It's nearly impossible to comprehend the depravity required to turn another human being, especially a child, into a sex slave. But the stark reality is that it happens --- every day, all over the world.
In a riveting interview, Glenn talked with Tim Ballard and Jessica Mass of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), an organization created to free children trapped in sex slavery. Ballard founded O.U.R. after serving as an undercover special agent for the Department of Homeland Security in the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. His expert extraction teams consist of former CIA, Navy SEALs and Special Ops operatives that lead coordinated efforts with law enforcement throughout the world. To date, O.U.R. has rescued more than 600 children.
"What happens when you take these 600 children who have been abused as many as . . . how many times a day have they been sold over and over again?" Glenn asked.
"Thirty times, even 40 times a day. That's the reality," Ballard explained.
Joining Ballard was colleague Jessica Mass, Director of Aftercare at O.U.R., whose primary focus has been helping children and youth heal from trauma and empowering them in their hopes and dreams for the future.
"I love my job. I get to tell the aftercare stories because I get to see the kids after they've been rescued and that healing process," Mass said.
For more information about O.U.R., including details about how you can help and upcoming events, visit OURRescue.org.
Read below or watch the clip for answers to these questions:
• How did Glenn's audience help Tim launch O.U.R.?
• Do Tim's extraction operatives pose as sex predators?
• Does Jessica know of American parents who sold their six-month-old child for sex?
• Are there more slaves today than during the during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade?
• What hopeful story did Jessica tell about a teenager from India who was raped and sold into sex slavery by her uncle?
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: Glad you're here, today. Especially since I have a friend coming in, Tim Ballard who was in the studios yesterday, to do something for TheBlaze. And in case you don't know, if you're a long-time listener, you know who Tim is. He is a friend of mine. An accomplished writer and author. And just a brilliant guy who at one point, I thought, I was going to jail because he brought me into a room and said -- along with a bunch of other people and said, "I have to tell you the truth. You don't know who I am." And he reached in under his shirt and pulled out a badge. And I believe my first words was, "Am I going to jail?"
And he was an undercover agent for the federal government on sex crimes and those children that had been abducted and taken into the sex slave trade. And it was horrifying.
He got to a point where the government was -- had handcuffed itself too much and couldn't live with himself because he knew he could do more. And so he started the Operation Underground Railroad. Rescue our children. And you have today now saved 400?
TIM: No. More than 600.
GLENN: And you go out -- and we've seen the videos before. And it's absolutely amazing what you're doing. And you go in. And some of the guys going with you are former Navy SEALs. Everybody volunteer?
TIM: A lot are volunteers. Some are contractors, but at a reduced rate, yeah.
GLENN: And you go in, and you pose as, frankly, dirtbag Americans who are going in to negotiate to have sex with children.
TIM: That's right.
GLENN: And you tell them, I want -- I want some 9-year-olds. And they negotiate. And it's horrifying to see the video of it.
And you have lined it up with the country for their police departments to come in at the right time and bust it, once the children are delivered to you. It's pretty horrifying.
Yeah, it is -- it's something that I think most people would just -- couldn't believe that it's happening. I didn't believe it. I mean, I would see it and think, "Is this real?" I did it for 12 years before I told you what I did.
And the deeper I got, the more devastating it became. I mean, this is the fastest growing criminal enterprise on the planet.
Millions -- millions of children who are forced into the commercial sex trade and slave labor, and adults also stuck in this. There's more slaves -- I mean, people who are owned by other people today than ever before in the history of the world. I mean, you could add up all the slaves we read about during the 300/400 years of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Add them all up. There's more living slaves alive today than all of them. And a lot of them are children.
GLENN: How frustrating is that, that that message is not being heard in the mainstream? That for all the talk of, you know, troubles in our own country because of slaves, that no one is taking a breath and saying, "Hey, wait a minute. Why don't we all come together doing good on this?"
TIM: Yeah. And so frustrating. That's why I left. I couldn't talk about it. And I recognize, you know, I love history and I learn from history. The greatest problems that we were able to conquer as a people was because we had all the people that got involved. Slavery in America, the legalized form of it didn't end because the government said, "We're going to end it today." It was because people like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frederick Douglass, these heroes, they rose up and created this movement. And people stood up. And that was the beginning of the end of slavery. And then government started acting and moving. And so that's part of our mission, is to tell the story. And, frankly, you, Glenn, in your community, and your audience, you're the one who got us started. You started this movement for us and got support.
GLENN: I think you said to me in that meeting, "I need a million dollars, or I can't start." And I said, "Oh, well, we can do at least that. Yes. We'll get you started."
TIM: And you did. You did. A couple of weeks for us.
GLENN: The audience was more than into this, and they still are.
Yesterday, we were talking about the part that I'm interested in. Because I come from a family of abuse. Now, this is way beyond abuse. But I come from a family of abuse. And I know what that abuse has done to every single member of the family. It's destroyed their lives and changed them into people that they aren't. They're really not those people. But the scars affect their life forever.
And so I'm really into, what happens when you take these 600 children, who have been abused as many as how many times a day have they been sold over and over again?
TIM: Thirty times even. Forty times a day. That's the reality.
GLENN: How do you take somebody who was kidnapped at nine and you release them at 16? How do you take them and rebuild?
GLENN: Rebuild into something good.
TIM: There is no rescue without the healing. It doesn't exist, as you say.
TIM: And we've put so much effort into that side of things. And I have with me one of our superstar operators, Jessica Mass, who is the director of aftercare.
She lives on an airplane. And what she does -- I'll let her describe it. But she goes around and makes sure that the kids we've rescued are still in the proper place, that they're in a healthy environment to heal. And we're just so grateful for Jessica.
GLENN: I want to hear two stories from you. One that you shared with me last night in India. And the -- the -- let's start here.
Out of the kids that are taken out, A, how many are -- how many go home to their parents? Do any of them go home to their parents? How many of them are -- are starting to lead a normal somewhat childhood at this point?
JESSICA: Yeah, so one of the things that we do is we do in-home services. So if a child is going to go back to their family, there is an in-home social worker that actually goes to the home and makes sure it's a safe space before that happens. So we don't just send children back to their home if it's not safe.
GLENN: Because sometimes -- in some countries -- India, I would imagine is one of them, you can be sold by your parents. I know in --
GLENN: I know in -- where was it? Port-au-Prince, that was happening. Where the parents just have a child and they're like, "Eh, I'll sell you my baby." I mean, it's scary.
JESSICA: It happens all the time, unfortunately. I actually worked in the US for several years before working international. And there are so many parents in the US that were selling their children that I worked with. One, as young as six months old.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
JESSICA: And her parents were selling her online and then having men come to their home and actually rape their baby and molest their baby. So that happened for four years before she was rescued.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
JESSICA: So these are -- this is why it's so important, is that --
GLENN: Do you know that child today?
JESSICA: I do actually.
GLENN: How is she?
JESSICA: She went through three failed adoptions, where she was adopted and then actually unadopted. Or they called it a failed adoption.
JESSICA: Her behaviors were ones that the family said, "We can't handle."
JESSICA: However, today, she's I think about 13 or 14. I can't remember which one. But she is actually adopted. She's doing so well. And she was adopted by a family that said, "We will stick with you, no matter what. No matter what behavior. No matter what trauma that you've been through, we'll stick with you, and we're going to do whatever it takes to help you have a successful life."
GLENN: Is that a religious family?
JESSICA: They are. Uh-huh.
GLENN: I figured it was.
JESSICA: Yeah. But those are the type of people that we look for in aftercare homes, both in the US and around the world, are the people that say, "We're with you forever. We are family for life." And that type of mentality, where you go from being an orphan or having your family sell you or whatever situation it was -- and saying, "No matter what it takes, we are with you for life." And this is what family really looks like, is we'll stand by you no matter what happens.
GLENN: Tell me about the girl -- she's 17 -- that is in India.
GLENN: Tell me about -- tell me her story.
JESSICA: So she was rescued. She was 15, almost 16.
GLENN: How long had she been a sex slave?
JESSICA: So her uncle had started raping her when she was about 12 or 13 years old. And after he had been raping her for a while, he decided, "I'm going to start selling her and making money off of her." So he started selling her to different people, friends that he knew.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
JESSICA: And then he said, "Well, I can make even more money because I can just sell her out nightly." And so he was trafficking her. And then he ended up selling her to someone else so that that person could be selling her out.
And she was rescued. And I love my job. I get to tell the aftercare stories because I get to see the kids after they've been rescued and that healing process. So she was placed in one of our aftercare centers.
And her passion was to help the elderly. And not just the elderly, but those that were in hospice. So you have a 16-year-old who is rescued. And you find out that that's what she cares about, is helping other people.
So I was at her birthday party. She was turning 17 at her birthday party, and she wanted to actually introduce me to these people that she was helping. And she would go around to each of these different elderly people in the hospice and sit with them and tell them how incredible they were.
So that's part of the healing journey, where she went from a lack of hope, of feeling like no one cared about her, to going to an aftercare center. Having people pour into her and love her. And then her passion was to love others.
GLENN: Giving hope to those who have maybe lost hope.
And she said to me -- and I've had several kids say this to me. But she said, "I was out there, and I didn't think anyone was coming for me. I didn't think anyone cared. And then O.U.R. showed up and does this rescue mission."
And she said, "No one was coming for me until you guys came. Why would you care about me? Why would you come for the one?"
And looking into her eyes and just saying, "Because you matter. If it's just you -- if O.U.R. existed for one child to be free, it's all worth it."
Living on an airplane is worth it if there's one child that goes from slavery, true slavery to freedom and restoration and healing. It's all worth it.
GLENN: So, Tim, I told you this last night, to some degree. And I talked to my wife about it last night because we had to go to a funeral of a friend. Thirty years old. He died.
And a guy who was an alcoholic in his teens. And his mother is a good friend. And when we first met, I thought she was a huge fan. And she said, you know, oh, my gosh, Glenn Beck it's such an honor to meet you.
And I thought I was going to go into a fan conversation. And she said, "You're an alcoholic."
And I said, "Yes." And she said, "I've wanted to meet you for so long because my son is an alcoholic. And how can I help him?"
He turned his life around two years ago, and he died on Thanksgiving with water on his heart. And he had just -- he had just turned his life around and was taken at 30. And so on the way home, I was talking to Tania. And I said, "You know, this is -- this is the year for me, this coming year." I just want to do what is important.
And I think there are millions of people in the audience that feel the same way. We just rescued over 4,000 people in the Middle East, Christians, and got them out, Yazidis, and got them out.
I want to make the same kind of impact with slave trade. Because this is awful. How do people get involved?
TIM: They can go to ourrescue.org and learn about all about what we do and the countries we're in and the rehab efforts.
GLENN: How much does it cost to save a child?
TIM: It's about $2,000 for an international rescue per child. That's what it averages to be.
We're doing more work now where we're really trying to train the locals and get operators who are local in that country, and that cuts our cost way down. So we're in the process of setting that up. Vetting out people --
GLENN: So $2,000 to free a slave is pretty good. I mean, that's pretty amazing. Pretty amazing.
GLENN: So if you want to be involved. You want to find out more. You want to donate. I know they can use a donation. This is a great Christmas present to give to your whole family. Free a slave. Free a slave. Go to --
GLENN: Thank you very much, Tim. It's nice to meet you.
TIM: Thank you.
GLENN: It's good to see you, Tim.
Featured Image: Tim Ballard of Operation Underground Rescue (Photo Credit: O.U.R.)