Tim Ballard (@TimBallard) is a former Homeland Security agent who reluctantly got involved in chasing down global child trafficking. As the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, he is featured in the documentary film Operation Toussaint: Operation Underground Railroad and the Fight to End Modern Day Slavery, and is a co-author of the book adaptation as well as Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues — Then and Now.
What We Discuss with Tim Ballard:
- Slavery is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.
- There are more people enslaved right now than there were during the transatlantic slave trade period between the 15th and 19th centuries.
- Slavery generates three times the revenue of the NFL. With the money from all the trafficking in the world, you could buy every Starbucks outlet in the world. Every NBA team in the nation. Every Target store.
- There are 30 million slaves in the world; 10 million of them are children.
- 17,500 children are trafficked into the US every year.
- And much more…
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If the title of this episode wasn’t enough of a warning, we just want to reiterate the point here: this will not be easy listening. The content in this episode contains information about child sex trafficking and other topics that some audiences might find disturbing. Listener discretion is advised.
In this episode, we’re joined by former Homeland Security agent, Operation Underground Railroad founder, and Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues — Then and Now author Tim Ballard to talk about why slavery isn’t just a dark chapter from humanity’s less enlightened past, but one that’s still being writ large today. He’ll also share how he became involved with busting child sex traffickers and rescuing their victims as seen in the documentary Operation Toussaint: Operation Underground Railroad and the Fight to End Modern Day Slavery. Again, this one’s heavier fare than most episodes of this podcast, but it sheds light on an exploitative industry that thrives in the shadows unbeknownst to most and it deserves our attention now more than ever.
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss the show we did with Dennis Rodman — one of the greatest rebounders ever to play professional basketball? Catch up here with episode 258: Dennis Rodman | The Worm Is Back!
THANKS, TIM BALLARD!
If you enjoyed this session with Tim Ballard, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues — Then and Now by Tim Ballard
- Operation Toussaint by Tim Ballard, Russell Brunson, and Nick Nanton | Book
- Operation Toussaint | Documentary
- Operation Underground Railroad
- Tim Ballard | Twitter
- Tim Ballard | Instagram
- Tim Ballard | Facebook
- Jordan Harbinger | A Darknet Diaries Origin Story | TJHS 353
- Harriet Jacobs | NCpedia
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
- Timeline of Atlantic Slave Trade | ABC News
- Trafficking in Persons Report | United States Department of State
- Population by Country (2020) | Worldometer
- How to Spot Human Trafficking | UNITAS
- Utah Man Groomed 6-Year-Old Girls through Yearlong Gaming, Charges Say | Deseret News
- How Parents Monitor Their Teen’s Digital Behavior | Pew Research Center
- Child Watch: The Apps That Let Parents ‘Spy’ on Their Kids | BBC News
- The Sound of Freedom | IMDb
- Mia Love | Twitter
- Jonestown Massacre: What You Should Know About Cult Murder-Suicide | Rolling Stone
- Jim Caviezel | Twitter
- Chris Swanson | Twitter
- Michigan Sheriff Chris Swanson Joins Protesters | Inside Edition
- Abolition, Anti-Slavery Movements, and the Rise of the Sectional Controversy: The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship | Exhibitions (Library of Congress)
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Stockholm Syndrome: The True Story of Hostages Loyal to Their Captor | History
- Amnesty International Publishes Policy and Research on Protection of Sex Workers’ Rights | Amnesty International
Transcript for Tim Ballard | Putting a Stop to Child Sex Trafficking (Episode 369)
Tim Ballard: [00:00:00] My very first case, they said, "Tim, investigate this case" -- this was child exploitation material -- "find this guy; he's here somewhere." And I pull up the stuff that we had found and it's these little children, these three little boys. And I won't get too graphic other than to say they looked like my children. I fell to my knees. I dry heaved into a -- you know, I thought I was going to throw up. It was just dry heaves. I ran out of that building. I mean, this is just what happened to me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:29] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's sharpest minds and most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. I want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works, make sense of what's really happening, sometimes even inside of your own brain. If you're new to the show, we've got episodes with spies and CEOs, athletes and authors, thinkers and performers, as well as toolboxes for skills like negotiation, body language, persuasion, and more. So if you're smart and you like to learn and improve, you're going to be right at home here with us. For a selection of featured episodes to get you started with some of our favorite guests and popular topics. Go to jordanharbinger.com and we'll hook you up.
[00:01:17] Today, Tim Ballard is with us. This is an amazing guy, former Homeland Security agent who reluctantly got involved in chasing down child trafficking, both here in the US and overseas. He took a case. He really didn't want to have anything to do with it. And then due to a confluence of circumstances, he left the government and of course, we'll hear the story today, but essentially he leaves the government to found his own agency dedicated to stopping child trafficking around the world. This story is bananas and I'm so excited for you all to hear what we've got for you today. Tim and I have something in common. We both used to bust pedophiles. Tim still does and does it in a much more badass way than I ever dreamt of doing. So if you all know my story already, as outlined in episode 353 here on the show, in case you missed that one.
[00:02:01] Today, we'll discover that slavery is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. That might be hard to believe. I certainly was not able to wrap my mind around this. No one seems to be talking about this that much. In terms of revenue, it's three times bigger than the NFL -- three times bigger. This is one of those things that it's so horrible, most of us don't even want to think about it.
[00:02:21] Don't listen to this one with kids in the car. I do highly recommend it though. If you skip it, you come back to it because it is very interesting. And Tim is a great guest.
[00:02:29] If you want to know how I managed to get people like Tim in my network and get them here on the show, check out our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Most of the guests on the show subscribe to this course, they've been doing it. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong. All right, here we go with Tim Ballard.
[00:02:49] I think it's really cool how you frame the book about African American slavery in the United States. That was something that really stood out to me. And a couple of the things that you'd quoted from these little sidebars that you have -- one was that there was a slave who wanted to learn how to read so bad so he could read the Bible. And I think the quote was something like, "I just want to be able to read so that I know how to live that way. I won't be so afraid to die."
Tim Ballard: [00:03:14] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:15] That was powerful, man.
Tim Ballard: [00:03:16] And the risk they were taking, you know, that Harriet Jacobs was taking, and that he was taking, like, "We could be whipped, we could be beaten to death, and we don't care. Let's do it. Let's do it anyway." I just love her spirit. I tried to write my book, that story many, many times over the years -- this is embarrassing, but I just couldn't. Emotionally, I would just fall apart. I mean, even getting through writing that story, I would bawl and just PTSD type reactions, but until I had Harriet to kind of lean on, her story, that's what actually made it possible for me to write it. I mean, as I write in the book, she's my hero, she's my teacher, she's my inspiration. If she could do it under her circumstances being a slave, certainly I can figure out something, I can do something here. She's just a powerhouse and I wish more people knew about her.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:02] Yeah. Well, the book, when I read it, I was really surprised because I thought this was going to be like a little treatise from an ex-cop on the slavery industry or the child trafficking industry. And it really is like this African-American slave story that tells the same -- unfortunately, a very similar story of what we have going on right now although this happened hundreds of years ago, which is in a way, things haven't changed. And looking at some of the stats it's gotten even worse and we'll get into that in a second. I thought that was an especially hopeful story or part of the story coming from somebody who had lived a really hard life, and honestly, didn't have a whole lot of hope to live a better life and they still were trying to improve themselves. That's amazing, really.
Tim Ballard: [00:04:44] Absolutely. Yeah. It's unbelievable. And again, like you pointed out, the slavery is different. It's different. I would never want to lose the integrity of the transatlantic slave trade in that story.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:53] For sure.
Tim Ballard: [00:04:54] But there's enough parallels that were just so crazy not to try to learn from what happened before -- how we eradicated it before. And just like in the 18th, 19th century, no one's really talking about it. It's too hard. People look away. They don't want to engage. And so, again, there's so many parallels. How do you create a movement? How do you get people interested in the suffering of others? And the children don't have a voice. They can't protest, they can't rally. They can't organize. These children who are abused and they're the most precious in the world, and yet you don't hear -- there's no marches for them. There's no -- and that's why we're just trying to get loud and try to be their voice because they're being exploited, trafficked, kidnapped, raped by the millions, more than ever in the history of the world. So it's something to hopefully bring to light and find solutions.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:42] People don't know this. As you've mentioned, people don't really know this. There aren't that many marches or -- if there are any, I don't know of one. There are 30 million slaves in the world. Is that correct? I mean, that's --
Tim Ballard: [00:05:52] Insane and is correct.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:53] Think about countries that you've been to on vacation. Like maybe you went to Sweden once -- isn't that like five or seven million? So you can add up all of Northern Europe and maybe you have like more slaves then those countries' entire population and they're just blended into the rest of the world.
Tim Ballard: [00:06:10] Absolutely. 10 million of those are children who are either in slave labor, organ harvesting, or sex trafficking. Most stats in UN, State Department, I believe in terms of the sex trafficking, is about two million, but we work in slave labor as well. And if you're a slave for labor, you're a slave for sex. I mean, once someone owns you, they're going to do anything they want with you. So I think those numbers are even lower than what we're seeing, and it is absolutely devastating and it is everywhere.
[00:06:35] In the United States, we just landed last year at the Trafficking in Persons Report, we're in the top three for destination countries. In other words, the traffickers are trying to get these kids into our country and into our black sex market, because that's where you can make the most money. Again, we are the demand. We drive this. We are the number one consumers of child exploitation material -- what I call child rape videos, because that's what they are.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:57] That to me is bizarre, but also somehow not surprising because it is a big country and we keep stats on these kinds of things. It's hard to say if there are other huge markets for this, right? In countries that maybe just don't even care as much, I would think.
Tim Ballard: [00:07:12] It's exactly right. We're one of the largest countries in population that also is high tech and that we do take stats for it. So it's true. But we need to start here. So often people say, "Look, this is a problem, far, far away from me. It doesn't affect me. It doesn't affect my family." No, it does affect your family. Believe me, if you knew how many sex addicts, pedophiles are living in your neighborhood, you would take care of your children a little differently, even. So it's a problem we have to just, you know, bring it to the light.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:38] I just want to pause for a second and let the numbers sink in. Because when I first heard that stat, I literally put the book down and just like I was walking outside, so I just kind of walked another couple of blocks because I was like, "How many?" And I was doing population calculations in my head, like, "How many people live in California? Okay. Like 60 million I think." And I was like, "Okay. So if we divide -- " It's just a huge, huge number of people that are enslaved. And if a third of them, if 10 million of them are children, that's more populous than many countries in the world. And they're all child slaves. Just like when you kind of did that whole, put everyone in one room kind of exercise. What's the size of the business? How much money are we talking about here?
Tim Ballard: [00:08:21] It's $150 billion a year business by most estimates. So to give people an idea, that's like the amount of money made every year, selling children, selling people is about equivalent to -- with that money, you could buy every single Starbucks franchise in the world. You could buy every single NBA franchise, every team, and still have enough money left over to send every child in America to college for four years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:50] Geez.
Tim Ballard: [00:08:50] That's per year selling human beings right now, believe it or not.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:54] So this is a huge business.
Tim Ballard: [00:08:55] It is enormous.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:56] You just can't ignore the economics. I know I mentioned earlier, the transatlantic slave trade -- and again, not to marginalize that at all -- I just wanted to highlight how bad the problem currently is. There are more people in slave right now than during those four centuries. Is that correct?
Tim Ballard: [00:09:10] That is absolutely correct. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:12] Unbelievable. So now, of course, maybe it's not based on race, but it's just pure -- is it purely economic? Is that really what we're talking about?
Tim Ballard: [00:09:18] It's pretty much all economic. Back in the transatlantic slave trade days, that was clearly raised issues and so forth, but today it is economics. It's a ton of money. I mean, these criminals -- this is why it's the fastest-growing criminal enterprises catching up to drugs. It had already surpassed arms. And the reason is you can sell a bag of cocaine one time, but you can sell a child 10 times, 20 times a day in a 24-hour period. And that's what's happening to these kids and so it's so lucrative for the criminal enterprise.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:47] I know you got started in Homeland Security Investigations -- did you start off investigating sex trafficking or how did you even fall into this? Because It doesn't seem like something people normally seek out and go, "This is my beat," you know.
Tim Ballard: [00:09:57] Oh, man, I did not want to do that. In fact, when I was in the Academy, my wife and I made a decision, a pack that I would never work child crimes. We hardly touched it -- by the way, this was like the early 2000s -- the child trafficking. No one was really talking about it. I studied terrorism. I was in grad school during 9/11, and I got my degree in National Security with an emphasis in terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. So that's what I went in to do and that's what I was doing. I had my dream job. I was on the border. We were tracking weapons and potential connections to groups like Al-Qaeda and so forth.
[00:10:30] And six months into that job, I get called in and my boss says, "We're starting a child exploitation group, an anti-trafficking group." And I said, "Great. What will that do with me?" I didn't even really know what it was, to be honest with you. And he says, "We want you to be part of it." And I said, "No," at first. I had to go back and talk to my wife and my wife said, "This is crazy. You're not going to do this. We have children. You're going to bring darkness into our home. I don't know what went in your head." And by the next morning, it was my wife, as I'm preparing my speech to reject the position. And I'm scared that I got to tell this guy who was my boss, his name is Larry Frost, big guy, intimidating to me. You don't tell this guy no.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:09] Right.
Tim Ballard: [00:11:10] And so I'm thinking, "How am I going to say this? What am I going to do?" And my wife comes up to me while I'm preparing my, my speech in the bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror, and she's in tears -- and she's not a very emotional person. She's in tears and she said, "I didn't sleep at all last night." And she said, "I'm wrong. For the very reason, we thought you couldn't do this because we have kids. It's the reason we have to do this. If it's true that millions of children aren't experiencing childhood. Like our children have -- safety and security and love and protection -- then how dare us worry about our own pain." She said, "You got to do it. This has got to be yes." And so I went in, I said, "Let's do this." And honestly, Jordan, it was about 10 times worse than my mind could have conceived what I was getting into. The things that people do to children -- I could not comprehend. To this day after 17 years of doing just this, I cannot comprehend.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:02] It seems like the kind of thing where -- well, you had a front-row seat. So for me, I've watched the documentary, I read your book. And I was like, "These numbers, are these real?" But you had no prior warning and it was probably like, "Oh, there's going to be the occasional kidnapped kid, who's getting trafficked like, well, what are we going to do the rest of the time? Why am I going to fill our days up?" And it's like, I mean, was it like a hundred times worse than you expected? Or 10 times worse?
Tim Ballard: [00:12:25] It was so bad. First of all, the amount of child rape videos coming in -- that's kind of where we started. That's why I started the group. It's like, what is going on? We go online in the darknet. And we're just learning about what's what these things are anyway. It's just this tsunami of material of children being raped, little children. People think we're talking about 16 and 17-year-olds, we don't even have time. That's illegal too. We rarely have time to even focus on that. We're looking on the kids who are five, six, seven, 10 years old.
[00:12:54] And so I remember my very first case, they sat me down and said, "Tim, investigate this case." This was child exploitation material. It came in and landed in our area of responsibility. "Find this guy; he's here somewhere." And I pull up the stuff that we had found, and it's these little children, these three little boys. And I won't get too graphic other than to say they looked like my children. And I mean, I fell to my knees. I dry heaved into it a -- you know, I thought I was going to throw up. It was just dry heaves. And I ran out of the building. I mean, I'm not proud of this. This makes me look like a super wimp. But I mean, this was just the --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:29] I think that's a normal reaction. I think it's a normal reaction. I've never seen anything with people that young, but I can't even -- like my mind can't even, it's hard to even get there, you know, imagination-wise.
Tim Ballard: [00:13:39] Oh, you can't, you can't get that. That's why when I'm watching -- these kids were about six, seven, and eight, my kids' age and they looked like my kids. I'd get in my car. I speed over to the school. I checked my kids out. I put dentist, I remember. I took him home and my wife came up, "What's going on," and I just was sobbing and just holding my kids. And I was just like, "You don't know the evil out there." It was hard for me because I would -- from that point on, I would superimpose my children's faces on all the victims that we would try to help.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:06] Like mentally, right?
Tim Ballard: [00:14:07] Mentally, mentally, just like, that's my kid, that's my kid. And I had to get over that to even move on. But then I realized, that's why I realized, why are we not having marches? And why are we not having demonstrations about this? And the reason is because it's too dark. People will do the same thing I did and they can't -- it's too much. And so I know this when I present, I thank the audience just for being willing to hear me. I thank you, Jordan, for being able to give me an audience because it hurts so much to think that this could be real. It's easier to pretend it's not. And that's what we're up against.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:42] I think you're onto something there because when I first saw this -- I think I was introduced to you through this documentary, which we'll link in the show notes. It's available -- was it Amazon Prime or something like that? I always recommend these things.
Tim Ballard: [00:14:52] Yes, Amazon Prime, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:53] And it's called Operation Toussaint. My French is non-existent, so I'm not totally sure how that goes. And this was just like, I looked at this and I googled something along the lines of, is this real? Or is this exaggerated? And then I looked you up because I was like, "Is this one of those? What's going on here?" This can't be a big thing because this is the first time hearing about it. I'm reasonably well-informed. And why is this the only thing there's not a whole lot of websites about this? There just wasn't much, but if you look up every other problem in the world, there's like whole organizations, and there's foundations, and there's all kinds of stuff going on. There's dedicated government agencies to things like this and there just isn't. And you had mentioned -- I think in the book or possibly in the documentary -- that there was a 5,000 percent increase in child rape videos on the Internet. Which like, even if the amount of videos on the Internet was one and there was a 5,000 percent increase, that's a ton of it, you know? And I'm pretty sure we're not talking about one that multiplied that way. This is like a massive -- where is this happening? It's obviously happening all over the world. I assume it happens plenty in the United States if our demand is so higher production also has to be reasonably high.
Tim Ballard: [00:16:02] Our production is high for sure. And the scary thing about this crime is there's no stereotype. You can't profile someone. It's anyone, it's everyone. It's like this closet crime. We've arrested professionals, medical professionals, lawyers, educators, law enforcement officers. I've had to arrest a handful of law enforcement officers in my life who were into this. That's what's so devastating about it. It's so hard to identify. It's dark. A lot of it's on the darknet. We build labs. Our foundation builds labs in different countries, mobile labs as well to help get the tools into the hands of law enforcement. So they can find this. This is why, like I said, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children just came out just a few weeks ago and said two million excess child abuse reports. In March, four million in excess of 2019, March 2020, because it's all online. In the United States, it is. If you go overseas into developing countries, you're going to find it more on the street corners, on the beaches, in certain districts. But here in this country, in the United States, it is online, which means every child is vulnerable that has Internet access and every pedophile that has that same access has a weapon to get that child. And that's the reality.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:12] I remember when I was really young, probably like 11. A family friend, they got a computer. The guy was like a big computer guy, worked on computers for Ford or something like that. And they had a modem which now nobody even knows that is now, but it basically meant you could connect your computer to Prodigy or America online, or proto-Internet that people were using back then. And I remember that we weren't allowed to use that computer without -- it was locked up. And we were like, "Why?" And the guy told our family friend told my parents, "You'd be surprised. There are pedophiles on there." And my parents were like, "What's how can that be the case." And his kids weren't allowed to use it.
[00:17:50] I mean, this is like 1990, so it's almost like as soon as the Internet was available, these guys were on top of it for criminal activity of this variety. This was like the first kind of crime that I'd even heard about online. Yeah, you get bank wire fraud and stuff like that. It's pretty specialized, but this was kind of like the first street crime-level, if you will, crime, that was even being done online from what I understand.
Tim Ballard: [00:18:15] Absolutely. And it's because of the nature of it. This is who these people are. They have everything to lose. It's actually a high suicide rate for those who we arrest because they've lost everything, right? So they have to commit their crimes in secret. And the Internet provided that for them and the darknet even better because now they really feel anonymous and they can do their dirty work in the dark.
[00:18:35] But when kids disappear, when kids get kidnapped -- every time when we find a kid, every time, there's this long trail of contact with their predators online. That's where it started. They'll come in undercover. They'll come in wanting to befriend your child on Facebook or follow them on Instagram. And they have a false picture. They have a picture that looks like he's the kid in the high school next door. And, Oh, my gosh, they're flattered and slowly by slowly, they kind of lure them in and then they find out where they are and they grab them. Parents need to wake up to what's going on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:11] So this starts off as somebody chatting with underaged --yeah, this is so creepy to me because I remember when I was in high school, I was always on America Online. I was like a big computer Internet kid back then. And I remember female friends of mine being like, "Oh, I'm going to go meet this guy. Will you come with me because it might be dangerous? And there was a time we showed up outside of the movie theater where I actually worked. So I was like, "Hey, if it's creepy, we can just run in there. And I know the manager and I worked there and I can use my, you know, whatever to get in, like the back door, just thinking, if he's like a guy we'd just want to ditch." We showed up and it wasn't a 17-year-old guy. It was like a 50-year-old man. And she was talking with him and he was like, "Oh, hey, is that your boyfriend?" And he was so creepy and then finally, he was like, "If you tell your friend to go away, I'll give you $50 if you watch me," you know, figure out the rest. She's like, "Oh, my God. No." So we ran away and then went through the movie theater. We thought that was a weird occurrence, but there's like a non-zero chance that if I wasn't there, that, that girl would've just gotten nabbed by that guy and that was it
Tim Ballard: [00:20:14] Gone. Exactly. And what you just described Jordan is happening every day. Just two weeks ago, 40 miles from my home. And you can look this up. You can google the news story. A guy named Danny Hardman. He was arrested 42 years old. He was grooming online to two six-year-old girls. Online gaming is -- they love that they go on and play the little kids' games on online gaming and I'm also through Facebook. He had convinced these two six-year-old girls to take their clothes off and take sexually exploited pictures of themselves and send to him. And luckily, the AG's office intervened and nabbed the guy, but he was on his way to the next step. I mean, this is happening everywhere and it's constant.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:54] So scary. Because I have a 10-month-old son, you know, people say, "Hey, don't give them too much screen time, even if it's cartoons." But, of course, when your kid's eight and he's like, "Mom, let me see the iPad. I want to play Candy Crush." You're not thinking, "Oh, there's pedophiles on the chat system," that they don't have on Candy Crush. But, how would we even know? Like as a parent, you can't even look at the app and go, "Eh, hold on. Is there a way for people to chat with you? Show me where that is. Okay." They might not -- your kid might not even know.
Tim Ballard: [00:21:21] It's exactly right. And it's a scary thing because parents have been through a lot of things they can teach their kids.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:26] Yeah.
Tim Ballard: [00:21:27] They learn how to drive a car. They learn how to be -- they've been bullied on the playground, dating things. Parents were like, "I've been there. Let me teach you this." But most parents, a lot of parents, at least in my generation and up, they didn't have any experience in this. They don't know what online gaming is. And like you said, they give their kid a game. They have no idea, but there are 50 people watching your kid play a game and then pretending to be a kid too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:48] Yeah.
Tim Ballard: [00:21:48] That's what happens here. And then slowly but surely they know how to get into your kid's head and start getting them to do things that they didn't mean to do. And that's what we're dealing with.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:57] I was interviewing somebody reasonably well known, like on this show. And I said, "Hey, there's some noise in the background." He goes, "Oh, my kids are playing Xbox." And I go, "Oh, wow." Because they're yelling and screaming. They're really loud. And I said, "He just plays with his friends." And he paused and goes, "You know, I don't know. There's just a bunch of kids on there playing." And I thought nothing of it, but now I'm like, "We don't know those are kids playing Xbox with your kid."
Tim Ballard: [00:22:20] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:21] Your child. And, of course, they're in quarantine right now on lockdown. So they're in there all the time because I was so confused. Like how can US kids get sucked into this? They have parents that care about them. They've got teachers, they have -- most people have infrastructure. Granted, there are plenty of kids that have crap parents and no social infrastructure. I would imagine those people are even more vulnerable to this kind of thing.
Tim Ballard: [00:22:43] They absolutely are. The infrastructure keeps them safe. We work in countries like Haiti -- you saw in the documentary -- well, why are those kids still vulnerable? Because there's no infrastructure. The infrastructure that would keep them safe, doesn't exist. And we threw our kids during this lockdown period into something similar. You know, even though we have homes and we have prosperity in some ways, in many ways that infrastructure is what's keeping them safe.
[00:23:06] Another form of trafficking, I want to mention where we find it in the most affluent areas, it's a form people don't recognize, but a teenage girl -- we see thousands of these cases -- with a boy and they ended up having sex or doing whatever and they film it or he films it. Then they break up as teenagers do quickly. And then that kid, the ex-boyfriend starts basically trafficking the girl, saying, "Look, I have your email list. I will send this to your school, to your pastor, to your parents, unless you go have sex with that guy, my friend, and do this." Or you wouldn't believe how many cases like that happen. And these girls are freaked out. They think their lives are over. And so now they're being trafficked, even though they're going home every night in their nice big houses with their security and security dogs, and their big gates and they are being trafficked right under the nose of their parents. And the parents are shocked.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:53] Oh, God.
Tim Ballard: [00:23:53] This is something that's another trend that's growing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:56] You know, it's funny. You should mention this. I've watched a TED Talk from somebody who grew up in an affluent area and she had this exact same scenario play out. I can't remember her name and I googled her and she had gone to my high school in Michigan, which was around all of these other sorts of gated community type kids. Like our parking lot, aside from my Ford Tempo GL looked like a Mercedes Benz dealership because everybody had money. So I was like, "How could that have happened in our area?" And sure enough, you know, I googled more of her talks and she was like, I was going to Bloomfield Hills in Westfield. And I'm like, these are areas where judges live, where people who own like the guy who owns an auto supplier. You know, the whole board lives in this area and it's happening right in there. These are 0.1 percent, some of these people. This crime is not just kids who grew up in a hellish ghetto area, being abused by other people who live in that area. This is like a truly global knows no boundaries type of criminal enterprise.
Tim Ballard: [00:24:56] It absolutely is. And you know, these traffickers are experts at rewiring, the brains of kids, which is what allows them, the confidence -- the traffickers have confidence -- "Go ahead and go home. I still got you. I still got you. You know, you can go home, you can sleep in your bed. You can have dinner with your parents every night, but I still got you." And when we go through the rehabilitation phase of our mission, that's when we really learned the damage. It's internal, that's inside, that's in the brain and rewiring that and rolling that all back. It is so complex and so difficult. It's best that it never happens in the first place. And we don't have the awareness campaign that we need.
Peter Oldring: [00:25:33] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Tim Ballard. We'll be right back.
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[00:28:12] And now back to Tim Ballard on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:18] The aftercare seems to be a big part of your rescues and your programs because -- I mean, you can't just be like, "All right, we got you out of the fake orphanage. Good luck, go stay in school." Like, what are you going to do? You can't do that.
Tim Ballard: [00:28:30] Right. Most of these kids don't have parents. That's how they got taken in the first place. Not all of them, but there's a big number of them that that's how they were taken. So we partner with aftercare homes all throughout the world. In fact, when a law enforcement agency comes to us and says, "We'd like you to help consult with us and provide us the tools." Our first question is, "Okay, if we do that, where are the kids going to go that we help you rescue?" "Oh, they're going to go to our state-run." "Nope. We don't do state-run anything." I've learned my lesson on that one. We go out and find the partners that we trust. They're generally other NGOs, private organizations, and we find them, we vet them and then we give them resources as needed. Once we fill them already, then we go back to the law enforcement agency and say, "Now we can begin, but you have to sign this MOU stating that any kids rescued have to go to one of our vetted institutions." And then we stay with those institutions. We stay with those kids.
[00:29:22] We had a big hit operation in 2014, there's a feature film that's coming out this year about this operation. It's called the Sound Of Freedom stars Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, and it comes out this year, it just finished. That tells the story of this huge operation we did, the largest bust ever. We rescued 121 victims and 15 traffickers went down.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:41] Where was that?
Tim Ballard: [00:29:42] It was in Colombia.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:43] Oh, man.
Tim Ballard: [00:29:44] And so these little kids and we had 120 victims, a lot of them, children, little children, some of them are just now being through our programs. And now they're graduating, just to show you how important aftercare is for us. We stay with them. Some of these children that we rescued that were 12, 13, they're now becoming adults. And they're through our aftercare program. We're still with them. We are still helping them get into college. We're giving them scholarships, helping them start businesses. Off the record, I'll send you a link to the film. It has -- COVID kind of threw everything off, but I'd love you to see it
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:16] As it does. Yeah. Yeah. I would love to watch it. That would be amazing.
Tim Ballard: [00:30:19] We'll send you a link.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:21] Great.
Tim Ballard: [00:30:21] Please watch it because --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:22] I will.
Tim Ballard: [00:30:22] -- it shows the whole story that happened there. It was happening at the same time the raids were going on in Haiti, where I rescued my own children out of that 2014, it was a crazy year for us. But that's what we do to the point of aftercare. We stay with these kids forever. Even into adulthood, we're still staying with him. What do you guys need? How can we help you?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:40] You just said something that I think a lot of people are like, "Wait, what? You said that, 'I rescued my own children?'"
Tim Ballard: [00:30:45] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:46] You're going to have to fill that in, man.
Tim Ballard: [00:30:48] So one of the reasons we started Operation Underground Railroad, I was a special agent, loving my job. And I learned about this little boy that was kidnapped in Haiti. He was a US citizen. That's how I learned about the case, but of Haitian descent, he moved to Haiti back with his family. His father is the pastor of this church and the little boys kidnapped from the parking lot, one Sunday afternoon after church. And I think we can make this a US case. So I become obsessed with this story because I know that very little is going to be done in a country like Haiti. It doesn't have the resources. So I brought the father to my office and I sat down with him and I started talking to him about what's being done to find his son. And he says to me -- he shocks me with a question. He says, "Do you have children?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Could you sleep at night knowing that one of your children's beds was empty?" And I just started weeping. I'm just like, "No." And he said, "Well, to answer the question, what's been done to find my son because I can't sleep at night. And because law enforcement in my country is doing nothing for me. I arbitrarily picked some neighborhood, the darker, the better, the more crime-ridden, the better -- arbitrarily, pick some neighborhood and walk the streets flashlight in hand. And I pray to God that I'll just hear my son cry." And I'm just going -- first of all, I emotionally just sunk.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:01] Yeah.
Tim Ballard: [00:32:01] But also going, "There's stuff we can do, bro. Like there's investigative techniques." So I became obsessed and I promised the father, I will never stop until we find your son."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:10] Wow.
Tim Ballard: [00:32:11] Thinking I can do it under the jurisdiction of the US Government with my badge, with my resources of the US Government. But that promise was real to me. And so I start working the case and I find out, "Hey Tim, back off. This is a Haitian crime. It's a Haitian case. Get out."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:24] But why though? He's an American citizen, the kid, right?
Tim Ballard: [00:32:28] Well, because it was interpreted by the powers that be -- not my office, not even my department -- my office wanted me to go as far as I could go, but ultimately it was decided, "Look, it was done by Haitians. The Haitian government says they're on it." And that was the imperative -- that was the instruction given to me. At the same time, I had done something similar in Colombia, which led to that other hit, I'd gone down there to consult on a case, very limited, no mandate, but I put myself undercover and I went way beyond what I was allowed to do, which then broke open this huge case. So here we are grappling with this. This was about 2013. My wife and I, and I'm like, look -- in both cases. I was told, "Come home, get out of this. You can't do this. There's no mandate this isn't going to end in a US courtroom. Congress would light us up, basically, if you stay down here."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:17] Yeah.
Tim Ballard: [00:33:17] And it was those two cases that basically compelled us to say, "Look, we're going to go for this. I don't know if I can feed my --" I had six kids at a time. I don't know, in six months if we'll have any money, honestly, to pay the rent to pay the mortgage, but we just knew we had to do it so off we went. And on the Haiti case, we went in and we worked with the police. Once we came in with resources, they were willing to cooperate with us and they did, and we found the captors of the little boy. We found that people that kidnapped him and what scared the heck out of us was that where the evidence led us to where they were was a compound with 28 children. We flew a drone overhead and kind of 28 children. But it wasn't a registered orphanage. The sign outside said orphanage. So we're thinking, "Oh, my gosh, this is a trafficking center."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:01] That's so creepy.
Tim Ballard: [00:34:03] So creepy. And then we come to find out this is what happens and especially in developing countries like Haiti, after that earthquake in 2010 or after the hurricanes that go through it's harvest time for the traffickers. That earthquake killed about a quarter-million people instantly but what the media didn't talk about was the half a million or more orphans that were made instantly. And these kids are walking the streets, blood, sweat, tears, whore, everywhere. And the traffickers come into the country, posing as aid workers, posing as orphanages. They throw orphanage signs over the side of a wall. And now innocent people are shepherding these children into --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:38] They're co-opting people's Goodwill and getting them to bring the kids in like, "This is my third nephew once removed, please take care of him." And he gets freaking --
Tim Ballard: [00:34:45] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:46] Oh, that's so disgusting.
Tim Ballard: [00:34:47] And so two of those kids, a one and a two-year-old, were ushered into this place that said orphanage. They were brought to the same place that this little boy, his name was Gardy the little boy. So where we're with the police and we identify what is a front. We recognize that it's a front for us. It's not an orphanage because it's not registered, but there are 28 children. And so we go in undercover. What happened to me? I had been in situations like this before, but I've never seen 28 children altogether in captivity. And I remember standing at the gates of this place looking in, and I was instructed by the Haitian police to go undercover, pretending to be an American trafficker. These foreign traffickers are used to dealing with Americans, westerners. Again, that's where the market is. So I'm looking at these kids and I start getting this same thing that I told you about earlier. This almost PTSD kind of reaction and I started seeing my own children. I had actually been to therapists, the government supplied for us because our work is so nutty to help me get around that, to help me not do this anymore. Because if I superimpose my kids' faces, you know, in my mind I was shutting down. I was driving to my kids' school and taking them out and going home and crying my eyes out. But I started getting that feeling again. It was interesting at the gate. I remember looking in and I thought to myself, you know what I'm going to embrace it. I'm not going to fight it. I'm going to embrace it. And I'm so glad I did. I was ready to embrace it and make these kids, my kids. And so I walk into this place because there's nothing you wouldn't do for your son, right? I mean, there's nothing, you'd give your life in a second to save his life. And so if you look at these kids, like they're yours, imagine there's nothing you won't do. And you become a more effective agent. You become a more effective operator in the field. And that's what happened on this case.
[00:36:22] So we went in, undercover, and sure enough, these guys approach us and they tell us, "Look, these kids are $10,000. They ended up raising the price of 15 by the end of the deal. But any of these kids are for sale. They had a whole instruction on how to evade police, how to get around. What do you do? And so I'm looking for a little Gardy because I know he's got to be in here somewhere because all the evidence said he was. But in the meantime, I was instructed by the Haitian police -- because we always work with the police. We're not a rogue unit. We work under the jurisdiction of whatever jurisdiction we're in. And they told me, they said, "Tim, if they're selling kids -- which most likely they are -- buy them. Accept the deal because we need the evidence." I got cameras all over my body hidden. And so we're going to get the evidence. So I'm looking for a kid to buy and I don't think it matters. And I'm looking around and in that moment, in fact, there's an image of this in the documentary that you saw from the undercover camera, this little boy turns and walks towards me and I just pick him up and I just look at him and I'm like, "This is the one I'm going to buy in the sting operation."
[00:37:19] Well, then I find out shortly after that, that he has a sister. This amazing little girl who's been saving his life, by the way. You know, I tried to give her -- at one point I was holding this little boy looking for Gardy in my head. One of my colleagues keeps the traffickers busy and there are these dark outbuildings on this compound and I'm going in there, so my camera can pick up everything. And that's when I get introduced to this little girl, she follows me in here, I'm holding a little boy. He's my excuse to kind of get in. I get him to kind of point and so if he was watching like, "Oh, this kid that wants to show him his room or whatever."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:49] Yeah, yeah, yeah, where are your friends?
Tim Ballard: [00:37:51] Exactly. So I get in and this little girl followed me in. And I swing around. I look at her and she's looking at me like --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:57] Mad dog.
Tim Ballard: [00:37:58] If looks could kill -- Oh, yeah. I'm like, I loved it. And I'm like, "Who's this brave little girl. That's just like, what's up." And so I gave her a candy bar -- these kids are all starving by the way. We medically confirm later --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:07] It's terrible.
Tim Ballard: [00:38:08] I gave her a candy bar and I'm like, "Take this and go away." And I knew something was up when I gave this little kid -- because even my kids who are not starving, they don't do what she's about to do. They take their candy bar. If I need to go on the outside and eat it, "Dad, I'm going to -- as long as I get it." This little girl takes this, the starving little girl, she doesn't take her eyes off of me or the little boy, breaks that candy bar in half hands, the other half into the hands of the little boy. Again, I have experienced it with kids. Kids don't do that. That's not their muscle memory. This is muscle memory for this kid, this little girl. So then I realized, "What have I done? This is the sister." And so I put the little boy down, she grabs a little boy and pulls him in and just stands between me and him, which I'm just loving. I'm just like -- I've never seen so much love in action. Like, and I kneeled down and I broke the cardinal rule of undercover operations. And I tell them who I am, you know what I said, "I'm here for you. I'm not -- you'll never be apart again."
[00:39:00] So then that leads us to then telling the traffickers. We want to buy both the kids, which increases the price. Again, I think it's just a sting operation. We're going to use these kids. I just want to keep them together. I'll make sure they get into a good home later, a good aftercare home. So the whole thing blows up and I mean in a good way. They take the bait. They sell the kids to us. The cops come in, everyone gets arrested, but the kicker is the little boys not there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:21] Gardy is not there.
Tim Ballard: [00:39:22] Little Gardy is not there. He's been sold already. And I have to go have this conversation with his father who's waiting in another room -- I'm sorry, in another hotel. We couldn't bring them too close to the site because of the emotional aspect. So I then go and I have what I believe to this day still is the most consequential, maybe the most important conversation I've ever had with anybody. I have to tell him that his son wasn't there and we have no idea where he was. If you knew the hope that we had leading up to this -- his son was going to be rescued. I was going to walk through that hotel. And a thousand times I played it in my mind, I'm going to walk through those doors and I'm going to deliver this boy back to his father. And I walked through those doors and I'm empty-handed and this father, his name is Guesno. He looks at me, I look at him, and he just starts to bawl, just weep. And I sit down and I'm crying, he's crying. And I eke out the words that we did rescue 28 children. And then this guy does something, he pops his head up, stops, crying, and he says, "Why are we crying? This is amazing. We rescued 28 kids." And I said, "Guesno, I'm worried about the one we didn't rescue." And he says, "No, you're missing the point." He said, "If my son hadn't been kidnapped, no response would have come. No teams would have come to rescue these kids." And he said this, he said, "If I have to lose my son so that these 28 kids can be rescued, that is a burden I'm willing to bear."
[00:40:41] I'm just looking at this guy thinking who are you? I wish I could say that even to this day. If our roles reversed, I know I couldn't. I wish I could. Then I go with him to the police station. He goes, "Let's go to the police. I'm going to find out more." So we go to the police station and he tells the police -- like I'm already in awe of this guy. And then he says to them, "If you can't find parents for the children who were rescued, in the name of my son, then I will take them. I will be their father."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:08] Wow.
Tim Ballard: [00:41:08] And he goes home with eight of those 28 kids. I am so in awe. So I went home that night in this rat-infested Port-au-Prince hotel room because that's all we could afford at the time. And I called my wife and I'm like, "You won't believe this story." I usually don't give her all the details because I don't want to scare her, but you won't believe I tell this story. And I just kept saying, I want to be like this guy, this guy's my hero. Can you imagine? Faced with this, he goes to the light. He goes to, "How can I help these kids who were rescued in the name of my son?" I'm weeping on the phone. And my wife, who is my spiritual guide and she's the one who gets me into all these good things.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:43] You get yourself into trouble as she gets you into the other side of things.
Tim Ballard: [00:41:46] That's right. And she says to me, "If you want to be like him, let's be like him. He took eight. You told me the story about these two beautiful children." And she says to me, "I want to be their mother. If he can take eight, I can take two." And I said, "You've got to be kidding me."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:03] You already had six kids, so just everyone knows.
Tim Ballard: [00:42:04] We had six kids. I had just left my job. I had no money. I mean, I lost my pension when I quit early. And you know, we're running a non-profit in the beginning days, especially, I mean, we have nothing. It's just like we had enough money to do this operation and I'm like, "Hon, this is expensive." Like she's like, "I don't care. Do the right thing and the other things will take care of themselves." So we did it, Jordan. So under the instruction of my wife, I went back and I said, "I want these two children." And they'd been home now for two years. It took us three years to go through the adoption process, but they are home. They've been home for two years. They're thriving. They're beautiful kids. And this little girl who protected her little brother, I learned more about her story. And she becomes my hero. She does way more for me than I'm doing for her -- because I went to her and they're now in a good orphanage for the three years it takes to get them home. And every time we go down and bring toys and supplies, this little girl can't keep a thing for herself. Just like with the candy bar. She's giving everything away, everything. And I come to find out what's going on. It's the principle that when you serve, when you have a life of service, your body actually responds with a chemical reaction when you're giving of yourself. Doctors have proven it. Dopamine and serotonin and oxytocin, and all of a sudden, you're a happier person. We've all experienced this. When you're giving and serving, you're happier, you're optimistic. You're full of light and creativity. He said, "Your daughter found that. She needed a way to protect her little brother. She was living in a world where she was enslaved." I mean, the only adults in her life wanted to hurt her and the worst ways and how she got around it was serving, serving her little brother, serving the other kids in the orphanage. That's what I was witnessing. I thought what a lesson for all of us. And I mean, she protected her little brother through just serving and serving and serving and becoming empowered against darkness.
[00:44:03] So anyway, these kids are mine now. They're thriving. It was the only case -- I want to mention this -- that I worked in my life that was a preventative strike, so my kids were never sexually exploited. Otherwise, I wouldn't even probably be telling the story. It was one of the few times because we were following Gardy in, we really were able to -- usually, you can't get that close until the transaction has been made.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:24] Okay.
Tim Ballard: [00:44:24] And then it's too late. Usually, it's the lead that comes after the abuse. But in this case, because we were following a little boy who was kidnapped, we got into the belly of the beast early. And so those 28 kids were rescued before they were sold to pedophiles. And so it's an amazing story and it's blessed our lives tremendously.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:42] What happens to those people who get arrested? I mean, what do you do? Because Haiti's a little bit -- they got a lot of fish to fry. I wouldn't say bigger fish to fry, but they got a lot of issues they're dealing with.
Tim Ballard: [00:44:52] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:53] We do too. But like, there's a special place in hell for any child trafficker. I just wonder if Haiti sort of has that same thing where they're like, "Okay, these people were burning them up to their neck in the sand."
Tim Ballard: [00:45:02] So it's not where I want it to be for sure. In fact, most people will say, you're crazy to work in Haiti. How can you work there? Because it's so corrupt. I mean, we've had cases in the documentary, for example, you saw the case where we arrested nine traffickers and they all within a week -- they were selling little children, raping ten-year-old kids filming it, and we had all the evidence on video, and notwithstanding, they paid their way out of jail. And in that case, we actually got to the president of Haiti somehow through a congresswoman, a US Congressman of Haitian descent, Mia Love, got us into his office. She ripped them up. She was like, you cannot let that -- and so he issued arrest warrants. We went back and got the bad guys.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:39] So you arrested them, put them in jail. They paid their way out. They got back into the business. You went and got a congresswoman, got into the president's office who issued arrest warrants, then you went and got the same people again.
Tim Ballard: [00:45:49] Yes. Crazy, crazy story. But that's what happens when you work in a place like Haiti, most people say don't work there because of that. But we just said we can't. I mean, my heart is there now. We're still looking for the little boy. We haven't found him yet. We think we'll find him. We believe we'll find him. We have leads. My children are from there. So I mean, my heart is in Haiti. I just said, "Look, we're going to fight. We'll fight the corruption. We'll fight the traffickers, but we're not leaving." It's a unique situation in Haiti.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:13] You can't just go, "Ah, it's really hard here." I mean, the reason the problem is so severe there is because it's harder to enforce the laws.
Tim Ballard: [00:46:20] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:21] You can't just move the goalposts to where it's easy and then think you're solving the problem. That makes no sense
Tim Ballard: [00:46:26] That's exactly right. Before a big hit on that operation that we're talking about with the corruption came in. I actually wimped out, I told Guesno, the father of the little boy because everywhere we go, looking for the little boy, we ended up rescuing more kids. We've rescued a hundred kids looking for a little boy. We've taken down, I think, close to 50 traffickers looking for this little boy. And so I remember right before this hit, these traffickers were high end and I said, "Guesno, I don't know if we should do this. I mean, this is going to blowback. These guys are going to, by the way out of jail, I know. And this is going to come back on us and our foundation." And he says, "Tim, if you give up right now, you're giving up on Gardy." And I'm like, "Okay, enough said let's do it." And then he says to me, "And I have a contingency plan in case that happens." And he tells me the contingency plan. And I said, "Guesno, if I ever have to do that. Like that is the most dangerous, ridiculous thing I will have ever done in my life." Within a week of the arrest, I'm in Washington, DC. I get a phone call on my private cell phone that I gave nobody and the criminals are calling me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:22] Wow.
Tim Ballard: [00:47:23] Death threats to me. And I knew instantly, "Okay. There's only one way that they can get my phone number. Only the officials of Haiti, a couple of them had my phone number." So I knew it had happened. I called Guesno. He says, "I know, I know it's happening. Let's do the contingency plan." Now the contingency plan was, "You have all the video, Tim. So we'll go into Port-au-Prince into the belly of the beast. We'll invite all the media and we'll expose the truth." And because they don't realize we filmed everything cause it's all hidden cameras.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:52] Right, right. They think, yeah.
Tim Ballard: [00:47:53] we have everything filmed. So the judges that were corrupt made up a false story about what happened and made that the official record. Well, we have the video and so the Rotary Club of Port-au-Prince said, "We'll host the event. We can promise you safe passage to the event, but once you expose, we don't know how high up this goes. It could go so high up that you're never going to leave the country alive." And that was why it was so crazy. And then it got worse, the stakes increased. When they said to me, the Rotary Club came back to me and they said, "Look, no media will come unless you bring a famous Haitian someone they consider famous." I said, "Oh, who's that?"
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:26] What do you get like Shaggy or something like that?
Tim Ballard: [00:48:28] Right, exactly. I was like, "Who do I want to bring?" And they give me this list. And number one on the list is US Congresswoman Mia Love. She's of Haitian descent. And I thought they were joking or they knew something because, at the time, I didn't know any congresswoman, people, except for my own, like the one that represents me, who lives a few blocks from my house. And it happens to be Mia Love, believe it or not. And so I said, "You must know that I know her, right?" "No, she's just the name that the media gave amongst a couple of names." And so I called Mia Love and I said, "Mia, listen as a friend, I'm going to ask you to say no to this request. As the CEO of Operation Underground Railroad, I'm still asking you to do it." I said, "I need you to come down and just bust these guys out with me." And I said, "Honestly, we could die. Like we could literally be ambushed on the way out."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:15] It's like a Jim Jones thing where they killed that congressman. Do you remember that?
Tim Ballard: [00:49:18] Yes. Yes, that's right. So we're sitting there and we do it and she stands up brave and she speaks fluent Creole, Haitian Creole. So she's just killing it. And then I see this guy in the back, we have our security, we're all watching this guy's shifting in the back. So we're walking out of the parking lot. We're scared to death. We're like, "Okay, well now what?" And this guy approaches us and he says, "I work at the presidential palace. Would you please come to see the president tomorrow."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:41] Wow.
Tim Ballard: [00:49:41] And so we're like, "Okay, what do we do? This could be a setup." It could be the presidential palace and we're going to be hung like --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:47] Oh, yeah, it could be a setup and be the president, yeah. Who knows?
Tim Ballard: [00:49:50] Right. It could be anything. So we decided to go for it. And Mia is so brave. She's braver than me. She's like, "I don't care. Let's do this." So we ended up going to the president's office and sure enough, luckily it was everything we hoped. He couldn't believe what had happened because it went viral on the news instantly everywhere. That's when he re-issued the arrest warrants. And people can watch the full -- if you go to Operation Toussaint, Amazon Prime.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:11] We'll link it in the show notes, yeah, we'll link it.
Tim Ballard: [00:50:13] Yeah, the story is told there, about then what happens, how we go after these guys and, and what happens, but it was crazy -- but that's what it's like working in a country like Haiti, you know, that's what you got to do.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:22] You got it. Yeah. You got to just shine of light on everything and blow everybody up. Otherwise, it's probably just easier for them -- consequences-wise to sweep it under the rug and be like, "Look, I got all kinds of things going on. I don't need to put a target on my own back."
Tim Ballard: [00:50:35] That's right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:35] Because these guys are wealthy. This isn't like -- they're not selling like bathtub meth. If this is that big of a multimillion-dollar business, the corruption goes all the way up as high as anybody will let it go.
Tim Ballard: [00:50:47] Oh, yeah, they're selling child rape video, one of the 10-year-old girls would be rescued, she's the subject of child rape material that's being sent to the United States for big dollars. So, yeah, it's big money.
Peter Oldring: [00:51:00] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Tim Ballard. Don't worry. We're coming right back.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:05] I can't imagine the undercover part. Because you don't just walk around in a Hawaiian shirt and go, "Hey, is anybody selling any kids?" Like you got to go hang out with these dirtbags, right?
Tim Ballard: [00:54:13] You got to go to their home. You got to sit with them, you got to laugh with them. You got to party with them. It's the only way you're going to get it. And it is devastating. It is so gut-wrenching to -- you know, you look at these guys and they're selling these kids. And then they bring up their own kids and, "Hey, this is my sweet little daughter." And I'm just like, "Wait a minute. You're selling someone else's kid," and you're witnessing all this and you're alone -- in your heart, you're just like and you got to play along. I mean, I can't tell you how many times you just want to just break cover and just say, "You know what? I'm done. I'm going out in glory. Like you guys are going with me."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:44] That's what -- I swear to God -- because I'm thinking there's got to be a moment when he introduces his kid and you go, like you said, you're looking at him and you're going, "You're not just a merely evil, but you're actually able to somehow compartmentalize that your kid," and yeah, I would just be like, pull the pin and, "We're all going down." Like I couldn't believe it. I'm surprised you didn't smash any of these guys. There is some video I found of you online, I guess you're on a boat or something. I don't know, you're hanging out with these like gross dirtbags. And one of the things was like, "Oh, what's the youngest girl you've ever," and they're laughing. And I'm just like, how did you, not just --
Tim Ballard: [00:55:15] it's so hard. I mean, you learn how to do it over time. In the beginning, especially, it was just so hard. You're just like, "You got to be kidding me." And I have to laugh, I got to laugh back like, "Yeah, bro, 10 years old, but he bleeped-bleeped her. Yeah, bro." Like are you kidding me?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:30] Yeah, so gross.
Tim Ballard: [00:55:31] They go away and you want to go throw up. You're just going to go sit alone in a room for like two hours just to decompress what happened.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:38] What about these undercover methods? Because this seems kind of non-standard, right? I mean, usually, when you think on your cover, you think, "Okay, I'm going to be a hell's angel and move meth and then bust these guys." This almost seems like a new kind of operation for law enforcement.
Tim Ballard: [00:55:50] Oh, yeah. In fact -- it's funny you bring that up -- when I got sent to undercover school in the early 2000s, they sent me to learn how to infiltrate child trafficking rings. And this is one of the top undercover schools in the nation. To kind of start off, they put me into this room. It's a two-way mirror and I'm going up against one of the top undercover operators in the US Government and he doesn't know what my story is. Everyone has a different story. Some people are there for a drug investigation, some were there for gang violence, whatever. He doesn't know what I'm going to say to this role player, agent, but I'm supposed to get him to sell me a child. I mean, I'm tripping all over myself. I'm freaking out. I'm like, how do I do this? How do I bring this up? There are cameras all over. Cause they're going to analyze and criticize the heck out of me afterwards.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:30] Sure. Your game tape.
Tim Ballard: [00:56:31] Right. And I bring up this topic with the guy. We get like three minutes into the discussion and he's turning like gray and he stands up and he's like, "Out of role." He looks through the two-way mirror to his colleagues. He's like, "I've got a 10-month-old daughter. Like I can't do this. And he walks off and I'm just going, "What? What's going on?"
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:48] You broke the trainer.
Tim Ballard: [00:56:51] The instructor came in and said, "Tim, like, look, I'll be honest. We're pioneering this right now. There's very little curriculum. There's very little anything. We got to figure this up." It's the early 2000s when -- again, you could google trafficking and nothing came up. And that's why I turned to history because I thought, okay, if I don't have a curriculum, what do I have? I have history. I have the original Underground Railroad. I have Harriet Tubman. I have Frederick Douglass. And that's when I discovered Harriet Jacobs who becomes my hero, and that's what I wrote about in Slave Stealers. That's why I got into that history. That's why I turned to them because there was no one else to turn to when we were kind of breaking ground on how to do these investigations. So yes, to your point, it's a whole new game. So we have to teach ourselves to be pedophiles. Can you imagine that or a purveyor of child sex or a trafficker? Most guys don't last more than a couple of years and they're like, you're out. I mean, they send us to shrinks immediately. Like every year we got to check-in because it messes with your entire soul.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:43] Yeah. Because you have to dig a compartment in your brain or your soul or your heart or whatever you want to call it where none of this stuff affects you, but normal people who don't -- like I don't have that compartment and it's got to go somewhere.
Tim Ballard: [00:57:55] Right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:56] Right. This is non-scientific psychology here, obviously. But if you're creating a little jail cell in your psyche for the worst that you can ever think about in your entire life, that thing has to stay watertight. That's toxic waste in there. If that leaks out you're, you're going to get screwed up.
Tim Ballard: [00:58:13] That's right, absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:14] It's going to mess up something else.
Tim Ballard: [00:58:15] One of the worst ones I had happened to me was I was going undercover -- this was when I was an agent. The scenes depicted in the film Sound of Freedom. Caviezel does an amazing job depicting what happened, but it was true.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:25] Was he Jesus in Passion of the Christ? Is that where he's from?
Tim Ballard: [00:58:27] Jesus in Mel Gibson's Passion. He's in the Count of Monte Cristo.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:31] Oh, yeah.
Tim Ballard: [00:58:32] He's Edmond Dantes. I selected him. I asked for him to be --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:35] Oh, you did.
Tim Ballard: [00:58:35] Because I love Count of Monte Cristo so much. It's one of my favorite movies. So that's how we got him to play the role. That's why I asked. And he came in and did a fabulous job. But there's this scene that's depicting a real thing that happened where -- you know when I'm undercover, at least I get an undercover passport and my name was Brian Black for a while. I had different names. You can hide behind that and that helped you build that little compartment because you're like, "No, I'm this."
[00:59:00] Well, as I was working a case, this guy had over a million pieces of child rape videos and horrible, and he had connections all through the world. He wouldn't talk, he wouldn't break, and he was just defiant. But he hadn't lawyered up yet, so I could still talk to him. And so what I did was I asked that he not go to jail right away because we had him that direct. And then I went undercover as myself because he had written all this literature, talking about how everybody in their heart is a pedophile, but this puritanical society of America crushes men's true desires.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:33] Oh, God, that's weird.
Tim Ballard: [00:59:34] It's so weird. He'd written books. I bought all his books. I read everything prior to the investigation luckily. So I knew everything about his psyche. And so I decided to go for it. And I said, "Look, I told my colleague to leave the room." I went by myself, I'm wired up. It's all recorded. And I said, "Listen, bro, can you help me? Because I read your stuff and imagine -- you're right, by the way, you're right about men's true desires." And I've got to look at this stuff all day long and I can't even talk to him about it. And I'm like, seriously, Jordan, I am throwing up in my mouth.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:02] Yeah.
Tim Ballard: [01:00:03] Because now I'm going undercover as Tim Ballard pedophile. I couldn't hide behind the facade that I've created. I had to be myself. And for two weeks, I had to pretend to be a pedophile and this guy bought it. I mean, he bought it. I don't know how, but he wanted to believe so badly that what he was teaching was true. I became his convert. And so for two weeks, I was messing with this guy and having to go into his house and hang out with him while I got all the Intel I needed.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:32] And he's thinking, "Oh, look, I got one of the cops. I'm so good at this."
Tim Ballard: [01:00:35] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:36] "I'm totally right about this. Even the guy interrogating me is now a fan of my work."
Tim Ballard: [01:00:41] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:40] What a fucking narcissistic creep, man.
Tim Ballard: [01:00:42] That's exactly what happened and he fell for it. Finally, it ended after a couple of weeks where I got to be -- I was in a coffee shop -- again, the film depicts it perfectly what happens. And I get the final information I need from him. And then finally the cops come in, take him down. As he's getting taken down, he's saying, "Run, Tim, run."
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:01] Oh, no.
Tim Ballard: [01:01:03] "I'll take it. You just get out of here." He has no idea. I'm two-feet right in his face. He's on the ground, screaming for me to run. And I'm just like, "Oh, look up, baby. Just look up."
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:10] Yeah, turn your head three degrees north.
Tim Ballard: [01:01:12] Yeah. Just turn up. And there, I am just looking at him and he's just shocked.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:18] Yeah.
Tim Ballard: [01:01:18] And he's like, "I trusted you."
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:20] "Oh, yeah. Like all those kids trusted you, you POS."
Tim Ballard: [01:01:23] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:24] Come on.
Tim Ballard: [01:01:24] I just cussed at him. I couldn't do anything else at that moment, but Caviezel actually made up a line in the movie when he looks up and says, "I trusted you," and Caviezel, he says, "Never trust a pedophile," and off he goes to jail. I'll get you the link. I want you to see the film. We'll get you the link today.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:40] I definitely want to want to see it. I mean, the whole thing shakes me as a new father. I don't know if this is something that everybody does, but I like you, I can't but help imagine my kids in these situations. I didn't really mention a lot of this stuff to my wife because she's already got stressful enough as a mom of a 10-month-old that I don't even want her like, thinking about these types of possibilities beyond the amount that gets her to be slightly more cautious because otherwise, the kid will never get to leave the house. But your organization Operation Underground Railroad, now, is it 22 countries?
Tim Ballard: [01:02:12] 26 countries.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:14] Yeah, my info is a little out of date.
Tim Ballard: [01:02:15] About 35 percent of our operations, we do here in the United States. Yeah, it's bad here. It is bad. And we are finding the jurisdictions that don't have the resources. So a lot of our work is right here.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:25] Are you finding that it's happening in -- well, actually, we kind of covered this, you said it happens in affluent areas, but I can't imagine that like this area of Michigan where I'm from, where they have, literally, I'm not even kidding, they have a Ferrari police pursuit vehicle, which must've caught -- oh, they probably seized it from a drug dealer, but like this area has resources. It's tempting to think, "Oh, this must happen in like poor Southern, rural Alabama, more than it happens in Manhattan, but that's not really true. Is it?
Tim Ballard: [01:02:50] It's not true. In fact, I was in Michigan, not long ago. Genesee County Sheriff, his name's Chris Swanson. Go look him up. He made some news recently. He went viral just recently because of how he was supporting the protest.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:02] Oh, that's him, the guy who says, "I want to walk with you." That guy.
Tim Ballard: [01:03:05] Yeah. Walk with us. Walk with us. That's Chris. He's a good friend of mine. He's been in operations with us. He made the sheriff last year. But go look what he's been doing. He kind of came to us, learned from us. We kind of trained him on how to do these cases and he has dozens and dozens of pedophiles he's taken down. And what he did, he laid the traps in some of the affluent areas but put the victims in Flint and other areas. And these are affluent people would have traveled to Flint, to rape children, and then they'd get caught. But look him up and you can learn all about what's happening right in Michigan. He's kind of leading the charge right now and fighting this in Genesee County.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:43] That's good. Yeah, that's a county, I believe, adjacent to where I grew up as well. Obviously, you can't work undercover anymore because you're --
Tim Ballard: [01:03:49] Right. I gave that up.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:52] This kind of thing sort of takes that out.
Tim Ballard: [01:03:53] I had my fill though.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:55] I can imagine that you have, yeah. Is this a problem that we can actually solve? Because it sounds so pervasive and so few people know about it and it's so massive. It's almost like where do you even start to contain this international thing? It's like terrorism.
Tim Ballard: [01:04:11] I agree. It's so hard because you know, we love -- we've rescued over 4,000 victims in our first six years, which I never thought. I mean, I look at that number. I'm so grateful. 2000 people have been arrested since we started in 2014, but then you look at the numbers and you're like -- it's easy to get cynical.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:28] Sure.
Tim Ballard: [01:04:28] It's worth it for one. I mean, I would do all this if we just rescued one, it would be worth it. But you get cynical when you look at the statistics because it seems like a drop in the bucket. And the answer to your question is: yes, we can. And here's how we do it. So we went to Colombia when we did that first hit and we decided to do a demonstration, a kind of an experiment. We didn't have the resources at the time to do this everywhere, but we just wanted to try it. So we just put everything into Northern Colombia hit after hit, empowered the police, we pull out, they're still hitting, hit, hit, hit. We build a digital forensic lab in Colombia that they're using. It took about eight months. We could not get anyone who otherwise would introduce you to traffickers or bring you into the market. Like we'd shut it down because there's a consequence now. The problem is it's so pervasive because where it's happening, there hasn't been a consequence. These traffickers have been working with impunity for decades, decades forever. And now there's a consequence. So our goal then, we thought, okay, fine. It works. We can shut it down. And the same traffickers we track them, the ones we didn't catch, they stopped selling kids. Now they got into other things. They were involved in adult prostitution, narcotics, but at least they're not selling 10-year-old girls anymore.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:37] Right, yeah.
Tim Ballard: [01:05:37] Because we made the barrier into that black market way too high. And the travelers, the American travelers, didn't travel there anymore. There were new stories every month about people getting arrested. So they said, "We're not going to go to Colombia to get our children."
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:50] So demand dries up.
Tim Ballard: [01:05:51] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:52] That's the key.
Tim Ballard: [01:05:53] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:53] Interesting.
Tim Ballard: [01:05:54] So that became our model. We did that in 2014, so defined. We need to do this everywhere. We're in 26 countries, we need to be in 126 countries, empowering law enforcement and setting up that deterrent everywhere. So travelers stop traveling, traffickers stop trafficking. We believe it's possible, but the problem is right now -- I go back again. I love history and I go to history -- how did slavery and is legalized form end in the 19th century? How did it end? Did Abraham Lincoln just raise his hand one day and say after 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade, "I'm going to end this." No, I love him. He did what he could do. He did the right thing when he could do it, given the circumstances, but what happened was the people got loud, the abolitionist movement in the 19th century -- again, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin after stumbling upon slavery and saying, "What is going on?" Lincoln even admitted when he met Harriet Beecher Stowe for the first time in the White House during the war, he said, "So you're the lady that wrote the book that started this war." Even he recognized the people got so loud that the government had to move. The government had to act, and that's the piece we're missing right now. The model has been proven, but we have to get every country clamoring for that, asking for that, screaming for that solution. And then the resources will be put in place. And that's where I get frustrated.
[01:07:14] Like, look, what's happening right now. I'm not going to get into the argument, the whole debate with the riot. I'm just using it as an example, but governments are shifting now. People are getting so loud that they're shifting and we're going to see changes. Again right or wrong, I'm not going to get into that, but I would love to see someday that happens for child rape victims. I'd like to see something so loud in every country that we have riots and people screaming because that's how the abolitionists took care of it in the 19th century. We need to become modern-day abolitionists from modern-day slavery. And that's why we're grateful for you, Jordan, and people who were willing to talk about it. Because until people get loud, we won't be able to actually implement that model. But once they're loud, the tools are in place and we can end this. Does that make sense?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:56] It does. Yeah. You know, it does. There needs to be political will, especially if we don't know about it. There's going to be multiple steps, right? First people have to know about this -- which I would imagine it's then a short jump for them to be enraged enough to say, wait a minute. All we need to do is make it tougher for these guys to do this. Or we need to just be a little bit more stringent, checking parents coming in with kids. Their papers are legit, or we need a database internationally. That's not something that's subject to corrupt officials entering somebody in for 500 bucks. Like there's going to have to be something like that because it's not impossible. I would imagine a lot of the kids that are trafficked to the United States are brought over -- well, actually, how are they brought in? Are they flown in? Are they trafficked over the desert?
Tim Ballard: [01:08:38] Everything. So they are flown in false passports, they love that game or legit passports that are then stolen once they get here. And then they're put to work as enslaved labor or sex trafficking. Also, the Southern border is a major trafficking route where they can just walk across with nothing. And that gets into an issue that shouldn't be political but gets politicized about how you find these kids. I worked for 12 years as an undercover operator on the border. That's where I was stationed in Calexico, California. And it's all about moving traffic to get the kids, forcing them into a port of entry because that's where the operators and the officers are trained to identify where children are -- that's how we rescue the kids. But when it's us free and open and the traffickers just at will to bring these kids in. And once they get in it's -- I mean, we helped the rescue, a little girl who was smuggled in from Mexico, smuggled in through a barrier, less part, just through the desert, taken to New York City between the ages of 12 and 17 years old -- in New York City, this will just in the last eight years, she was raped over 60,000 times.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:41] I can't even wrap my head around that number.
Tim Ballard: [01:09:43] I mean, they take this girl in New York City. She's now testifying against her traffickers.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:47] Good. Oh, my God. That's great.
Tim Ballard: [01:09:19] She's got them all locked up and Homeland Security Investigations, my former agency, is working awesome on that case. But what happens is they bring them here and they just have these clients lined up. And they just put it in a car in the morning and they drive her to this house, this hotel, this bar, and she's raped. I mean, easily 15 to 20 times within a 24-hour period. And she's told you have to go in there. If you're not out in 30 minutes, you're not going to get food. So you can go finish off this guy in 30 minutes or less or whatever. I think it's actually 15 minutes. I mean, and this is the life of thousands, tens of thousands of children in the United States right now.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:23] Oh, God, how do you, how do you even -- I was going to ask if you'd ever rescued anybody who was like 18, 19, 20 who's like life was that since six, seven, eight years old. How do you even begin to come out of that?
Tim Ballard: [01:10:35] It's so, so hard. You know, when we rescue the kids that are younger, they're like, "Thank you," then it's this emotional thing and hopefully it hasn't gone so far that the rewiring, and the healing doesn't take as long. But to your point of the older people, yes, they're usually in the net. You know, when we do a rescue operation, we find them too. And they're the ones that I'm most worried about because they're 18 now. They don't have to come to our aftercare home. And Stockholm syndrome is a very real thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:03] Sure.
Tim Ballard: [01:11:03] They'll stand by their trafficker, the same guy who kidnapped them when they were 10 years old and has been forcing them to be raped tens of thousands of times through their childhood. But now they're 18, 19, 20, and they're standing by and we're the bad guys. So it just breaks your heart and you're like, "Please, I can't make you come but please, here's our number. This is open to you." And some do, but too often, they don't, they become traffickers themselves.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:27] Oh, yeah. I can see that. I almost -- I hate to say sympathize, but I can understand why that would be the thing that would happen to you. Because a decade in the life of somebody who's 18 years old and it's the only life they know, and now they have to survive and make money, and they're completely numb and traumatized -- again, I'm obviously, not excusing that, but I understand why that's the avenue that they choose to take. It's the only business that they know.
Tim Ballard: [01:11:49] Absolutely. That's why I am a huge advocate for not criminalizing prostitution.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:55] Really interesting.
Tim Ballard: [01:11:56] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:56] Okay.
Tim Ballard: [01:11:57] Yeah, because if I'm not for decriminalizing the sex trade. You know this is a big debate right now. Even in New York, they're trying to decriminalize the whole thing, the rights of sex workers, and so forth I'm not if I'm not for that, because that just creates child sex hubs. These traffickers are bad guys. They need to go to jail. And some legislators in this country and others want to decriminalize them. Let them be legal pimps because they're just helping these adult sex workers.
[01:12:21] I know the truth. I've worked undercover against these guys. They will sell the children too. They just won't tell you about it. So now you're going to legitimize their business. They'll let you into the adult section of the brothel, but they're never going to take you to the stable downstairs or in the basement, or frankly, spread across 20 hotels in the city where there are 10-year-olds and 11-year-olds who they can sell for double what they're getting for the adult sex workers.
[01:12:44] So I'm very much a proponent of decriminalizing those prostitutes, those sex workers, they should not -- because you don't know their past. You don't know their past, you don't know what's going on, but I do not agree with this current trend. Because kids will get hurt. You know, I'm libertarian in many ways. You know, if you want to choose to do that, that's your choice. But if that choice creates the opportunity for thousands of children to be raped, no, I'm not going to stand with you on that. But it's a debate going on in the nation right now and through the world. Amnesty International came out a year or two ago and said we were all for legalizing the sex trade everywhere. And it's like, children would be raped. Don't do this. You can't do this. Children have to be put first.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:25] Yeah. That's a complicated issue. I really don't know enough about it but obviously, you've seen the inner workings of how these industries work and it's almost like. Some things are safe and some things are unsafe -- it's like almost, there's almost like a drug analogy here too. Like some things can be legalized in a safe way that doesn't create more risk, but other things are just too damn dangerous.
Tim Ballard: [01:13:47] Exactly. It's that kind of debate and it's complex. It is very complex for sure.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:51] Well, Tim, thank you so much. This has been. Incredible story. Obviously, you're an incredible guy. How many kids do you have now? I'm afraid to ask.
Tim Ballard: [01:13:58] I know. We had a prenup, you know, unwritten. Six kids -- was at my wife. We both came from six. She wanted six. I said fine. If that's what it takes to marry you so you can get six. And then these two kids came along.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:09] Okay.
Tim Ballard: [01:14:10] And then we got those two. That was funny is while we were going through the adoption process, defining all science, somehow my wife got pregnant. So now we're sitting at nine, Jordan. Fortunately, nine kids.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:23] Wow. Well, that's -- yeah, okay, that's a lot of kids. That's a lot of kids. So you have a job, more than a full-time job and nine kids and your wife, I assume, has no free time whatsoever.
Tim Ballard: [01:14:36] No free time whatsoever, but we're happy.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:39] Yeah. That's incredible, man. Thanks again for doing this. This has just been such an enlightening and incredible story. It leaves you some hope in what sounds like an almost just a hopeless situation.
Tim Ballard: [01:14:50] We believe there is hope. And we hope to have that flag of not just awareness, but there's a solution when we think we're onto it. So thank you Jordan, for being willing to even listen to this, because I know it's just so hard to listen. And to the audience, thank you for not turning us off and listening to this whole thing, because we need you. We need all of you.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:10] So I told you guys that this story was intense. Just the story about him promising Gardy's father that he'll go and get him back. To this day, Tim wears a bracelet that says Gardy on it. It's got his name on his wrist. So he's got a special place in his heart for this other man's son. I think it's amazing. I know if my son were missing, it would destroy me. I don't even want to think about it. I don't know how I could put myself back together. Unfortunately, in this slavery game, kids are worth more than adults in the sex trafficking business, especially, which is just disgusting. I can just imagine being a child in this situation. And the only adults in your life want to sell you or buy you and rape you, it's just heartbreaking. It's just horrifying.
[01:15:48] Afterwards, we talked a little bit, Tim and I, and it's creepy. Super Bowl Sunday is the largest trafficking day of the year, which is so weird to me. I just hope that some kind of coincidence, but it just sounds so gross. He used to work with ICE -- by the way, I asked him, you know, kind of about border walls and ICE and things like that. And what does he think about this? "ICE does more to combat pedophiles than any agency," which makes sense if you think about it because they're the ones trained to spot trafficking. They're the first line of defense. I thought that it was interesting that ICE does more to combat pedophiles than any agency. They intercept a lot of child pornography. They rescue kids. When Tim Ballard worked there, he was crawling through tunnels on the Mexican border. I mean, this guy, I told you he was like a superhero man. Underground Railroad is the name. I did ask him about that, because I thought, "Okay. You know, it seems maybe a little unwoke to be doing that." A white dude using that name might be a little sensitive for some people, whether we agree with that sentiment or not, he actually takes a lot of inspiration from the original. And if you read his book, if you're interested to do so, the bulk of the book is drawing parallels towards slavery here in America, in the Americas, and the current slave trade right now. So it's a fascinating region in itself. It's just unbelievable how common the practices are.
[01:16:53] Links to all of Tim's stuff will be on our website in the show notes. Please do use our website links if you buy the book, it does help support the show worksheets, so you can review this episode. Those are in the show notes. And transcripts for the episodes are in the show notes as well. There's a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube.
[01:17:10] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships, using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't do it later. Do it now. The number one mistake you can make is postponing this, not digging the well before you get thirsty, build your network before you need it, even if you think it's too late, even if it means starting from scratch for you. These drills take just a few minutes a day. This stuff is crucial. It's been helpful with everything from business and personal life. I highly recommend it. Again, it's all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course. By the way, most of the guests subscribe to the course and the newsletter. So come join us, you'll be in smart company. In fact, why not reach out to Tim Ballard and tell him you enjoyed this episode of the show. Show guests love hearing from you as always. You never know what might shake out of it. Speaking of building relationships, you can always reach out and/or follow me on social. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. And you can add me on LinkedIn. I'm very active there these days.
[01:18:04] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. And this episode was produced by Jen Harbinger, engineered by Jase Sanderson. The ads were fun because of Peter Oldring. Show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan Viola. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Our advice and opinions and those of our guests are their own. And yeah, I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. So if you know somebody who's interested in this particular type of subject or esoteric things, they probably never hear about it, please share this episode with them. And I think the more people that know about this, the better -- I know it's quite heartbreaking, but this is one of those things where there is more awareness. The more political will, you can get behind it, we can get behind it and we can start to eradicate this problem instead of just ignoring this problem. So I do hope you find something great in every episode. So please share the show with those you love. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
Dennis Rodman: [01:19:08] There's a lot of stories I can tell you. I got a lot of stories. I can tell you all about a lot of things.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:19:12] I know your dad who had bounced, I guess, when you were three, showed up to a game once.
Dennis Rodman: [01:19:17] I was coming in, I was a little late, I was five minutes late for practice. I was finally getting into the gate and this black guy who runs up to my truck and is knocking at my window. I said, "What do you want, man?" "I just want to tell you, Dennis, I'm your father." I said, "Great." I said, "You're going to have to wait. I'm late for practice."
Jordan Harbinger: [01:19:31] Did you even believe it?
Dennis Rodman: [01:19:32] Oh, hell, no. I thought it was just another fan trying to be cute.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:19:35] There's this incident where you go to the court in Detroit, and you're getting the parking lot with his gun in your lap, and then you just fall asleep.
Dennis Rodman: [01:19:42] I didn't like being famous.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:19:44] You didn't like it?
Dennis Rodman: [01:19:45] I didn't like it. So I just drove with a gun and just sat there and put it in my lap. It was loaded. I decided to turn on the radio and it was Pearl Jam playing. And I fell asleep. I think I'm a superhuman because what has transpired in my life to now -- what do you think if I dive out of a plane, no parachute, look up to God, and hope for that he catches. I want to see my life flashed in front of me. What do you think there'd be somebody to catch me? I've been thinking about that. I've been thinking about it for a long time, just jumping off a plane, no parachute and just dive out and watch my life flash in front of me. What did I do wrong? How can I fix this? How can I be happy? Does somebody catch me?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:20:25] For more from Dennis Rodman, including marrying himself, the pros and cons of fame, and risky birthday toast to Kim Jong-un over in North Korea, check out episode 258 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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