Why Media Outlets Want You to Think a Hit Movie About Child Sex Trafficking is Linked to QAnon
For good reasons the box office hit movie Sound of Freedom has brought in over $100 million as it tells the true story of undercover federal agent Timothy Ballard and his suspenseful mission to rescue children being sex trafficked in Colombia.
Central to the movie’s plot is the story of a bright-eyed, 11-year-old girl named Rocío, whose childhood innocence is quickly morphed into a nightmare of sexual exploitation when she is recruited into a child sex trafficking ring.
The sweet nature of Rocío reminded me of my own young daughter and, as I watched her tragic story unfold, I was deeply troubled by a horrific thought, “What if this were my child?”
Judging by the tearful response of the audience, I wasn’t alone.
While the movie doesn’t claim to be an exact representation of Timothy Ballard’s personal experiences, it tells a truthful tale about the sexual exploitation of children.
For example, in one scene, the movie portrays an island sting operation that results in the capture of multiple traffickers and the rescue of dozens of children. Angel Studios describes this scene as being based on a real event called “Operation Triple Take” writing,
“This intense operation was part of a coordinated effort known as “Operation Triple Take” conducted by O.U.R. and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Colombia. The joint operation resulted in the rescue of 123 survivors, including 55 minors.”
The CBS Evening News reported on this event in a 3-minute segment that features an interview of Timothy Ballard explaining the details of the sting operation.
Additionally, on Oct. 13, 2014, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) published a news release about a sex trafficking sting operation in Columbia writing,
“The rescued victims are all Colombian minors, some as young as 11 years old. They are in the care of Bienestar Familiar (Colombia’s Child Protective Services). Eighty-five percent of those rescued were females. Some of the victims were allegedly drugged with ecstasy and cocaine.”
They included the disturbing detail that the victims included an 11-year-old girl who was, “… allegedly sold for $1,000 in U.S. currency since she was a virgin.”
In 2014, Journalist Guillermo Galdos reported on this chilling aspect of sex tourism in Medellin, Columbia, exposing how traffickers seek out young girls so they can sell their virginity at a “premium price.”
Trying to Tarnish the Truth
It’s indisputable that child sex trafficking is real. However, that has not stopped legacy media outlets from attempting to associate Sound of Freedom with QAnon conspiracy theories.
For example, in an NPR article titled, “QAnon supporters are promoting ‘Sound of Freedom.’ Here’s why,” Shannon Bond writes, “… the movie is also being criticized as a vehicle for conspiracy theories and misleading depictions of human trafficking — landing it in the middle of the country’s politically polarized culture wars.”
When I first read that paragraph, I was floored. The underlying message of Sound of Freedom was simple: children must be protected from sexual exploitation. How could anyone perceive that message political, polarizing, or culture war fodder?
But then I thought about it.
Just this week, Former President Barak Obama made a statement defending sexuality explicit ‘banned books,’ writing in a Tweet, “… some of the books that shaped my life — and the lives of so many others — are being challenged by people who disagree with certain ideas or perspectives.”
The day before, influential Twitter account, Libs of TikTok, posted an article titled, “How sexual abusers try to Groom Children,” highlighting that a strategy of abusive grooming is to desensitize children to sexual content.
The culture war over childhood innocence is in full swing.
Guarding childhood innocence is not merely an “idea” or “perspective.” It’s a well-documented and important step in protecting children from sexual exploitation.
Thirty years ago, it would have been unthinkable that we’d be debating this as a “culture war” issue. But here we are.
Either It Is Right or It is Wrong to Sexualize Children
Perhaps the reason some are so eager to discredit the message of Sound of Freedom is because the story, while much darker and destructive than the discussion over “banned books,” ultimately leads to the same place: you either believe it’s right or it’s wrong to sexualize children. There is no middle ground.
In this time of political tribalization, where for some winning a culture war is more important than safeguarding kids, I understand why the message of Sound of Freedom is triggering.
Megan Brock is an investigative researcher with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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