“God’s children are not for sale,” actor Jim Caviezel states in his portrayal of federal agent Tim Ballard in the newly released movie Sound of Freedom.
The quote has quickly begun to spread on social media by those who have seen the powerful and pertinent film, as pre-sales for its Independence Day released surpassed expectations – and box office numbers of other big studio films - topping $14 million its opening day. Caviezel calls this the most important role he has played since The Passion of the Christ.
Sex trafficking has become the fastest growing international crime network that the world has ever seen. Sound of Freedom offers an inside look at this heinous evil.
“It has already passed the illegal arms trade and soon it’s gonna pass the drug trade,” the Ballard character explains. “‘Cause you can sell a bag of cocaine one time. You can sell a five-year-old kid, five to 10 times a day for 10 years straight every day.”
This form of enslavement and degradation of life is so traumatic and dehumanizing that it seems unthinkable.
For 12 years Ballard worked as a federal agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with 10 of those years spent on the southern border which he credits as the primary conduit for rescuing children.
Sound of Freedom tells the story of how Ballard’s role as an agent shifted into his current role. Now he is rescuing children privately by utilizing former government operatives and others passionate enough about saving children that they have left secure careers to do this work.
Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) operates all over the world in conjunction with law enforcement on sting operations to rescue children directly from traffickers. Ballard created this team because he realized the constraints of bureaucracy are failing to accomplish the task.
If anything, since the events which are depicted in Sound of Freedom, the threats to children have worsened.
“This administration is facilitating the trafficking of children,” Ballard stated on a recent podcast with pundit Ben Shapiro. Ballard went on to explain how securing the border is key to forcing traffickers to use monitored entry points where trained agents can spot victims being trafficked. He has consistently advocated for the southern U.S. border wall to be completed.
On the Shapiro podcast he pointed to the April 26, 2023, testimony of Health and Human Services whistleblower Tara Lee Rodas before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement. Rodas detailed the process of children being trafficked because of the current system utilized at the border.
“I thought I was going to help place children in loving homes,” Rodas said.
“Some sponsors view children as commodities and assets to be used for earning income,” she said. “This is why we are witnessing an explosion of labor trafficking,” she said.
“Whether intentional or not,” Rodas contended, “it can be argued that the U.S. government has become the middleman in a large scale, multi-billion-dollar, child trafficking operation run by bad actors seeking to profit off the lives of children.”
In the movie, which is a depiction of actual events, Ballard rescues an eight-year-old boy he had been made aware of as missing from the arrest of a perpetrator who was dealing in child pornography. That find happened because the man who had purchased the child attempted to bring him into the U.S. through Mexico at a border checkpoint.
In the first episode of his In The Trenches podcast, Ballard shares more details on the movie compared to the real events. For example, the boy depicted was five years old when Ballard rescued him, and the man who assaulted him is named Earl Buchanan, now serving a life sentence in federal prison.
Ballard calls the film “timely” as traffickers are now using Instagram to lure victims. He told Shapiro that Big Tech isn’t doing what it should do in terms of intervening.
Caviezel, who joined Ballard for the Shapiro podcast, feels a personal connection to the movie, as having adopted three children from China, he has a heart for children in need and is plugged into the dangers children can face in the world.
“I wanted to play a real hero and Tim was that,” Caviezel told Shapiro.
“It is Biblical to me what kind of decision you make when God comes to you and asks you to do something about this, and you have to make a decision,” he noted on the podcast. “Tim sold everything he had to go and rescue this little girl.”
Tweet This: “God’s children are not for sale” - actor Jim Caviezel as Tim Ballard in the film Sound of Freedom
The little girl becomes the focus of the search as she is the sister of the boy rescued at the border. Ballard’s boss directed him to move on, that the search was useless, but Ballard could not let it go.
During the search portrayed in the film 54 children are rescued in one operation, which eventually yielded a total of 123 trafficked victims saved.
Sound of Freedom is a powerful movie, which, while it may be difficult to see knowing it depicts actual events, real children and perpetrators, is a consequential film and a must watch.
PluggedIn movie reviewer Adam Holz acknowledged the film is tough to watch, but said, “... it also might be the most important movie you see this year.”
Aside from a sense of happiness in seeing Ballard take down bad guys, the movie does leave the viewer with a deep sense of, “What can I do to make a difference?”
There are actions we can all take.
Think about what you may be missing right in front of you. Are there children to protect? Do you encounter victims who need rescue? Become informed on how to respond. Pregnancy help organizations are consistently on the front lines of serving trafficking victims and survivors and do so with compassion. The National Human Trafficking Hotline has information and resources.
Sound of Freedom concludes with a message from Caviezel on how viewers can buy tickets for others so as many people as possible see the film and raise awareness.
“Whenever children are vulnerable, it is harvest time for traffickers,” Ballard said.
The “tip of the spear” as Ballard called it on his podcast, is The Spear Fund through which donors are aiding intervention operations worldwide. It is a task force of ambassadors who have been conducting child trafficking rescues for decades.
Caviezel’s portrayal of Ballard is dynamic, and his words land hard as he makes the case for all of us to get involved:
“Ordinary people don’t want to hear it. It’s too ugly for polite conversation. But meanwhile, over 2 million children a year are being sucked into the deepest recesses of hell.”
The opening credits of the movie are run over surveillance video of children being snatched by traffickers. This is real life footage.
We can choose to look away and ignore this, but it is hard to shake off Ballard’s words, “God’s children are not for sale.”