Imagine if your child was stolen from you and then funneled through the dark world of sex trafficking. He or she could end up anywhere — in the next town or several continents away — at the hands of criminals of the highest order.
Every parent cringes at the thought but almost two million children worldwide are victims of sex trafficking. It’s a sobering number that has inspired a group of determined individuals to form Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), a non-profit organization dedicated to removing children from trafficking circles by any means necessary.
To say that the people who traffic children into the sex trade are “bad guys” is an understatement. The caliber of their crimes requires extreme intervention by fearless experts who literally lift these kids out of horrendous situations, often at the risk of their own safety.
Operation Underground Railroad utilizes data mining technology and a highly-developed network of intelligence resources to identify targets and “special ops” tactics (including jump teams comprised of former CIA, FBI, Navy SEALs and Green Berets) to remove kids from harm.
According to the organization’s web site, “People have been talking about this problem for some time. But these children don't need more talk. They need action. They need to be extracted from the hell they are living in. We know how to extract them. This is what we do.”
The sheer numbers associated with child sex trafficking are helping to push the issue a little closer to the forefront of media messaging.
In fact, a new feature-length documentary, TRICKED, will premiere in New York City on Dec. 13. TRICKED exposes the shocking underbelly of the American sex industry by providing a look at the lives of pimps, johns, law enforcement agents and victims. “With TRICKED we took a comprehensive approach to the issue of sex trafficking in the U.S. to tackle the staggering misconceptions about the issue, raise awareness about the industry and create a powerful call to action to promote systemic change,” said Jane Wells, producer and co-director of the film.
As awareness increases, so too does the need to help fund OUR rescue missions. Leaving the responsibility to the government isn’t an option. Even though the government is aware of the gravity of the situation, the related complexities sometimes make solving the problem difficult. “[The U.S. government] is largely hindered by bureaucracy and jurisdictional limitations,” according to the OUR website. “If there is no U.S. statute being violated, then no U.S. action can be taken. Because most of these suffering children fall outside of U.S. jurisdiction and often find themselves kidnapped and abused in regions where the resources to save them are scarce, it is time for private citizens and organizations to rise up and help.”
To donate or find out more about Operation Underground Railroad, visit their website: operationundergroundrailroad.org.
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