The Candace Owens Show has tackled a topic Owens says she needs to “challenge herself on”. That is, the argument over whether prostitution should be legal.
Her guest on the show was Tim Ballard, Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R) and the author of several books. He organises activities at both a national and international level to stop child trafficking. Ballard worked as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations for over ten years.
During his time working for the US government, he worked on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and worked as an undercover agent for the US Child Sec Tourism Jump Team. He spent the majority of his career working out of the US-Mexico port of entry in Calexico, CA, specialising in child exploitation and trafficking cases.
“I went down to the border to combat terrorism. I looked into Mexico from my office. My boss called me in to say, “Hey, we’ve selected you to begin this new group – an anti-child trafficking group.
I literally, like most of my colleagues, was like, “what’s child trafficking?” No one was talking about it then.”
Owens clarified during the interview that “Child trafficking is the fastest growing enterprise in the world.” Ballard confirmed:
“Yes, child trafficking is the fast growing criminal enterprise in the world. Thirty million people are enslaved, two million children are enslaved – whether that’s slave labour or organ harvesting, which is something we’re working on, especially in the Middle East.”
“I said no at first. I talked to my wife and said, “Can you believe I’ve been asked to work on this?” We had [seven] little children at the time. She said, “There’s no way you’re doing this, you’ll bring darkness into our house.”
Ballard had his speech prepared to say no to his boss. As he was rehearsing his speech in the mirror, his wife came in with tears in her eyes.
“I’m wrong, we’re wrong. You have to do this. For the very reason that we thought you couldn’t do this – because we have kids – is the reason we have to say yes.”
“My speech became easy – it was just “yes”. It was 100 times worse than I could possibly have imagined in my mind. The things that people do to children, young children… we’re talking about five years old, six years old, seven years old… What people are doing to these children. There’s been a 5,000% increase in child abuse videos on the Internet. These are little children that are being abused this way.”
In 2016, Bush signed into law the Adam Walsh Child Protect Act, which Ballard says was a game changer. A tiny little part in that bill changed a requirement that to go after paedophile overseas, you had to prove that they intended to rape that child on American soil. Before 2016 there were zero prosecutions.
Bush removed that statutory requirement.
Ballard was sent in.
“Go and figure it out, and find the kids,” they told me,” Ballard continued.
He worked in central America, going undercover as “whatever I had to do”. This included being an undercover child trafficker.
“It almost broke me,” Ballard says, clarifying that if he had been overseas and found children being exploited he had to walk away unless one American child was in the situation.
Ballard was working two cases, one in Haiti and the other in Columbia, which he says he got in too deep. There was young boy named Gardy Mardy, a US citizen by birth who was kidnapped from the church where his non-citizen father was the pastor.
“Haiti is number three in the world for human trafficking. I promised his father that we would never stop until we found his son.”
“I did the same thing in Columbia where I promised the father… I over committed.”
The US Department of Justice was legally restricted from authorising or funding investigations without American suspects. Ballard asked his wife what he should do. “It’s very simple,” she said. “You have to quit your job…”
Money was raised to go back and do those two hits – to save those two boys. Ballard talks about pulling in Navy Seals, local cops, whoever he could find to help. They were successful in Columbia.
In Haiti, they found the captors, got phone records to locate the place where they thought the child had been taken, saw 20 children in a compound, and liberated 28 children they were holding captive. They had painted on the compound wall, “Happy Day Orphanage”.
There is no registered orphanage – so they knew it’s a front. According to Ballard:
“This is how they get into the market. After an earthquake, they throw up a sign saying ‘orphanage’ and in the chaos, in the wake of the tragedy, innocent people are taking kids there… This is how children get put into the sex trafficking market.”
Heartbreakingly, the little boy Gardy had already been sold.
He still hasn’t been found.
The father, the paster, who Ballard had promised he would find his son, was waiting for good news.
They got 28 kids out – but not his son.
“We’re just sobbing… he just knew I didn’t have his son. I eeked out the words, we did get 28 kids out. He slapped his hand on the table.. and said, “this is amazing, you rescued 28 kids… If Gardy hadn’t been kidnapped, those kids would have been found… I was just like “Wow’. He said, “If I have to give up my son so that those 28 kids could be rescued, then that is a burden I am willing to bear…”
That father went home with eight kids whose parents could not be found.
They have since rescued over 3000 children.
The conclusion? Libertarian arguments to one side, Candace Owens and Tim Ballard agreed there was nothing the bad guys – the unspeakably evil villains of this world – would love and be more comforted by than to have prostitution legalised, regulated and normalised.
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Corrine Barraclough has a journalism career spanning 20 years, including senior positions at national magazines in London, New York & Sydney. She embraced the whirlwind of celebrity and entertainment journalism and the heady lifestyle that went with it before walking away from it all to live on the Gold Coast and pursue a balanced life.
The Corrine Barraclough Show discusses family law, its impact on mental health and the damage of the gender-bias in mainstream media.