Former CIA agent Tim Ballard, whose fight against human trafficking was told in the hit film “Sound of Freedom,” used a clip from the movie to make his point Wednesday when he testified before Congress.
During emotional testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee, Ballard said that the Biden administration’s border policies have failed.
“Tragically, as a result of this administration’s current policies, DHS and HHS have unwittingly become a child trafficking delivery service. This must stop,” he said.
Ballard began by showing a clip from the movie.
“This scene depicts a moment from my real life I’ll never forget. I was working for the Department of Homeland Security out of Calexico, California, and I can tell you firsthand that the only reason we were able to save this precious little boy was due to the fact that they had to take him across the border at a port of entry checkpoint because the border walls compelled then to do,” he said.
“The horrors a child faces as a victim of human trafficking demand that we take action. A child can be sold up to 20 times a day, six days a week for ten years or even longer, depending when the abuse began,” he said.
“Just in 2022 alone, immigration authorities encountered more than 152,000 unaccompanied minors at or near the U.S.-Mexico border, representing an all-time high. I believe every member of this committee, and good people everywhere, can agree that human trafficking is a plague and an evil that must be eradicated,” he said.
Did you see ‘Sound of Freedom’?
Ballard said the visceral need to fight human trafficking is the reason “Sound of Freedom” resonated with audiences, “sparking a national conversation on child sex slavery and trafficking, the fastest-growing criminal enterprise on the planet.
“… Traffickers use our southern border to bring slaves into our country for the sex industry because the United States is one of the highest consumers [of] child sex-abuse material in the world,” he said.
Ballard said agents at the border cannot succeed when policies ensure failure.
“Our federal agents who work at the southern border are women and men of the highest integrity and dedication. Yet, despite the success of agents on the ground, one thing has become vividly clear: Poor U.S. border security and broken U.S. policy are feeding the growth of human trafficking in the United States,” he said.
Ballard said barriers are essential.
“One way this is seen is the absence of physical barriers on our border. I have personally seen how ports of entry were responsible for helping rescue a child, catch a sexual predator, and start a chain of events that rescued multiple children from his abuse,” he said.
“On the other hand, I’ve spoken with survivors who were trafficked by cartels taking advantage of the miles of unprotected U.S. border. In one case in particular, a young woman was brought across the border at an area where no barriers or protections existed. Once in the U.S., she was sold and raped for money up to 30-40 times a day for five years before eventually escaping herself,” he said.
“She shared with me the tragic conclusion that, had her captors been forced to attempt crossing into our country at a port of entry — just like the little boy you saw in the film — that she would have had a better chance of being rescued,” he said.
Ballard noted that recent reports claim the government cannot locate 85,000 children released into the U.S.
“Just in May alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered an average of 435 unaccompanied minors per day. These children are prime targets for traffickers — for sex or labor,” he said.
During the hearing, Republican Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, the committee’s chair, asked, “Are the catch-and-release policies of Secretary Mayorkas facilitating the trafficking of people and children?” according to the Daily Signal. Green was referring to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“Absolutely,” Ballard said.
Green then asked whether Ballard thought Mayorkas knows that “there are human trafficking cases happening because of his policies?”
“I do believe he knows that,” Ballard said.
In his prepared testimony, Ballard said politics cannot drive the conversation any longer.
“I ask that this administration and its agencies show the same resolve, put politics aside, and immediately take the action needed to begin securing our border and ending the horrible policies that are only serving to put innocent children at risk,” his statement said.
“We have seen the success that is possible when our nation acts with a unified spirit against evil people and evil ideologies, and by God’s grace, that same spirit can bring an end to human trafficking.”
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