Sound of Freedom: Creating a Movement to Get Loud About Child Trafficking

By Faith McDonnell Published on June 26, 2023

Opening officially on the Fourth of July, when we celebrate freedom in America, Sound of Freedom celebrates freedom for every child rescued from sex trafficking, even while exposing the depraved depths of this evil trade. The filmmakers hope and pray the film will create a movement that will “get loud” about child trafficking.

Sound of Freedom is based on the story of Tim Ballard, a former federal agent who founded Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) to rescue abducted and trafficked children. Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel, who was Ballard’s first and only choice, plays Ballard.

The film was produced by Mexican actor/producer Eduardo Verastegui and directed and co-written by Alejandro Monteverde. Like Caviezel, Verastegui and Monteverde are known for their faith-based commitment to human rights and to the unborn. Ballard’s wife, Katherine, is played by Mira Sorvino, another anti-trafficking champion. Other actors in the film are from such places as Colombia and Spain.

Uncovering a Deep, Dark Evil

This film uncovers a deeper, darker, and more demonic entity in the sex trafficking trade than was even uncovered when the first Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) became U.S. law in 2000.

I was part of the anti-trafficking coalition formed in the late 1990s by the indomitable human rights fighter Michael Horowitz. We heard stories from strong, resilient women committed to exposing the reality and horror of sex trafficking. Some of these women were former trafficking victims themselves, now working to rescue others.

Horowitz, also the activator behind the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, knew that once our eyes were opened, we’d become as passionate as he about fighting trafficking. Many of us had recently learned the shocking truth about modern day African jihad slavery in Sudan. What we learned about sex trafficking was no less horrific and unfathomable than that evil practice.

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Thanks to the work that led to the TVPA there was a sea-change in perspective towards “prostitution.” Before that time Hollywood shaped most people’s concept of prostitutes, using either romanticization or — God forgive us — comedy. It was not reality. Reality was women, girls, and boys trapped in h***ish misery and used until they were used up, then thrown away like trash.

We heard about “call girls,” “prostitutes,” and “hookers.” And it was all either very glamorous, like Pretty Woman or lighthearted, like The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. There was little indication that human beings were enslaved, abducted, and brutalized.

Most of us were ignorant of the facts, too naïve to know the truth. But with the help of scholars like Dr. Laura Lederer we could see how offensive and callous this ignorance was to trafficked women and children. Especially unjust was the perspective that focused legal punishment on the victims, or at least saw as them as the problem. We pledged that the TVPA would focus on prosecuting pimps and johns, ending supply and demand, not on punishing the victimized and trafficked. We got loud about trafficking, and it did a lot of good.

A Sonic Boom is Needed

But today a new outcry, a sonic boom, is badly needed! The reality of trafficking of children, little children, for horrendous purposes, is being exposed. In days to come we pray it will be exposed down to every evil detail ridiculed by global elites who tried to pass it off as a crazy conspiracy theory.

What we learned that shocked and horrified us working on the 2000 TVPA is mild compared to what we are learning now. We could never have imagined the scope of the evil: trafficking little children, even for organ harvesting — and for child sacrifice — in a $152 billion dollar a year business.

Recently Ballard, Caviezel, and Verastegui were guests at an in-person and livestreamed event, FlashPoint Live, in Ohio. To the thousands gathered they explained the h*** from which Operation Underground Railroad rescues children, and how the hand of God was so obviously in the details of Sound of Freedom.

These anti-trafficking heroes told the crowd that human trafficking is the fastest growing international crime network that the world has ever seen. It has already passed the illegal arms trade and soon it will pass the drug trade. They revealed that the United States is the number one consumer of child sex in the world and that Mexico is the number one provider. Fifty-seven children a day, 21,000 a year, are the official numbers for children disappearing in Mexico.

Biden’s Open Border Facilitates Trafficking

Despite those stunning statistics, Ballard said that fighting child trafficking is not a priority for the Biden Administration. There are five drug agents for every one anti-child-trafficking agent in the United States criminal justice system. He explained how trafficking was being increased and facilitated by America’s open border.

Ballard said the traffickers kidnap a child in Central America, safety-pin a name and phone number of his “sponsor” into the pocket of his clothing. When the child shows up at the border, the Department of Health and Human Services receives him and calls the number. Ballard challenged:

And YOUR TAX DOLLARS will then pay for the final leg of that child’s trafficking experience, when the kid is put on a bus or a plane and taken to whoever’s name is on that paper. These poor kids are coming into our country because we won’t enforce. If we enforced the borders they would not be incentivized to come. But because there is no incentive to do anything but come, and these traffickers are making $14 MILLION a DAY, our policies are facilitating and even paying for child trafficking right here at home.

In another interview Ballard said some people think open borders are compassionate. “Enforcing the border is the only compassionate thing,” he declared.

Opening Our Eyes to the Victims of Trafficking

Eduardo Verastegui went even further in the FlashPoint interview, when he was asked how he got involved in the anti-trafficking movement and decided to make a film. He shared about how he met Ballard and what Ballard had revealed to him about what happens to children as victims of trafficking:

Children — three-year-old boys; five, six, seven-year-old girls — are being raped ten to fifteen times a day for many years. And after the clients don’t want them anymore because they are not ‘fresh,’ they jump into the second business, which is the black-market organs traffic. They open them and sell their parts.

Ballard had challenged Verastegui, saying that what he told him was very sad, but what would be even sadder would be if he knew all of this and did nothing. “What are you going to do?” he asked Verastegui.

Verastegui had “a weapon of mass instruction” — filmmaking. He promised God that he would dedicate his life to end child trafficking through the art of film.

Stunned, enraged, and inspired by the presentation by Ballard, Caviezel, and Verastegui, the FlashPoint Live audience rose as one. They honored them, prayed for them, and pledged to help stop this evil industry.

Now the question that Ballard asked Verastegui comes to us. What would you do if you knew? and Now that you know, what will you do? This is particularly directed to Christian leaders, pastors, and to the whole Body of Christ.

Storm the Gates of Hell

Feel helpless? Consider the helplessness of these children and ask God what you can do. Start by buying a ticket and going to see Sound of Freedom as soon as it opens. Encourage everyone you know to see it. Share it on your social media.

I pray that every church in America will support the film Sound of Freedom. And that every pastor will take the lead in exhorting church members to see the film and to ask God “what can I do?” Supporting the work of Operation Underground Railroad and other ministries that are rescuing children from trafficking is another way to end your helplessness.

Your “getting loud” about the film Sound of Freedom and the horror of child trafficking will do more than you can imagine, because God will honor your efforts.

Worship leader Sean Feucht has a song that says, “I can hear those liberty bells, rattling, rattling the gates of hell … It’s the SOUND OF FREEDOM. It’s the sound of Heaven coming down. It’s the SOUND OF FREEDOM. And the gates of hell will NOT prevail.” (emphases added) Freeing the children from sex trafficking is rattling those gates like crazy. Get loud, and help storm the gates of hell!


Faith J.H. McDonnell is the Director of Advocacy at Katartismos Global (KGI), a non-profit ministry started by Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs and his wife for the equipping of the saints for ministry. Faith is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).

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