Anti-human trafficking NGO Polaris Project is “deeply concerned” over The Numbers Game Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) and Tim Ballard continues to play. Under multiple criminal investigations and their legitimacy in question, Tim Ballard and OUR drifted to “the point of no return”. With their carefully crafted public image now shed, their ruse fell apart and the real Tim Ballard was exposed.
Burning All Bridges
Over the past few years, law enforcement and legitimate anti-human trafficking non-profits have severed ties and repeatedly addressed Operation Underground Railroad and Tim Ballard lies and misrepresentations. Under multiple criminal investigations and their legitimacy in question, Tim Ballard and OUR drifted to “the point of no return”. With their carefully crafted public image now shed, their ruse fell apart. The real Tim Ballard was exposed. Their connections with QAnon, radical anti-government right-wing militias and white nationalists began to emerge. Despite it all, OUR continues to embellish, fabricate and misrepresent data and statistics to drive donations and foster support from the radical right.
Since August 2020, at least two dozen law enforcement agencies either cut ties or denied affiliation with OUR. Their involvement with law enforcement was mostly just donations (which anyone can do) not partnerships as OUR perpetuated.
Despite claiming affiliation with the United States Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), as well as multiple state ICAC task forces, there either was no affiliation or OUR had simply donated money at one time or another. There were no active partnerships other than honorary. Tim Ballard, Matt Osborne and OUR staff requires law enforcement agencies to sign O.U.R.’s Domestic Law Enforcement Support Mutual Agreement for the Receipt of Contributions or MAD.
Operation Underground Railroad’s Domestic Law Enforcement Support Mutual Agreement for the Receipt of Contributions (MAD) allows O.U.R. to make scant financial donations and materials such as the Graykey Digital Forensic Tool. In return, this allows O.U.R. to masquerade as “consultants”, “partners” and “operators”, posturing themselves as the driving force behind the arrest of violent offenders and the rescue of trafficking victims. It has emboldened O.U.R. to make outlandish and disproven claims, such as having rescued over 5,000 trafficking victims. In reality, they’ve had no involvement in cases, operations or individual arrests.
The Mutual Agreement Document explicitly states:
“that O.U.R. donors deserve to be be informed regarding how their donations equate to “measurables” necessary to combat child exploitation. By accepting this donation, you agree to provide O.U.R. with numbers of any individuals arrested, or victims identified with the assistance of the donation. O.U.R. does not require require any names or case identifiers, just raw numbers provided in bimonthly reports which O.U.R. will solicit“
The ‘MAD’ also specifies “Where O.U.R.’s contributions support an operation resulting in arrests or other newsworthy activity, acknowledgement of O.U.R.’s support is requested in Associated Press releases”. It goes on to state that O.U.R.’s media rep will “coordinate with LEA’s designated media rep”.
We witnessed this first hand when O.U.R’s. “press agent” pestered and solicited Washington State Patrol for press releases via email regarding the NET Nanny stings. One thing was clear, Operation Underground Railroad’s top priority was publicity.
Every dollar they donate, generates more “sizzle”.
The only exception was Utah’s ICAC, which was under the Office of the Attorney General, who was none other than Sean Reyes. For years, Sean Reyes used his office to peddle and promote Operation Underground Railroad and Tim Ballard. While serving as Attorney General, went on “missions” to Haiti supposedly rescuing child sex slaves and to appear in the film Operation Toussaint. When Haitian journalists and then Haitian government officials were questioned about the claims made in Operation Toussaint, as usual they could not find records of the arrests.
After the film, while using his office in another publicity stunt to help Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad raise funds; Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes invited Haitian Attorney General Dameus and a delegation of officials to Utah for a public awards ceremony. Augmenting their in field medals awarded during the filming of Operation Toussaint, Reyes wanted to officially recognize them with nonexistent awards “for fighting human trafficking and corruption in their country”
Dameus resigned from office in late 2018 after being accused of corruption and incompetence. It was alleged that he had the home of one of Haiti President Moise’s political rivals demolished without legal authority. He was accused of intentionally mishandling the investigation into charges the President Moises embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked for badly needed social programs. Such as the Haiti Orphanage crisis, that he and everyone else in Operation Toussaint profited off of- especially Tim Ballard.
What about Haiti President Jovenel Moise?
President Moise, besides being accused of corruption after he took office, he was suspected of fraud before.
President Moise was assassinated July 7, 2021.
Certainly Tim Ballard, Utah AG Sean Reyes and Congresswoman Mia Love would have known that before getting into a partnership and in business with him. Then they continued to portray him as an honest politician- despite his reputation of corruption
In December 2020, Utah ICAC severed all ties with OUR due to an investigation into Sean Reyes, Tim Ballard and ICAC’s relationship with Operation Underground Railroad.
Raffa International and doTerra severed their partnership with OUR in 2020. On the eve of Human Trafficking Awareness Day (February 11, 2021), doTerra release a memo claimed to have found “concrete evidence” of OUR misconduct.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was founded by Adam Walsh’s parents, Reve and John Walsh with a number of other children advocates back in 1984. OUR repeatedly misrepresented data and statistics released by NCMEC. They had to clarify OUR’s misrepresentations and fabrications.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is operated by the Polaris Project and partially funded by the U.S. government. On multiple occasions, OUR and Tim Ballard specifically, misrepresented and outright fabricated numbers and statistics on social media and during fundraisers, that he linked to Polaris.
The Numbers Game
In May 2022, Lynn Packer asked Polaris CCO Caren Benjamin about the “Numbers Controversy” regarding the data in reference to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. She stated, “The data that we hold from the National Human Trafficking Hotline is complex and is misunderstood or misused all the time”
Benjamin went on to say, “We are, of course, deeply concerned about the mis & dis information out there about human trafficking… Any definitive statement about the prevalence of human trafficking in North America should be taken with a grain of salt. There is not prevalence data. Period”
This isn’t the first time that Tim Ballard has been caught and called for misrepresenting Polaris Project’s data, as well as statistics released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Back on July 27, 2020, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Human Trafficking Task Force publicly admonished Tim Ballard for intentionally misrepresenting and fabricating both NCMEC and Polaris Project’s data and heat maps for donations.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department then warned the public about Operation Underground Railroad and their motives.
“Human Trafficking is a money maker for the traffickers, more profitable than selling drugs and guns. Unfortunately, it has also become profitable for some seeking grant money and donations under the guise of providing services to victims.”
In fact, OUR’s former partner Raffa House, Polaris Project and law enforcement agencies have corrected Ballard publicly, multiple times and warned the public about their motives and agenda.
Resources and Further Reading
Las Vegas Metropolitan PD Human Trafficking Task Force calls out O.U.R. – American Crime Journal |
(6) Lynn Kenneth Packer – YouTube
doTerra Internal Memo states it found “concrete evidence” of O.U.R. misconduct – American Crime Journal |