Sound of Freedom
On July 23, 2023, The Hill reported that “Sound of Freedom” — a film aiming to raise awareness about the global issue of child trafficking — surpassed $100 million in gross revenue at the domestic box office. While the film brought this issue to mainstream audiences, some have criticized it for portraying a sensationalized representation of child trafficking. Here are five facts about “Sound of Freedom” and child trafficking. 

5 Facts About “Sound of Freedom” and Child Trafficking

  1. “Sound of Freedom” is Based on a True StoryThe film is based on the life of Tim Ballard, a former agent for the Department of Homeland Security who worked undercover in the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team. In 2013, Ballard and other former agents left the Department to create an organization — Operation Underground Railroad — that more heavily focused on saving children from child trafficking.
  2. Victims of Child Trafficking Are Often the Victims of People they Know — According to Save the Children, there is a common misconception that strangers traffick victims. Oftentimes, however, this is not the case as children’s friends or family members may traffick them.
  3. Those Living in Poverty Are Most Vulnerable to Child Trafficking — Many have said that poverty is child trafficking. Families living in poverty are oftentimes vulnerable as they lack access to basic necessities such as job opportunities, adequate education and housing. Desperate to make ends meet, these families may be more likely to fall prey to child traffickers who claim they can help them.
  4. The Most Common Form of Child Trafficking is Labor Trafficking — Many children who are trafficking victims end up in child labor. Africa and Asia have very high amounts of child labor with an estimated 72 million and 62 million children entering child labor in each region, respectively.
  5. Child Trafficking Occurs in the United States as Well — While child trafficking is most prevalent in underdeveloped or developing countries and regions, they are not the only countries where child trafficking takes place. In 2021, there were reports of a total of 17,200 child trafficking cases, with the greatest number of cases occurring in Nevada, Mississippi and Florida.

Ongoing Efforts

While “Sound of Freedom” has brought attention to Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), it is not the only organization whose mission is to fight back against child trafficking. Other nonprofit organizations have the same goal. For example, World’s Children is an organization dedicated to creating “a world in which every child has a safe, nurturing place to call home, and a chance to achieve their potential through education.” 

World’s Children currently has an initiative called the Prevention of Child Trafficking Program (PCT) that aims to educate vulnerable populations about how to identify and stop child traffickers as well as working directly with government officials and local authorities to put an end to child trafficking. 

Thus far, PCT has made quite an impact on the communities it’s aimed to help with a total of 130,985 adults and children having been taught about child trafficking prevention, 153 victims being saved from child trafficking and 75 child marriages being terminated. Hopefully, ongoing efforts such as PCT will help put an end to child trafficking globally. 

– Nicole Alexander
Photo: Flickr