?
The answer is simple.
While OUR is incorporated and attained their non-profit status out of California, their headquarters and operations are based out of Utah. Ballard has an extensive personal and business relationship with Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes. Reyes like Ballard, is a member a the LDS Church and has been embattled from day one, including accepting campaign contributions from Mormon fundamentalists that were members of the Latter Day Church of Christ, through both individual contributions and through a company they have a large stake in, Washakie Renewable Energy. Reyes was the subject of a fantastic article by Kaz Weida at Medium, where she illustrates how Reyes “used human trafficking busts as political props and contaminated a child pornographer’s crime scene“. It also further demonstrates the mentality and cult-of-personality surrounding Ballard. Reyes, like Ballard, has these James Bond and Rambo fantasies, as he has a “penchant for wearing a bulletproof vest around town and flashing his badge off”, as the Attorney General.
I wouldn’t expect any type of investigation into OUR, Tim Ballard or the actual the human trafficking problems involving members of the LDS Church anytime soon. There is a reason why Ballard and Reyes are both mum on the child sex abuse scandals rocking the LDS Church, and the church’s legal sword and shield, Kirton McConkie, whom they use to intimidate and silence victims of child sex abuse. Yes, it’s the very same law firm that Operation Underground Railroad and Tim Ballard use to intimidate and silence critics.
Utah, Fraud Capital of America (But they gots lotsa of 18+ virgins)
Utah, has become a hotbed of Multi-Level Marketing companies and isn’t called the fraud capital of the United States for nothing. In fact, victims, journalists and lawyers for decades has outright called the state of Utah, a “sanctuary state” for scam artists and frauds.
A 2012 article by The Economist appropriately titled, “Affinity Fraud-Fleecing the Flock” reports that “Utah is believed to have the highest per-capita rate of affinity fraud in the U.S. due to about two-thirds of the state’s residents being members of the LDS Church among whom such crimes tend to flourish”.
The Wall Street Journal named Salt Lake City the “Fraud Capital of America” in a 2015 story. In 2019, NBC affiliate KSL (owned by Deseret Management Corporation, the for-profit arm of the LDS Church) reporter Dennis Romboy revisited the WSJ story with his piece, “Does Utah deserve the title ‘Fraud capital of the United States’?”
Utah has a long-held reputation as the fraud capital of the United States, mostly based on anecdotal evidence. But a nationwide Ponzi scheme database that Florida attorney Jordan Maglich compiled offers proof that the ignominious label appears deserved.
Utah had the sixth most Ponzi schemes among all states from 2008 to 2018, despite ranking 31st in population, according to ponzitracker.com. Only California, Florida, New York, Texas and Illinois, in that order, had more.
When Salt Lake attorney Mark Pugsley ran a per-capita analysis of the numbers, Utah topped the list for the most Ponzi schemes — and it’s not even close.
Pugsley found Utah has 1.35 Ponzi schemes per 100,000 people. Florida is the next highest state at 0.51 per 100,000 people, nearly two-thirds lower.
“This is a question people have been asking for a long time, ‘Is Utah really that bad?'” he said. “This for the first time gives us some quantifiable basis to say yes, we are that bad. Not only are we bad, but we’re way worse than anyone else by a long shot.”-Dennis Romboy reporting from LDS owned and operated, KSL (but still kinda-sorta is affiliated with NBC)
But why? Why is fraud so rampant in Utah? An article by KUTV explains,
Connections fostered in LDS communities, said Dalton, create a hotbed for businesses with a social sharing model. The prevalence of national and international missions by young men and women for the LDS church, she speculates, plays a huge role.
“You get a lot of return missionaries who speak every language on the planet, then all of a sudden you have a sales force that’s very well connected,” she said. “They’re connecting with their friends, they know the languages, they’re tech savvy. That’s my untested theory.”
Kirk Jowers, VP of corporate relations and European markets at doTERRA, agrees.
“It would be very difficult for doTERRA to experience the success it’s had in any other state,” Jowers said of the essential oils company, which boasts more than 50,000 doTERRA consultants, or “wellness advocates,” in Utah alone. “We are able to run a global office out of Utah, with 1,900 employees communicating in, literally, more than 100 languages.”
For Alyx Garner, Lipsense lipstick consultant and mother of two, the prevalence of MLMs in Utah is about more than an educated Mormon sales force.
“There’s so much pressure in LDS culture to be a stay-at-home mom,” said Garner, a devout Mormon who took up direct sales while raising her children.-KUTV story “Follow the Profit”
The core issue is “Mormon culture”. Just like with child sexual abuse, the LDS Church also feels that scams, fraud and theft should be dealt with internally, through the church, not through police. Keep in mind, child sexual abuse is not viewed as “predatory behavior” by the General Authority of the LDS Church, but rather a “character flaw” or “sin”. Ballard, just as the LDS Church teaches; sees Mormon men as the “real victims” in all this. That pornography and prostitutes go hand in hand. This is what seduces, and tempts Mormon men to engage in deviancy (like masturbation). So, many believe Ballard has committed himself to combat what puts Mormon men’s souls at greatest risk- by targeting the “seductresses”. After all, it was Eve who gave the forbidden fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge of good and evil” to Adam. We’ll touch more on this later in this article and in the series overall.
This almost certainly is one of the driving reasons why Ballard and Attorney General Reyes has remained mum on child sex abuse scandals plaguing the LDS Church. Keep in mind, in the state of Utah, all the red tape and obstacles that he [Ballard] complains about in the United States (ya know, due process and pesky things like the Constitution), is gone. With Reyes as Attorney General, Ballard would have free reign in the state to pretty much do as he pleases. Instead, he goes to countries with black, brown and Asian women and children.
The Anti-Human Trafficking industry is not only wrought with Fraud and Deception- it’s the Cornerstone
Echoes of the Past
The concept behind today’s organizations combating “human trafficking” is built almost entirely on paranoia, fraud and deception- it’s a fairy tale that’s been around hundreds of years that has continually manifested itself into something else entirely.
White slavery. Pedophile rings being ran out of daycare facilities. Satanic panic. Democrats and some Republicans (because anything to the left of poaching minorities and homeless people in the middle of the night is considered Marxist) are beholden to a cabal of Satanist pedophiles. Yes, we’ve heard it all before, and it manifests itself to describe certain individuals, groups, behaviors, ideas or elements- again and again.
The problem is not only in definition and concept alone, but anti-human traffickers like Tim Ballard that have twisted and misled the public making human trafficking what they want it to be, which is a profitable product that’s easy to sell. I wish I could say that Tim Ballard’s objectives and goals was purely financial… but more on that later.
In reading OUR literature, listening to Ballard speak and in their videos, it’s clear most of their propaganda is identical to the ‘White Slavery’ myth that lead to hysteria at the turn of the century.
Beginning in 1907, stories proliferated in the U.S. mass media of White women kidnapped and sold into prostitution by “organized bands of immigrants alleged to be conspiring with top city officials”. It peaked in 1910, when Chicago based attorney and U.S. Congressman James Robert Mann announced that an “international crime ring was abducting young girls in Europe, importing them, and forcing them to work in Chicago brothels”. Panic ensued across the United States with claims of white women and girls being forced into prostitution by pimps and drug suppliers, with horror stories from victims (later disproven) of this “sex ring” appearing in newspaper across the nation. This led to the passage of the United States White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910 also known as the “Mann Act”.
It also banned the interstate transport of females for ‘immoral purposes’ (which could be anything based on any evidence- both real and/or imagined). Its primary intent was to address prostitution and immorality by pushing fear, and prosecuting it using extremely vague and broad laws that gave law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to arrest and prosecute not only prostitutes and their Johns under the ruse of “immorality”, but just about anyone. This led to injustices that to this very day have not been addressed, reversed and apologized for. Black men with white women was considered deplorable and immoral. Both men & women of color, homosexuals, women with parents of influence whom didn’t like her lover were prosecuted under “the Mann Act”.
Like today, these “kidnapping rings” and sex rings” have never been uncovered. Yet, Tim Ballard and OUR cultists parrot and peddle to the public stories of women and children being abducted and sold into sex slavery. Every single missing child is pushed into the public sphere as some “elaborate human trafficking abduction”.
Ballard and his team at OUR took the most gruesome, horrific and alarming cases in the public eye, and turned into the norm. To lend OUR more credibility, they partnered with Elizabeth Smart and The Elizabeth Smart Foundation. OUR used her case and her story as your ‘typical’ human trafficking case.
The only problem is, it’s just simply not true. The Smart case was an extremely rare form of abduction, in fact, in the US stranger abductions account for less than 1% of all kidnappings. To date there has not been a single case of a child stranger abduction- where the child turned up in a foreign country as “a sex slave”. Yet, this seems to be a common theme and story in the “anti-human trafficking” marketing scheme.
In an interview in May 2014, Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute who led efforts to pass the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, told the Las Vegas Journal-Review that, “the anti-trafficking movement has become more about securing grants for research than protecting victims. Now it’s just one big federal entitlement program,” he said, “and everybody is more worried about where they’re going to get their next grant.”
Then there was the “Stranger Danger” scare in the 1980’s following the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh, a six-year-old who was abducted from the Hollywood Mall in Hollywood, Florida. While horrible and tragic, it would prove to be an extremely rare case of such a senseless act. His father, John Walsh shot to superstardom being the voice and face of crime fighting in America. By 1987, John Walsh was more recognizable to schoolkids that McGruff the Crime Dog, who was created to appeal to children and educate them about safety and crime. Stories of children being abducted and murdered dominated the airwaves and news cycle throughout the 80’s.
The United States was in a full blown hysteria. Law enforcement did little to curb these fears. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed The Missing Children’s Act and police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) set up fingerprinting stations across the country, so that parents could voluntarily have their children fingerprinted, which prompted the ACLU to file a lawsuit. Of course the FBI would love to have everyone’s fingerprint on file, but it’s not if they go missing. A 1983, survey showed that 67% of parents thought their child(ren) would be abducted at some point their in their lifetimes.
This hysteria led to Sen. Paul Simon from Illinois to send out a letter to fellow members of Congress, that read “150,000 or more (children) are taken by estranged parents, thousands of others are abducted by strangers who want children for prostitution, child pornography or other exploitative purposes. Some 4,000 are later found dead.”
The only problem is, Sen. Paul Simon was either misinformed or confused, maybe both? That year just 67 children had been abducted by what the FBI classifies as “traditional kidnapping” or “kidnapping by a stranger”. 90% of the children were recovered in than 24 hours that year. 900 children had been murdered that year, most killed by parents or relatives of the victims and some by the growing street gang violence.
It was no where near 4,000 murdered and not a single case was linked to prostitution or human trafficking.
Scholar and expert Zbigniew Dumienski explains in his research into human trafficking in Timor-Leste, in a heavily sourced and vetted report, “Critical Reflections on Anti-human Trafficking: The Case of Timor-Leste”,
‘[i]n practical political terms, if something is not measured it does not exist, if it is not counted it does not count’. This reality has certainly been recognized by the US TIP Report 2010 which presents figures on the estimated number of victims worldwide and the number of people experiencing forced labour in North Korea (150,000–200,000, according to US Department of State), which is remarkable intelligence on a country that is considered an impenetrable ‘intelligence nightmare’.
Journalists too like to use big numbers to inform the public about the alleged scale of trafficking. For instance, every new major sports event attracts dramatic news stories (of dubious merit) on the ‘thousands’ of victims of human trafficking. What all these figures have in common is that they rarely have identifiable sources or transparent methodologies behind them.
In most instances, they are nothing more than the ‘result of certain activists who pull their numbers out of thin air’. These estimates are so often so tenuous that debunking them has become ‘a sport for skeptical journalists’ . The truth is that all attempts to quantify human trafficking are ‘questionable’ since the phenomenon of trafficking is reportedly a vague ‘covert activity’ happening in the ‘shadow economy’. What statistics on human trafficking seem to do best is obscure the murkiness of the concept itself.-Zbigniew Dumienski, “Critical Reflections on Anti-human Trafficking: The Case of Timor-Leste”
Charlatans and Saints (We’re not talking about Joseph Smith)
The cornerstone of Human Trafficking is myths supported by cherry picked data based on junk science. Sadly, there is no shortage of people like Tim Ballard out there to exploit your fears, worries, generosity and desire to protect the society’s vulnerable and weak. Most important of all, your children. While we certainly will dig deeper into this subject and those involved, right now I think it’s important to remind those who are familiar with this topic- of someone who was the face of human trafficking and her organization that operated in the very same manner and with the same type of authority as Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad.
Who in the True Crime community and certainly who in today’s anti-human trafficking advocacy could forget Somaly Mam and the Somaly Mam Foundation(SMF)? Mam is very much the inspiration behind most- if not all the “anti-human trafficking” advocacy today and organizations like OUR are modeled after her’s. In fact, they’re nearly identical. Including the stories of inspiration and hair raising rescues and raids with her organization AFESIP (the raid and rescue team supposedly in combination, and loosely affiliated with foreign government agencies). It’s like a MLM sales presentation cycle to be honest. Should we make a graph and PowerPoint presentation?
Just as OUR was coming together, getting ready to be pitched as a reality TV show; Somaly Mam was speaking at the United Nations in NYC on April 3, 2012, when cracks in her story began to emerge.
Mam would claim that eight Cambodian girls had been killed after her organization, AFESIP conducted a “high-profile raid” on a massage parlor (sound familiar?) at the Chai Hour II Hotel in Phnom Penh. This was allegedly, where 83 women and girls were taken from and placed in Mam’s “aftercare”/”refuge” center (sound familiar?). According to Mam, in retaliation for the raid on the Chai Hour II Hotel, her teenage daughter was kidnapped and raped by human traffickers.
This wasn’t the first time Mam had told the story of her daughter’s kidnapping and rape either. She had wrote about it her bestselling autobiography, “The Road of Lost Innocence: The Story of a Cambodian Heroine”
Less than a month after Somaly Mam’s heartbreaking testimony before the UN, The Cambodia Daily broke a story regarding the claim by Somaly Mam, that her daughter had been kidnapped and was also a victim of sex trafficking.
The alleged kidnapping, which was referred to in a speech by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month, was also refuted on Sunday by Afesip’s former director and Ms. Mam’s ex-husband Pierre Legros.
Mr. Legros said that his daughter was not kidnapped, but had run away with her boyfriend in 2006 and that he was speaking out now in order to protect the privacy of daughter, whom he claimed was being used as “marketing” for the Somaly Mam Foundation.
Officials at Afesip in Phnom Penh have referred all questions regarding the alleged kidnapping to the spokesperson of the Somaly Mam Foundation, who said a response was pending while Ms. Mam receives minor medical treatment.
Aarti Kapoor, a legal adviser at Afesip between 2003 and 2006, said that colleagues at the organization in 2006 informed her that Ms. Mam’s daughter had run away from home, and that there was not mention of abduction at that time.–The Cambodian Daily, April 25, 2012; “More Questions Over Somaly Mam’s Kidnapping Claim”
Except the only problem is, it just simply wasn’t true.
Even after the Somaly Mam story about the Cambodian raid and her daughter were outed, like Operation Underground Railroad, her devotees believed and made excuses for her behavior. It wasn’t like she told a drunken fib or was bullshitting her friends and neighbors. The woman testified before the UN, in front of journalists, colleagues, real victims of abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking… and the entire world.
Not only did she tell a harrowing story of a pre-dawn raid, attempting to rescue children and eight were senselessly killed by the Cambodian Army, but that her daughter, who like many teenagers runaway to be with their friends or boyfriends/girlfriends or to escape parents for taking their phone or maybe even actual abuse; but that she too was kidnapped and raped repeatedly by human traffickers.
Mam struck terror into the hearts of Americans. A story of human trafficking rings and the agents behind them, that are “so powerful”, not even Somaly Mam’s family is safe from “the network” or as they now like to call it, “the cabal”.
Mam and her non-profit was still invincible. Her legion of supporters and true crime junkies had long been sucked into the great white slavery myth of the 2010s. They shouted down critics. Engaged in online character assassinations, accusing anyone and everyone remotely questioning Mam and her organization of “supporting pedophilia” and “rape”. Portraying them as sick perverts… Questioning Mam meant putting yourself and your reputation at risk.
Others would go on to justify her lies. Besides, in their eyes- “who cares if she fibbed, maybe told a little white lie here and there- maybe she was figuratively speaking “for all victims” when she stated it (or some prophecy or parable)? Regardless, she was saving lives and combating Human Trafficking right on the front lines.
Or was she?
In an article by Lynn Packer (soon to be republished here)-
It was Newsweek that published what is perhaps the most publicized sex slave exposé. A cover story last year debunked the story of Somaly Mam, a Cambodian whose 501(c)(3) foundation raised millions to fight sex traffickers. Among her supporters were presidential-candidate-to-be
Hillary Clinton, actresses Meg Ryan and Susan Sarandon and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. Mam’s autobiography, “The Road of Lost Innocence,” was an international best-seller.
It told her story of how she was sold into sex slavery. She said her grandfather put her in a brothel where she was forced to work ten years as a prostitute. She claimed to have been tortured with wires hooked to a car battery. Mam had purported victims tell chilling stories about beatings and gang rapes. One claimed an angry pimp gouged out one of her eyes.
Newsweek found medical records that debunked that story. Another “victim” “confessed that her story was fabricated and carefully rehearsed for the cameras under Mam’s instruction, and only after she was chosen from a group of girls who had been put through an audition.”
As for Mam, herself, Newsweek found a relative and childhood friend who said she spent her youth in school not a brothel.-Lynn Packer, Child Sex Slave Charity Scams and Hoaxes
Mormon Fundamentalism – Vice, Virtue and the War on
“They should have been at home where they belonged”– James Robert Mann, author of The Mann Act speaking on women being arrested for taking part in a ‘beauty pageant’
In speaking with numerous people who’ve known OUR’s founder Tim Ballard and others in his orbit over the years, on the surface he’s just a red blooded American boy. Good looking, striking blue eyes and always with a look of passionate concern (perhaps obsessive?), Ballard has modeled his appearance and stride as a “Jesus” like “Messiah” figure with a similar backstory. That is perhaps why he personally demanded that James Caviezel who played white Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, portray none other than himself, Tim Ballard in the upcoming OUR propaganda film Sound of Freedom. Perhaps Ballard was won over by a young James Caviezel when he played an easily dispatched tomato can in the film Diggstown, a film where James Woods plays a con man and Louis Gossett Jr. plays a former boxer? Wait a minute.. That sounds like… No…
There is no denying that Ballard is a devout Mormon and holds deep fundamental beliefs in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. That’s clear just from his beliefs and statements made in interviews.
While speaking on human trafficking he avoids postulating in an ecclesiastical manner (let’s be honest, he does speak as the only and final authority on human trafficking, which clearly he’s clueless on), he leaves clues in the subject matter itself and then when you look at Mormon doctrine, it all goes hand in hand. His views on women, masturbation, sex, pornography, prostitution, and immigration weaves this fairy tale, and a very dangerous one. For many Mormons, Ballard goes a step too far.
Ballard take a hard right stance on “illegals” and “Mexicans”. He feels that building the wall will slow down or “prevent” human trafficking. This again shows Ballard’s ignorance of the subject altogether. Most instances of human trafficking, I should make this clear- “actual” human trafficking are labor driven and many “victims” are brought here legally (or under the guise of ‘legally’) right through guarded ports of entry.
Passport stamped, welcomed and waved through.
Today, whether from Africa, Latin or South America or Asia, much of the trafficking that goes on inside the U.S. is far more sophisticated and really not as ‘black and white’ as OUR would like donors to believe. At least nothing playing Rambo or Commando could fix and that just doesn’t seem like fun to Ballard nor does it bring in the big dollars. Traffickers are really more like “travel agents” than shady pimps wearing Shemaghs and carrying AK-47s.
These type of traffickers who charge extraordinary fees to get both men and women into the United States, aren’t necessarily “abducting” or doing anything against their will. Typically they charge about $10,000 US Dollars. These “agents” then get the documents for them- usually legally, but sometimes they are forged or counterfeited. To be clear, the cost to get here and getting the legal documents are not that much. Really, it’s a fraction of the cost.
The problem is, vast majority of these countries are corrupt and many others are also unstable. If you really wish to get into the United States quickly it requires someone with connections and as always, money talks.
What essentially happens is- those who wish to get into the United States put about half of the fee down, and then agree to work off the remaining amount over the next few years. Associates of these ‘travel agents’ arrange housing, a place to work and agrees to ‘look after them’ until they get more accustomed to the American way of life. They also hold onto those citizenship or visa papers until they satisfy the debt- at double or triple the amount agreed on. They live in crowded houses and apartments to keep costs down. They are also paranoid just by virtue of the strangers around them. Basically they are stuck a few years and milked out of somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 on average.
There is little they can do. Most don’t know or know very little of the language, customs and culture here, which that alone is intimidating. Turning to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) agency will get them locked up, then deported and barred from entry for life. That is because they weren’t the ones to fill out and obtain the documents. CIS labels this as fraudulent entry and turns it over to Border Patrol.
Ultimately, our hyper-aggressive immigration and enforcement policies don’t make the bureau and the departments under its umbrella that trustworthy or welcoming. Look, white Americans such as myself are afraid of dealing with Border Patrol coming into our own country. Maybe Tim Ballard can help me out with that.
In the end, really this type of human trafficking doesn’t make for good TV nor a good fundraiser. Victims aren’t as sympathetic, certainly not in ‘grave conditions’ and it just isn’t that interesting overall. It probably helps that Ballard and crew can’t exploit the consumer and pull at their heartstrings with tales of deviant wild sex and horrific violence immediately interrupted by a ground-rumbling choir of exploding flashbangs with commandos entering the room from all directions against a heart-pounding film score. It’s as if you’re ingesting cocaine from just watching the film. It is that intense.
One last inconvenient truth is, however, Ballard knows his consumers. Like Glenn Beck, who is also a devout Mormon) and OUR backer, they don’t take a liking to both those legal and illegal “types”. Remember they’re “taking their (white men’s)
fruit picking jobs” and “invading America”. While Ballard doesn’t want to appear like he is cavorting with or entertaining support from racists, he doesn’t want to completely break with them either. That’s less money. Never will he suggest actually changing policy in other nations or granting these women and children asylum. That’s a subject for another article.
Other common forms of trafficking, some which are much more common- Ballard seems completely dubious or unaware of. Maybe he just don’t care to get with actual experts?
Dowries. The sale of women and young girls by their own families (this is especially rampant FLDS sects). Family run businesses bringing in relatives and using them illegally for cheap labor. Religious conscription. Conscription at the border… Subjects he never speaks of.
Ballard and OUR’s brand, their primary focus remains on nations with black, brown and Asian people. These nations OUR operates in are also seriously corrupt and worse, majority are well known to have human rights issues and numerous violations, especially when it comes to women and these country’s culture overall when it comes to women’s rights. Nations where Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is widely and openly practiced . Girls banned from anything beyond a 3rd grade level education. Yet we are supposed to believe these young girls are rehabilitated and integrated into a functioning society after being rescued from a pimp, who is likely a family member, boyfriend or the only person who probably does look after her, as sick as that sounds.
Regardless of education, training and resources, these women (if there are any serious rescues) are usually left in a worse position than before. There are even criticisms that it [OUR intervention] was nothing more than an attempt at LDS Church conversion through their services. Other women who OUR allegedly “rescued” complained that they were held in rundown facilities, having to wait for their boyfriends to either get bonded out of jail or an associate, family member or friend to come get them so they, “can get back to work”.
There are horror stories reported from volunteers working these so-called “aftercare” facilities OUR partnered with, rumors of young women and young girls that either disappeared or fled, because local criminals believed they were “snitches” and were working with authorities.
Father knows best… Tales from the ‘Good Book’
Mormon beliefs and culture since it’s founding by Joseph Smith have held unfavorable views of women. While that could be said of all Judeo-Christian religions, and religions in general- that women’s rights, their value and worth had always been less than a man’s, obviously the more structured and involved the religion is, the less value women which is directly in line with ecclesiastical interpretation, today’s culture and society within the church.
At times, it seems Mormon beliefs and culture was and to this day is a step back when it comes to it’s views and treatment of women. In Mormon culture, it would be more in line and on par with Islam, ‘lite’- mirroring progressive Islamic nations today, where there is less a strict adherence to customs in the public sphere, no they don’t degrade and abuse their wives (and some will argue that-that alone is proof that women are treated with respect and dignity, because they are not slapped around), but she really is a second class citizen.
While I’m sure those of the faith and former members of the faith may rebuke my comparison between LDS and Islam- just cut the BS. It’s clear- without doubt, that a man has superiority over a woman in the LDS Church; straight from LDS doctrine, prophets/leaders, statements, survivor’s stories and keen observation of their treatment throughout the LDS Church’s brief 200 year history.
Of course, some will say, “that’s not true” the church has addressed this. For complete transparency, finally, in January 2020, the LDS Church issued a statement clarifying their stance on “feminism” (something they once called a threat to society, terrorism, claimed was poisoning Mormon men, danger to human existence, even claimed it was “prostitution”). Let’s take a gander, shall we?
Men and women are equal—one is not superior to the other. They are also different, with different roles within a family. Both men and women fulfill their highest purpose together as husband and wife, not separately.-The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints
It goes onto say-
However, sometimes certain philosophies and social movements bearing the feminism label advocate extreme ideas that are not in harmony with the teachings of the gospel. These can lead people to become distracted from (or even work against) the ideals of marriage and family. Latter-day Saints frown upon such things.-The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints
It appears one thing is clear here. Women, you’re to be nothing other than wives to serve your husband and raise your children. Anything else, well that is a distraction from “Heavenly Father’s” plan and ultimately is plays right into a form of extremism. Worse, behavior modification, influence and lifestyle control are all major red flags of being in a cult. Your dreams, inspirations and ideas are all secondary to what you are supposed to do and be. Not only a devout Mormon, but a wife and mother. Anything outside those boundaries you risk isolation, rejection, shunning, excommunication and have been taught your soul is forever at hazard.
If that’s not your cup of tea, it sounds to me you’ve already been damned and are living in hell.
That is the foundation and framework upon which Tim Ballard draws his views & conclusions on who women are, and what women really want- even if they, themselves don’t know it. They should also know their place in his eyes. Which is why he can say with a straight face things like, “95% of all prostitution is forced”, hence ‘it is trafficking’. Yet, studies have shown that it’s the other way around. That less than 5% of women who once worked in the sex industry or currently do, have ever been under the influence or required the services of a pimp.
The internet has made sex work significantly less dangerous (women don’t have to be out on the streets), it eliminated most of the other criminal elements that come with it (drugs, turf wars, muggings, robberies, random beatings, sexual assaults and gang violence) and are less a public nuisance. Violence against women in the sex industry is at it’s lowest, but there is still so much work that needs to be done. Last thing they need is more Tim Ballards imposing their beliefs on women through brute force and intimidation under the ruse of ‘rescuing’.
and the Scripture says…
Joseph Smith didn’t make things much better for women, especially in the “Book of Mormon” & other “teachings’ and even in the afterlife. Although they denied it for years until about 2015, polygamy is very much a “Mormon thing” (just like in Islam). Polygamy was a practice their founder Joseph Smith was engaged in, as was the 2nd President of the LDS Church, Brigham Young- a racist and misogynist Mormon extremist, who betrayed the United States and enacted ‘blood atonement’.
While the LDS Church only recently admitted that Joseph Smith took up 40 wives (since they couldn’t shutdown the internet and prevent their members from seeing it and the evidence was overwhelming), what they won’t admit is that several of them were stolen from friends and members of Church. Some as young as 14 years-old. It was well documented that Smith demonstrated predatory behavior, grooming young girls and using promises of eternal salvation and threatening eternal damnation for the family members of these girls if they refused to give their blessing for them to be sealed to him for all of eternity.
Though the LDS Church finally admitted that Joseph Smith was a polygamist, it vehemently denies to this day that he ever engaged in sexual relations with them. That flies in face of sworn testimony from Oliver Cowdery, one of the ‘Three Witnesses’ of Mormon lore, who testified that Smith’s “dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger’s … in which I strictly declared that I had never deserted from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself“.
Cowdery was ex-communicated shortly afterwards for suggesting that Joseph Smith engaged in ‘adultery’.
Facts and the Mormon Church do not go hand in hand. The LDS Church opposes them so much so, the General Authority made it a requirement to lie to defend it.
What is so disturbing, is how the LDS Church and Mormon Apologists today defend polygamy back then as nothing more than some formality to protect the wives (physically, spiritually and financially) and their children since men outnumbered women back then.
The only problem is, it’s just simply not true.
Women greatly outnumbered men back then. Especially in Utah.
They also like to use the Bible to defend polygamy in the LDS Church. They will say things like “it was common back then” or “it was common in the Bible”. They use the rationale, “while it is unacceptable, illegal and disgusting today, customs and culture was different back then”.
First, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did not “live in Biblical times”. Second, polygamy and bigamy was not a concept or way of American life or culture. It was unheard of, until well… the LDS Church and, it wasn’t in the original doctrine Smith authored. Joseph Smith invented it as he grew increasingly more popular, powerful and acquired more wealth. As time went on, Smith was caught in the middle of an affair with a woman named Fanny Alger. It is clear that he’d mold the faith around his lifestyle which soon involved lust for both married women and young girls.
Those are just a few examples. The LDS Church’s misogynistic principles and views over the last 200 years are well documented. Worse, they are apparent to this very day.
OUR silences and intimidates women…
Not only is it quite clear with OUR in philosophy and design and by statements from its founder, Tim Ballard, how they view women, but OUR’s President of Operations Jonathan Lines, is cut from the same cloth and fits right in. I’ve interviewed numerous men and women and read text messages from Lines sent to women, sent to retired police detective Paul Dostie and others.
The conduct and behavior of OUR’s President of Operations Jonathan Lines, while in the field supposedly looking for Karlie Guse, was described by multiple witnesses as “misogynistic”, “hostile”, “incompetent“ and “relentlessly engaged in bullying and harassing behavior”. Despite his so called experience in such matters he, “engaged in rumors, conspiracy theories, gossip and made unsubstantiated claims”, like a high school boy. The manner in which he conducted himself both in person, on the phone and in text messages is cause for grave concern. So much concern, that witnesses contacted OUR and the board of OUR.
Their response was to hire Callister, Broberg & Becker who, in a letter dated January 29, 2018, admitted to receiving “several complaints by individuals against Mr. Lines”. Without an investigation by OUR, the firm or an independent third party, the witnesses were never questioned, the material evidence was not reviewed nor did OUR reach out to try and remedy the situation, apologize or explain themselves. Instead, they hid behind a law firm and simply cleared him of wrongdoing.
To think this is the manner which Operation Underground Railroad and Mr. Jon Lines operates in foreign nations where human rights and women’s rights are virtually non-existant, especially handling sex abuses victims, trafficked women and children, the frail, weak and poor; victims who statistically are five-to-seven times more likely to be exploited and abused again- is chilling.D.D.L. Moore- Operation Underground Railroad Retains Controversial Law Firm Kirton McConkie
One can only wonder with amazement and awe, no… no… not just to see Tim Ballard the messiah, but if there is a certain culture and way of life in order for one to “fit in” the illustrious Operation Underground Railroad fraternity.
While I’ve long called OUR a club for middle-aged white men to play out their James Bond fantasies, one may get the impression that there is a certain level of religious fanaticism, misogyny and arrogance to find poor corrupt countries to take videos of the ‘jump team’ in action so they all can make a quick buck.
After all, OUR in it’s conceptual stages wasn’t just rescuing women and children… Ballard saw it as a reality TV series.
On his website, http://lyingforthelord.com/, journalist and author Lynn Packer writes-
When Tim Ballard and his associates were conceptualizing Operation Underground Railroad in early 2013 the plan was to not only rescue child sex slaves but also to capture the operations on video for a reality television series. Mormon filmmakers Darrin Fletcher, Chet Thomas and Jerald Molen first sought funding for the series from Glenn Beck. They already had a partnership with Beck to produce a children’s education program for Beck’s cable television and online network.
Co-producer Darrin Fletcher said they began pitching Beck the idea of funding a TV series about a well-armed “jump team” making dramatic child sex slave rescues when “Glenn pounded on his desk pointed, at Chet and
me, and said, ‘I know what I want. I want a television series and I want you two to produce it for me.’
Beck asked the filmmaker’s company, FletChet Entertainment, to produce a pilot or teaser. (FletChet Entertainment, Inc. is a now expired Utah corporation that had been formed in 2011.) At the point FletChet was pitching Glenn Beck, Tim Ballard was still working for the government and O.U.R. was still in the planning stages with no actual missions that could be filmed.
So Ballard and FletChet videoed some exNavy SEALS and arm Special Ops members undergoing training with automatic weapons. They produced a “teaser” for a series they would title The Abolitionists-Lynn Packer, Operation Underground Railroad’s Roots; A Reality Television Series
…[h]e(Tim Ballard) immediately rails against pornography and then prostitution…. “100% of human traffickers are porn addicts” and that ‘95% of prostitution is forced’. You’ll see, OUR this is a war on women, because in Mormon culture, masturbation and pornography consumption is what leads to deviancy and women are providing this forbidden fruit to innocent Mormon men, just as Eve gave the forbidden fruit from the ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’ to Adam. It’s no coincidence that OUR was formed just as the General Authority began it’s continued war on masturbation and as reports surfaced that Utah was the largest consumers of pornography.– Inactive LDS Member and Former OUR organizer.
It’s true. In numerous interviews Ballard has stated or states in some variation, “100% of human traffickers are porn addicts”. In another interview on a podcast, “100% of men that rape children are porn addicts. Consequently, porn is creating a lot of the demand for child sex”.
We know that is not true. In fact, MAJORITY of actual human trafficking cases are “forced labor”. Hard pressed to see how Jenna Jameson videos is the inspiration behind the forced labor racket.
Science, has also demonstrated that there is little connect between porn addiction and sex addiction and then rape other than the sexual connection itself. There is no correlation as each has it’s own distinct behaviors and satisfactions/fulfillment and rape is something else entirely. While a person with addictive personalities will switch addictions if not properly managing and treated, rape is not an addiction. Rather, ‘rapists’ are “turned on” by power and dominance, violence- not sexual desire itself.
Sadly (but not surprisingly), as I began to listen to others & read into Ballard’s statements outside of mainstream videos and publications, I began to see cracks in the selling points, I noticed he took aim at things like “feminism” and “women’s rights”.
Ballard is a deeply religious, a fundamentalist if not radicalized Mormon, who claims it is his calling “to free children from bondage and sex trafficking”, but in reality, his real war may be those he saves… women and children. When it comes to issues of race, the LDS Church and where OUR operates is no mistake either.
The LDS Church believes these women and children are seducing Mormon men with the “forbidden fruit”, and it’s putting their souls in peril. Pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, women’s sexuality, etc… has all been lumped into this “human trafficking” phenomenon. Now merging those with pedophilia, playing into white suburban girls and women’s fear of being “abducted at malls and sold as sex slaves in Somalia or Dubai”, packaging child exploitation and runaway statistics into one nice neat little package of “human trafficking” and wrapping it with a pretty
pink yellow bow (with a complimentary CrossFit brochure).
Fraud and deception is nothing new to the anti-trafficking movement either.
“I’ve never in my life prayed so hard for the Second Coming”-Tim Ballard in an interview with The Mormon Channel