As the movie “Sound of Freedom” continues to exceed expectations at the box office, audiences are also discovering the documentary “Triple Take,” which tells the true-life story behind the dramatic film exposing child sex trafficking as a multibillion-dollar global industry.
Ballard spent 12 years as a federal agent busting pedophiles, pornographers, and child sex traffickers before leaving his job with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2013 to start Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit that works with law enforcement around the world to rescue sex-trafficked children.
“Triple Take” documents O.U.R.’s first operation in Colombia in 2014.
Operation Triple Take involved simultaneous stings in three different cities that resulted in the rescue of more than 100 trafficking victims and the arrest of a dozen traffickers.
The months-long set-up centered on creating opportunities for local traffickers to bring dozens of their enslaved victims to “sex parties,” with Ballard and his undercover teams pretending to be wealthy hosts.
While “Sound of Freedom” dramatized just one of the three busts, which took place on an island in Cartagena, the documentary reveals how closely many of that movie’s scenes and characters resemble actual events and real-life counterparts.
Another of the three busts featured in “Triple Take” involved a trafficker who also produced child pornography, which is a huge driver of demand for child sex.
The documentary was made in 2019 and incorporates hidden camera footage captured during the original operations. It also shares real-world statistics about child sex trafficking:
- Child sex trafficking is a $150 billion global industry.
- The average age of trafficked children is 11-14 years.
- The U.S. is the highest consumer of child sex abuse material.
- Child sex crimes are “borderless.”
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who participated in Operation Triple Take and is featured in the documentary, adds a sobering assessment.
“We’re not winning the war,” he said. “It’s getting worse.”
“We can’t change the reward,” Reyes said, because there will always be pedophiles willing to be paying customers. “But we can make the risk side really, really risky for the traffickers.”
Operation Underground Railroad President and COO Matt Osborne, who also participated in Triple Take and is featured in the film, agrees that “at the end of the day, it is demand” that drives the child sex trafficking industry.
Osborne spoke at a sold-out showing of “Triple Take” in Dallas on July 25, hosted by Dallas Jewish Conservatives.
“It was amazing to see the incredible show of support from Patriots who came from near and far that care deeply about the issue of human trafficking,” said DJC President Benji Gershon.
After the film screening, Osborne answered questions about his organization’s ongoing operations, as well as resources they provide for combating sexual exploitation of children—including training and support for local law enforcement and access to aftercare for victims.
He also described O.U.R.’s outreach programs to educate the community about trafficking and sexual exploitation.
“I am more optimistic than pessimistic, but we have to talk about it,” he said.
On July 30, World Day Against Trafficking in Humans, O.U.R. volunteers are organizing caravans across the country to help bring awareness to the issue in local communities. Several caravans are being held in Texas.
“I do believe the tide is now shifting,” Osborne added. “If we look at each child as if it is our own, we will never stop.”
“Triple Take” has not yet been released in theaters. Learn more about the documentary, as well as the services, resources, and volunteer opportunities provided by Operation Underground Railroad, at ourrescue.org.