What is the biggest global money making industry that surpasses the opioid and cocaine trade, illegal arms dealing and adult pornography?
Child sex trafficking.
This “industry” is the number one fastest growing international crime network the world has ever seen, boasting $150 billion in revenue. This juggernaut of illegal activity involves a network of twisted adults and unwilling children that spans the globe.
Sound of Freedom, a film starring Jim Caviezel (The Passion Of The Christ, Savannah, Count of Monte Cristo) released this Independence Day is a film that pushes the envelope hard in the right direction, shining much needed light on a very uncomfortable topic for polite company. After spending some five years in post production limbo at the hands of 20th Century Fox, via Disney, Angel studios took that ball and dashed with it all the way to the national theatrical end-zone.
Upon viewing this in the theatre, what struck me right away was the production quality, which is truly amazing. Furthermore, the acting was superb. This suspense thriller has been marketed as a “conservative thriller” by many in alternative media: Ben Shapiro and Glen Beck among others. You don’t need to be a Republican to hate children being kidnapped and sex trafficked against their wills. The film is based on the true story of Federal Agent Tim Ballard, a husband and father of six, who served as Homeland Security Special Agent in the border town of Calexico.
The film starts with Ballard and other agents busting a pedophile, late in the evening hours, as the mustache-sporting, bad-haircut-wearing perp uploaded files of children to his home computer. (This scene is also from the theatrical trailer)
Ballard, a seasoned veteran at this point, “has seen it all” and it shows in his hardened face and steely blue eyes. After the arrest, his rookie partner is shaken to the core and seemingly questions everything good about the world. The young gun asks “How many pedophiles have you caught?” Ballard replies with, “up to today? 288.” His partner responds, “How many kids have you found?” Nothing but silence from Ballard.
This is the beginning of an arch for Tim Ballard, played so brilliantly by Caviezel.
The film follows Tim Ballard down to Columbia after he locates a seven year old boy named Miguel at the US-Mexico border. Miguel was seen by the audience being abducted, along with his ten year old sister, earlier in the film. It was a palpable moment when Ballard opened up the white van, following the arrest of yet another pedophile, and revealed 7 year old Miguel. The emotional impact this scene put on me, as a father of four children under 13, was like a load of bricks crushing my chest. I can’t say that I did not tear up when that little boy was rescued. But this was just the beginning for special agent Ballard.
The redemptive moment only galvanizes Ballard, which opens his eyes to the greater problem of trafficking. Over a dinner of cheeseburgers and fries, Ballard finds out more information from young Miguel. He describes how his older sister, Rosita, was torn from his arms at the hands of traffickers a few months earlier. She was still at large, trapped in the den of iniquity at the hands of pedophiles. Ballard received his marching orders, and it was not from Homeland Security.
Ballard faces federal bureaucratic back and forth opposition from his boss, Agent Frost (played by character actor Kurt Fuller). Ballard, after much deliberation, is able to convince Frost to let him go on his wild goose chase to locate young Rosita. Somehow, some way, he will find her in central America and reunite her with her brother and father.
As Ballard leaves his family (wife played by Mira Sorvino: Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Final Cut) and home in California to go undercover, he meets a few cobelligerents in Columbia working off the books to end the sex trade. He imbeds himself in this seedy underworld where many others are fighting tooth and claw by any means necessary to rescue children from the streets.
Linking up with a man named Vampiro (played by Bill Camp: 12 Years a Slave, Joker) Ballard encounters more than he expected as this action thrill ride kicks into high gear.
In a gripping scene with Ballard, Vampiro asks him why he’s doing what he’s doing. Ballard replies, “because God’s children are not for sale.” This scene propels Ballard to forsake US protocols, taking even more risks to save young Rosita and other children trapped in this heinous evil. You will have to see the film to see how it all unfolds.
The suspense is serious and the story significant enough to leave the viewer appalled at the depravity that often dances just under our noses. Even in the United States, hundreds of thousands of children are trafficked every year. This evil of sex trafficking is not just a Central or South American problem. It is a worldwide epidemic affecting countless Americans. Some may wonder, “Why is this the case? How can people be so bad?” A quote from the movie summarizes the sentiment well: “You can sell a bag of cocaine one time, but you can sell a child 5-10 times a day for ten years.”
The film has Christian undertones but is not a “Christian film.” There’s no talking veggies or campy acting and goofy characters in this flick. This is real. This is raw. This is a film that depicts the world that Christ cares about, the world that He is redeeming, a world where He calls men and women to fight evil and proclaim the truth.
The message of the movie tastefully deals with the wickedness of child sex trafficking. The scenes are very well constructed and the timing and pace of the film leave you at the edge of your seat.
The film does not show any nudity at all. There are a couple of scenes of fully grown women in some revealing dresses but that is the extent. No sex scenes at all, only mere hints. There is nothing even remotely close to child pornography! There are a few instances of some curse words spoken in anger by some of the characters. There are a handful of smoking scenes and automatic weapons being fired. There is little to no gore or blood. The film is rated PG-13.
Two verses came to mind when I watched.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
I urge everyone to go see this film! At the very least it will shed light on a subject that few care to mention let alone make movies about. This is one of those “don’t go there” topics that both the church of Christ and culture in general don’t want to touch. Forgo the bloated and woke Indiana Jones 5 or the silly Barbie movie and see this film!
May “we the people” rise up to support the message of this film that seeks to expose the wretched works of stealing children from their homes and forcing them to do unspeakable acts by despicable adults.
Join with me in praying to end child sex trafficking. To God be the glory!