Tim Ballard is the Founder and CEO of the non-profit organization, Operation Underground Railroad (OUR). OUR fights against human trafficking of minors all across the world and works with local police forces to end child sex trafficking and exploitation.
I held an exclusive interview with Ballard. Topics ranged from what college students can do to help fight trafficking at BYU and the recent UN proposal that states, “sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual in fact, if not in law.”
Ballard commented the following statement in response to my asking why the UN has now endorsed the idea that minors have the capacity to consent:
“Unfortunately, there’s a movement right now that is growing – I think it was born largely in the United States but it’s going worldwide – to sexualize children. Sexualize them in the name of liberation.”
Ballard continued, “It starts with our sex education programs where if you see the material that has been distributed from public school officials, to children in the name of educating them on reproduction, and sex-ed. It’s pornography. That’s how I would classify it – as pornography. When I was a federal agent in the early 2000s, these are things that we could have arrested people for giving to children and now our public school officials are giving it to them in the name of education in the name of liberating them.”
Ballard addressed the book, “It’s Perfectly Normal” as an example of this in schools. He said, “This book has been endorsed by several PhDs, including some from the University of Utah. And they’re basically saying this is a great book. What the book does, it shows full on sex. It’s cartoon form but has very detailed positions.”
Here is a recent video of a father being cut off while reading the book at a school board meeting:
This book, It's Perfectly Normal, is in the Asheville School District in, NC. As a matter of fact, it's in numerous school districts around the country.— John K. Amanchukwu Sr. (@REVWUTRUTH) May 16, 2023
The board, as expected, didn't want me to read it, but 10 yeard olds can read it and view all of the pornography it… pic.twitter.com/CvBFgO4ZGQ
“Third graders are encouraged to read this, in some instances children are encouraged to masturbate as well,” Ballard said. “Now the problem with this is that these brains can’t handle this material and are not ready to handle this material and use it responsibly, so their brains become sexualized.”
Ballard detailed what this has to do with child sex trafficking and pedophiles, saying, “Now, the pedophile organizations who I’ve been studying and combating for 18 years, they’ve been promoting this ideology. They’ve been promoting this type of ‘education.’ I say that with air quotes. Because their goal is to sexualize children.”
“They want children to want sex, and then they’ll be there to say, ‘Hey, let me fill that demand. I can teach you how to do this,’” Ballard said.
Ballard added, “That’s what you’re seeing with the most recent UN report that is recommending that kids can consent.”
Ballard related the sexualization of children to the idea that children can also make decisions about their own gender. He said, “Let me start off by saying – I’m getting into trans, the trans movement – I’m very libertarian. I’m very constitutionalist when it comes to people’s freedoms. If an adult wants to do that, wants to transition… I will fight for your rights to do that, even if I disagree with it. That is your right to do that.”
“However, when you get this idea that children have the ability to consent, or to ask for things that can destroy their bodies permanently like puberty blockers or you know, to actually have their genitalia removed or altered. Children can’t make that decision. A teenager can’t make that decision. That’s why we have to protect them.”
“Now again, this is making the pedophile group salivate. They love this,” Ballard continued. “ If you can consent to gender mutilation, to putting your puberty blockers in your body then what is stopping you at this point legally or ethnically or culturally – because you know, that creates a new bar and a standard. What is stopping that 13-year-old from consenting to have sex with a 60-year old pedophile? Nothing.”
“So, this is all tied together. You have to see it all together for to make sense. And now you can see why. “
I asked Ballard what the average person, as well as the average BYU student, can do to fight against child exploitation. He recommended a few different steps:
“Talk about it, get loud about it, share stories on social media.”
“I’d ask students at BYU and elsewhere before you start voicing your opinion about things like the kind of material kids are given or they’ll look at one piece of it, right? They’ll look at this one piece and say, ‘Oh, this 13-year-old girl, she’s going to commit suicide if you don’t let her transition.’”
“Now, we have to be super sympathetic to that 13-year-old girl, and every resource needs to be given to her. But give her all the options. What happens is students too often aren’t looking at the whole picture,” he continued.
“So, I think college students need to take a little more time and do a little more research.”
I then asked Ballard, “There’s plenty of college students at BYU who are planning on having kids, but what would you suggest when they do have kids to prevent [trafficking] from happening with technology and social media?”
“Parents need to be educated on the access points that pedophiles or predators might have to their kids. So, understand that that’s a very important piece. Most parents don’t understand. If you’re my age or older you never you never grew up as a teenager in this digital media world of pornography and online danger,” Ballard answered.
“But really if you’re having kids you have to teach them. You know, you think they’re playing an innocent game online. You don’t really know there’s a communication board, where they could communicate and you’re not playing the computer anymore… You’re playing a person. In my 13-year-old or 10-year-old, five year old might think they’re playing, you know, someone of the same age details in the county over. What they don’t realize, it’s the guy on the next street over and he’s a 60-year-old pedophile.”
My final questions were about warning signs of trafficking as well as the best policies to eliminate child exploitation. Here is what Ballard had to say:
For warning signs of trafficking, Ballard said, “I highly recommend parents and students watch our documentaries, especially the Sound of Freedom being released in theaters July 4th, to learn more about how the pedophiles think, what their tactics are, and ultimately to gain the awareness you need to protect your children. Once you are more familiar with trafficking and the tactics being used, you will begin to be more alert and attentive to situations that you may not have thought twice about before, such as a child looking or acting uncomfortable with an adult in an airport, grocery store, and the like. Report that.”
“[Another] example, the Romeo trafficker, where the young girls and young teenage girls have sex with her boyfriend. Then he films it, they breakup two weeks later, and sends it over to her and says look, if you don’t continue having sex with me or my friends, or do X, Y, and Z, then I’m going to release this video from your entire church congregation or to your parents or grandparents or the whole school.”
“Do they have their own bank account? Check their bank account because these are the kids who are making money selling their stuff and other dance shows online that make it dangerous. And they’ve got 10s of 1000s of dollars in their bank account… So parents need to be in tune and need to be watching,” Ballard recommended.
On the topic of government policy, Ballard said, “I would say two things. One, we need to reprioritize things. The last, the last time I looked we have something like five drug agents for every one child exploitation or anti-trafficking agent… I would put more resources into the fight to save children and to rescue them, while at the same time educating and having more resources available to educate on all the many dangers.”
The Sound of Freedom, a movie about the inception of OUR and Tim Ballard, comes out on July fourth. The Cougar Chronicle recommends that all BYU students watch and share it with their friends and family.
Written by Thomas Stevenson
Editor Emeritus at the Cougar Chronicle
The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.