One week ago, on July 4th, a new movie hit the theaters called Sound of Freedom. This may be one of the first times that Sarah’s Home is encouraging our friends and supporters to watch a movie and to encourage others to see it, too. It isn’t a fun, entertaining movie, not your usual Summer block buster. In fact, it is emotionally heavy. But it may be the most important movie to be released this year, perhaps this decade. Why?
Sound of Freedom is about child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse material (CSAM). It tells the real-life story of former Department of Homeland Security (DHHS) agent Tim Ballard. Working with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force as an undercover agent, Tim is burdened with the cruelty, the unspeakable brutality, these children are exposed to, and he reaches a tipping point. Compelled to do more, he finds himself restricted by DHHS and, with the support of his wife and children, he resigns from DHHS so that he is able to transition from battling child sex trafficking and child sex trafficking tourism, to actually saving children who are being trafficked to the US from Honduras by the Cartels, which is beyond the scope of the DHHS. When asked why he has chosen this path, he responds, “Because God’s children are not for sale.”
The movie is extremely well made. It is distributed by Angel Studios (who also distributed The Chosen), and stars Jim Caviezel, who starred in The Passion of Christ). Though the subject matter is child sex trafficking, it never shows the actual sexual assault, and handles the content carefully.
Child sex trafficking occurs all over the world. The recruitment and methodology may look different in each country…the horrors are the same. Though this movie focuses on Honduras, The US Department of Justice reports that;
“The United States is one of the most active sex trafficking countries in the world, where exploitation of trafficking victims occurs in cities, suburban and rural areas…Technology advances, in particular the Internet and mobile devices, have facilitated the sex trafficking of children by providing a convenient worldwide marketing channel. Individuals can now use websites and social media to advertise, schedule, and purchase sexual encounters with minors. The internet and mobile devices also allow pimps and traffickers to reach a larger clientele base than in the past, which may expose victims to greater risks and dangers.” https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/child-sex-trafficking
World Vision International reports that “The share of children among detected trafficking victims has tripled, while the share of boys has increased five times over the past 15 years”. https://www.wvi.org/stories/child-protection/child-trafficking-what-you-need-know
The United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking 2022 Annual Report noted,
“Our world is at a critical, unprecedented juncture in which CSAM is at an all-time high. In 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received approximately 29 million reports of CSAM compared to approximately 17 million in 2019. Similarly, from January to September of 2021, Instagram removed 4,797,100 posts for child nudity and sexual exploitation—1.5 million more than in the entire year of 2020. As these numbers have grown, so too have tips specifically related to child sex trafficking, up 36 percent from 11,798 in 2019 to 16,032 in 2021. While we acknowledge that reports of child sex trafficking are lower than those of other related crimes, research indicates that actual victimization is likely much higher. We believe that these numbers are not only relevant but critically important because our nation’s immediate responses to CSAM today will determine the trajectory of the worldwide sexual exploitation of children for generations to come.” https://www.state.gov/united-states-advisory-council-on-human-trafficking-annual-report-2022/#forms
We recommend this movie, as painful as it is, because it is our prayer that it will ignite a movement, a national conversation, about the prevalence and dangers of child sex trafficking. We pray it will be a catalyst to all who watch it, stirring the heart of this nation to end sex trafficking, to combat pornography (which fuels trafficking), to pray for agents/agencies combating and rescuing the children so brutally exploited (pray for God’s protection over the hearts, souls and minds for law enforcement who have to view this evil), and to support those who walk beside survivors in the recovery and healing process – especially Sarah’s Home and eventually Daniel Academy. Why?
Our sovereign God often uses arts and entertainment to reveal Biblical Truths through redemptive themes. This movie reveals the darkness of child trafficking and the faith of one man to overcome evil, to rescue, to save the lost. We pray more than anything, that this movie will be a catalyst in another movement – that this movie, the testimonies of those involved in its production and Tim Caviezel, will point many to Christ and His redemptive story –
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:4, 12)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
“Because God’s children are not for sale.”
Volunteer Sarah’s Home (Also volunteers as AoH, in partnership with Shared Hope International)
Fellow, Colson Center for Christian Worldview