A new movie out May 16 brings the issue of child sex trafficking to the big screen. The Abolitionists follows special ops teams as they go undercover freeing child sex slaves and arresting traffickers.
Sex trafficking has become one of the world's largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises, with more than 2 million young victims.
It may seem like a hopeless problem to many, but not Tim Ballard, a man with one mission: end child sex trafficking.
Watch the The Abolitionists trailer below:
"This problem is not going away with the status quo solution, there's too many victims, there's too much of this evil out there," says Ballard, Founder and CEO of Operation and Underground Railroad.
Ballard began his fight while working for Homeland Security handling trafficking cases with American victims. Then, after seeing the international scope of this problem, he realized as a private citizen, he could save even more children.
In a leap of faith, Ballard started Operation Underground Railroad , a non-profit comprised of former CIA, special ops, and Navy Seals who are experts in extraction missions. Since they began two years ago, they have rescued 521 victims and arrested 161 human traffickers.
When Oscar winning producer Gerald Molen heard about what Ballard was doing, he saw a unique opportunity to expose this horrific crime to the world.
"Geri Molen, the Oscar winner of Schindler's List comes to me and he says Tim I want to follow you guys around, I want to make the Schindler's List of our day, but this time, ya know he talked about how this time, he's going to make the movie while we still have time to rescue kids, while we can use the movie to rescue kids," said Ballard.
That idea came to life as The Abolitionists, a documentary showing three undercover roundups. During the missions, Ballard and his underground "jump teams" put on hidden cameras and pose as sex tourists. After they have an exchange of money, authorities come in and make the arrests.
The beautiful part about that is that it allows the governments and the police around the world to utilize the film so these kids never have to go testify and yet the bad guys can be put away," says producer Gerald Molen.
Ballard says the hardest part about being undercover is looking in the kids eyes and not breaking character.
"The minute he says oh she's twelve, I see my daughter whose 12, it was so hard, because I'd want to reach out and strangle these guys or cry or fall apart and instead I've got to smile and hug these guys and say this is what I want buddy, good job," Ballard told CBN News.
Aftercare faciliities come in immediately to comfort and support the children after the rescue. The children see their undercover rescuers arrested with their captors, and in most cases never learn they actually saved their lives.
"There's a light at the end of this dark dark tunnel, and with more support and with more people getting involved that light becomes bigger and bigger and bigger until we snuff this out and get these poor children out of hell," says Ballard.
The creators of the Abolitionists hope the movie will bring a greater awareness to the issue and show people there are ways everyone can help fight for this cause.
*For ticket information visit the film's website.