Salt Lake City, Utah, 31st March 2023, ZEXPRWIRE, Tim Ballard, CEO and founder of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), was featured by Authority Magazine as a part of their “Meet the Disruptors” series, in which he discussed “The 5 Things You Need to Shake Up Your Industry.” Since 2013, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) has been accelerating the war against child sex trafficking and human trafficking and exploitation, so Tim Ballard was a natural choice to be interviewed by Authority Magazine.
Authority Magazine is a Medium publication that is devoted to sharing in-depth and interesting interviews featuring people who are authorities in business, pop culture, wellness, social impact, and technology. As a magazine it uses interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable. It adheres to the idea that good stories should feel beautiful to the mind, heart, and eyes. Authority Magazine distinguishes itself by producing large interview series with scores of experts and thought leaders, around a single empowering topic. Popular interview series include “Female Disruptors,” “Meet The Rising Stars of TV, Film, & Music,” “The Future Is Now,” “Social Impact Heroes,” “Women In Wellness,” “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times,” and “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO.” Since 2018, Authority Magazine has conducted more than 100,000 empowering interviews.
During the interview, Tim Ballard answered a wide range of questions about his work as the founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) and general methods of combating child sex trafficking and exploitation. Mr. Ballard began by talking about what led him to his current path:
“I am Founder and CEO of the non-profit Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). In my prior life, I spent more than a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security where I was deployed as an undercover operative. I’ve worked every type of case imaginable to dismantle child trafficking rings and have worked undercover in the U.S. and multiple foreign countries to infiltrate and dismantle child trafficking organizations. I was led to this career path as I’ve witnessed the heartbreak of the children and families who’ve been so deeply affected by these crimes.”
Mr. Ballard was open and transparent about some mistakes made when first starting out and the lessons he learned from that. He also talked about the help he has received along his journey, who some of his mentors have been, and the impact that they made on him. When asked to explain how the work that they are doing at Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) is disruptive, Mr. Ballard explained:
“The issues of child trafficking and sexual exploitation are horrific and growing. CyberTipline reports that online enticement for sexual exploitation in the U.S. nearly doubled in 2020 during the COVID lockdown, largely due to the opportunity that chatrooms and social media give predators to lure children to trust them. Education can only take us so far, and law enforcement agencies are flooded with cases and under-equipped to deal with this evil. So, we’ve stepped in to help, by employing prior law enforcement and security operatives to work with U.S. agencies to find exactly what they need to fight child exploitation in their communities. O.U.R. continues to supply cutting-edge technology and Electronic Storage Detection dogs (ESD K9s) for law enforcement agencies across the country. Internationally, we support law enforcement by infiltrating the trafficking organizations to extract and rescue the children who have been victimized by traffickers, and then provide aftercare to the children and families as the children are returned to their homes, with extended family or, where necessary, are placed and supported through recovery facilities.”
When discussing what type of movement he would inspire that would bring the most good to many people, Tim Ballard highlighted the efforts of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), whose operations and aftercare efforts have led to the rescue of more than 7,000 survivors and the arrest of more than 6,000 predators. They have expanded into more than 40 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Mr. Ballard told what his favorite “life lesson quote” was and how it was relevant to him and also mentioned inspiration from work done by Tony Robbins, who participated in one of the rescue operations carried out by O.U.R., as well as “The School of Greatness” podcasts by Lewis Howes. Mr. Ballard appeared on a recent episode with Mr. Howes.
Mr. Ballard talked about some of the best words of advice he has received during his many years working in crime prevention and fighting child trafficking and sexual exploitation. He also explained some of the ways that Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) was going to continue shaking things up. When asked to comment on the difference between disrupting in a positive sense and a negative sense, Mr. Ballard offered:
“It’s highly interesting that you bring this up, because I would maintain that the biggest factor in the disruption of an industry or a system is courage. In the historic Underground Railroad, the people who supported the extraction of human slaves in our American system were putting their very lives on the line for what they knew to be right. In this case, these heroes were working independently of the existing systems to disrupt it, to protect and rescue the people affected, and to put their lives and energy into re-creating systems that would give better protection to all.
O.U.R. has worked diligently to support the system. I have personally briefed the President of the United States and other cabinet members on issues of child trafficking. I’ve also testified before the U.S. House and Senate on multiple occasions. As a disruptor, I’ve fought to do what is needed by adding support and serving as a catalyst for positive change in the current systems instead of working against them.
In the “not so positive” – while members of the press have been highly instrumental in advancing education and support for what we are doing, there have likewise been self-styled vigilantes who have worked with vehement energy against us. Others in the press (generally in the “vigilante journalism” sector but some in the mainstream press as well) have dedicated extreme energy to disparaging our work, making false claims, asserting that we’ve exaggerated our influence and inflated results, misused donor funds. Those efforts unfortunately have slowed our ability to rescue children by creating distractions and costs. The downside is painful to me as well as for my family personally and for everyone associated with our organization. But we maintain our focus on the children and on the evil we’re addressing, instead of letting these negative efforts derail us.”
To read the interview in full, please visit https://medium.com/authority-magazine/meet-the-disruptors-tim-ballard-of-operation-underground-railroad-on-the-5-things-you-need-to-bc52b522c263
To learn more about the work done by Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), please visit their website at https://www.ourrescue.org/
About Tim Ballard, Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad
Tim Ballard is the Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad. He is also a board member of The Nazarene Fund which seeks to save oppressed religious minorities in the Middle East. Ballard spent over a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security where he was deployed as an undercover operative. He has worked every type of case imaginable in the fight to dismantle child trafficking rings. He has worked undercover in the United States and in multiple foreign countries to infiltrate child trafficking organizations.
Ballard has been featured on many national news outlets to discuss his efforts to combat child trafficking. He was featured in a story by ESPN with Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach, Mike Tomlin. He also has appeared on Fox & Friends, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, The Ingraham Angle, Hannity, The Glenn Beck Program and many other outlets.
Ballard has briefed the President of the United States and other cabinet members on issues of child trafficking. He has also testified before the US House and Senate on several occasions.
Ballard is the principal subject of two full-length documentaries: The Abolitionists, by Academy Award-winning producer, Gerald Molen, and Operation Toussaint, by Emmy Award-winning director, Nick Nanton. His life story is also depicted in the feature film, The Sound of Freedom, where he is portrayed by actor Jim Caviezel and his wife Katherine, portrayed by Academy Award Winner, Mira Sorvino.
Ballard is the best-selling author of six books including Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues-Then and Now. His other titles include The Lincoln Hypothesis, The Washington Hypothesis, and The American Covenant series. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and now resides in Utah with his wife and nine children.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Capitalize You journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.