History, Nonfiction

Slave Stealers, by Timothy Ballard


Remember these words: Operation Underground Railroad. Visit their site, donate to their cause, and find interviews with their founder, Tim Ballard.

If you feel like modern-day heroes do not exist anymore, look no further. They do.

Timothy Ballard was working as a special agent for Homeland Security when he was inspired to take a very brave step: leave a secure government job and start a nonprofit. Why? Because a government agency has restrictions that a nonprofit doesn’t.

Since 2013, Ballard and his organization have recruited former police officers and agents to rescue thousands of trafficked children around the world. Not only do they rescue them, but they house them in aftercare facilities to help them get the psychological, medical, and emotional help they need to heal, and to gain skills and education so they can proceed with their lives. When possible, they reunite them with their families. No matter what, O.U.R. stays in touch with all of the kids they rescue. And let’s define “kids.” These trafficked children could’ve ended up in that terrible situation at any age, from infancy to their teens. Some were sold by their very own families.

It’s as heart-breaking as it sounds, but it is something about which we need to be aware. After all, change doesn’t happen when we’re comfortable. In case you’re nervous, know that Tim Ballard is very good at shielding his readers from the “worst of the worst,” while still reminding us of its existence.

Meanwhile, he also spends time writing about the life of a Civil War era slave named Harriet Jacobs–her escape attempts, the abuse she endured, the unfairness that abounded in her life, and her minor triumphs. That time period is getting further and further away. It needs to not be forgotten.

Slave Stealers should be required reading for everyone, especially for those of us who enjoy Life’s everyday comforts and luxuries. The accounts will both outrage you and make you grateful. It will make you feel like you want to do something, even if it is just donating to O.U.R., supporting those heroes who risk their lives to save these kids from hell on earth.

9/10 Stars

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