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Time to Rise Up Against Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation

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Written by Morgan Haddock, CWA summer intern.

Sound of Freedom has taken the United States by storm. Everybody is talking about it. In the movie, Tim Ballard, an ex-Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security, is on a mission to rescue siblings, Miguel and Rocio, from the abhorrent grips of human trafficking. The story of a man who sacrificed his reputation, livelihood, and his very life to fight for the helpless is truly inspiring. However, he is not the hero of the story for me. The two siblings who fought valiantly to be joined as a family again take that honor, as far as I’m concerned. I say that because, for the first time, a movie has provided Americans with the opportunity to put faces and names to the sex trafficking victim numbers we often hear about. This is the genius of the movie— what makes it personal and memorable to the audience.

As Richard Allen said in 1794, “If you love your children, if you love your country, if you love the God of love, clear your hands from slaves, burden not your children or country with them…” Though Allen, who founded the first independent Black denomination in the U.S., was referring to the slavery of African Americans during the 1800s, I don’t think there are better words to encapsulate the importance of eradicating our modern-day slavery— the human trafficking industry operating currently in the United States and around the world.

Today, an estimated 40.3 million people are living as slaves, three times higher than those captured and sold as slaves between the 15th and 19th centuries. Did you know that the United States is the biggest producer and consumer of child abuse content in the world? May God have mercy on our country! We cannot and should not pawn off solving this problem to the next generation. It is time for this generation to rise up and take a stand against the evils of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

I am thankful that this movie opens viewers’ eyes that this issue is an epidemic that affects every society. It is a great development. However, there is much more we can and must do to end this vile practice. This was one of the notable aspects in the movie: the repetitive call to action. The father of Miguel and Rocio initially asked Ballard this important question: “What if this was your son or daughter?” Ask yourself that.

Fighting this multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise will require that time of internalization. We must realize that this is our fight, not someone else’s. When we fight against human trafficking, we fight for our families. Ballard utilized this same approach to encourage others later in the movie to be involved in the movement to rescue children. We should replicate it within our own circles.

Another great aspect of the film is that it broke down the stereotype that only girls and women are affected by sex trafficking. The United Nations estimates that boys account for 15% of global trafficking victims, and adult men account for 20%. By using Miguel’s story, Sound of Freedom helps educate the public that this is not a sex-specific issue. We must know the full extent of a problem in order to fight it effectively.

The movie has a happy ending, but that is tragically not the story for many other children who are sold and/or kidnapped into sex slavery. Victims are often transported to various countries, leaving them feeling lost, hopeless, and forgotten – spiritually and physically. It is essential as the body of Christ to continue to lift those living in slavery up in prayer that the presence of God would meet them where they are. And to raise awareness in public policy and the culture with every opportunity we get. Let us never stop until every child is rescued.