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In The Trenches
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In The Trenches

Author: Tim Ballard

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In The Trenches tells the stories of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.): an organization dedicated to rescuing victims of human trafficking and exploitation worldwide. O.U.R. works with national and international governments to provide cutting-edge forensic tools and training, develop intel, go undercover, carry out rescue efforts, and conduct aftercare for the survivors of human trafficking.

O.U.R. Founder and CEO, and In The Trenches host Tim Ballard will explore these operations with special guests who are taking bold action in the fight to end human trafficking and exploitation. From undercover operators and aftercare specialists to survivors and advocates, these fighters will share behind-the-scenes accounts from around the world.

O.U.R. exists to shine a light worldwide on the global issue of human trafficking and exploitation. From O.U.R.’s inception in 2013 to now, O.U.R. has assisted in the arrest of thousands of predators, and in the rescue of thousands of brave survivors who are now on the path to healing. We will not stop until zero humans are sold or exploited.

The stories told in In The Trenches are a strong weapon in this war against modern-day slavery and human trafficking.To help support O.U.R. and rescue and care for more children, please head to https://www.ourrescue.org/give-now and thanks for listening.
7 Episodes
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Matt Cooper joins Tim today as they dive deeper into the mind space of an undercover operator. We intentionally go to the darkest corners of the globe to rescue children from trafficking. They are the places no one else would go but a lot of what our operators see are things that no one should ever have to witness, let alone experience.  Tim reflects back on his experiences when he was first sent to undercover school, something he never sought to do. There isn’t anything inherent in police officers that makes them good undercover operators. They must be trained to respond quickly and do whatever it takes to really play the role and dig into a trafficking ring. Tim and Matt share how that can really mess with a person.  Going undercover is a massive responsibility to take on board, and it also takes a huge mental and emotional toll on our operators. Matt and Tim talk about how they both deal with the after-effects of an operation and why coming home to their families is often a brutal reminder of everything they have just witnessed.  O.U.R. has rescued hundreds of kids in Haiti, most of whom were made victims by the horrific earthquake in 2010. Tim tells the story of a little girl who was forced into trafficking after losing her family. She never believed that anyone would come to her rescue but exactly 8 years later, we walked through that door and brought hope where there was no hope.  This work is never done and Operation Underground Railroad needs your help to rescue as many children as possible. To help us carry out more operations, please head to ourrescue.org/give-now and thanks for listening.   In The Trenches Podcast: - Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/in-the-trenches/id1682836532 - Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0b7lKGYKVG192vcRE88mwp - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/podcast   Shop the O.U.R. merch worn in this episode: - Tim and Matt's Snapback Cap: https://store.ourrescue.org/products/our-rescue-snapback - Tim's T-shirt: https://store.ourrescue.org/products/the-hidden-war-tee - Matt's T-shirt: https://store.ourrescue.org/products/freedomflaggreentee   Want to get more involved with Operation Underground Railroad? - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/ - Donate: https://www.ourrescue.org/give-now - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ourrescue/ - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ourrescue - Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/ourrescue - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/operation-underground-railroad/ - TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ourrescue   Please note that while we strive to present accurate and up-to-date information, we may occasionally make errors or present facts that are not entirely precise. We encourage our listeners to do their own research and fact-checking, and we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.   #colombia #children #abuse #humantraffickingstories #undergroundrailroad #podcast #awareness #ourrescue #timballardSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tim and Matt Cooper talk today about coming face to face with human traffickers over the years and how they don’t necessarily look like the stereotypical creep you’d imagine.  One of the challenging aspects of this line of work, and a reason why child exploitation and human trafficking are so prevalent, is that there is no profile for a paedophile. You can’t easily identify who they could be because a lot of the time, they look like your friend, your neighbour, your pastor or your teacher.  Tim and Matt talk about the shocking fact that a lot of the “successful” human trafficking networks have a female who takes care of the victims. These women have usually worked in the sex industry themselves and they use their knowledge to turn it on other victims of trafficking. This is another reason why female undercover operatives are so vital because they are able to build trust with the female perpetrators more so than men.   Reflecting on an operation where the perpetrator was acting strange, trying to determine if Tim was an undercover agent, Tim shares how frightening it is to see the lengths people will go to in order to engage in this sickening behaviour.  Tim shares a sobering warning that some of what we are seeing pushed today in political and social movements is actually trying to normalize sexually deviant behavior with children. He talks about the policies that are being proposed and enacted are the exact policies the paedophiles have been pushing for half a century. Let this be a further urge to parents, grandparents and carers that it’s time to wake up and not allow our children to be caught in the child trap.    This work is never done and Operation Underground Railroad needs your help to rescue as many children as possible. To help us carry out more operations, please head to ourrescue.org/give-now and thanks for listening.   In The Trenches Podcast: - Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/in-the-trenches/id1682836532 - Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0b7lKGYKVG192vcRE88mwp - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/podcast   Shop the O.U.R. merch worn in this episode: Matt's hat: https://store.ourrescue.org/products/...     Want to get more involved with Operation Underground Railroad? - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/ - Donate: https://www.ourrescue.org/give-now - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ourrescue/ - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ourrescue - Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/ourrescue - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/operation-underground-railroad/ - TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ourrescue   Please note that while we strive to present accurate and up-to-date information, we may occasionally make errors or present facts that are not entirely precise. We encourage our listeners to do their own research and fact-checking, and we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.   #colombia #children #abuse #humantraffickingstories #undergroundrailroad #podcast #awareness #ourrescue #timballardSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Special guest JC Holt, who heads up O.U.R.’s domestic projects, joins Tim today to talk about the incredible work being done to fight child crimes in the United States. Shockingly, the United States is in the top three destination countries for human trafficking, which means there is a lot of work to be done on the domestic front.  With a background in law enforcement, JC has changed the game in terms of what we’re able to achieve in the United States. He talks about his ability to interface with other police officers and how this has been extremely beneficial in taking a coordinated approach to operations. Once O.U.R. started working with a few law enforcement agencies and they saw how quickly things were getting done, the phone hasn't stopped ringing. Tim and JC talk about being able to bypass the bureaucracy that exists within government departments, meaning that resources are distributed and perpetrators are arrested at an accelerated pace.  The resources required to fight this fight are expensive and with the ‘defund the police’ era, budget cuts make it even more difficult. This is why O.U.R. is proud to say that we fund the police. JC and Tim talk about some of the resources we have provided to help rescue children all across America, including mobile labs to action warrants and digital forensics on the scene, over 60 K9 dogs across the United States and digital extraction software to unlock devices that these amazing dogs uncover.  JC talks about the hard work and dedication that goes into training the K9 dogs and how they have contributed to the arrest of hundreds of perpetrators in the United States, and as a result of that, helped countless victims.  This work is never done and Operation Underground Railroad needs your help to rescue as many children as possible. To help us carry out more operations, please head to ourrescue.org/give-now and thanks for listening.   In The Trenches Podcast: - Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/in-the-trenches/id1682836532 - Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0b7lKGYKVG192vcRE88mwp - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/podcast   Shop the O.U.R. merch worn in this episode: - Tim and Matt's Snapback Cap: https://store.ourrescue.org/products/our-rescue-snapback - Tim's T-shirt: https://store.ourrescue.org/products/the-hidden-war-tee - Matt's T-shirt: https://store.ourrescue.org/products/freedomflaggreentee   Want to get more involved with Operation Underground Railroad? - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/ - Donate: https://www.ourrescue.org/give-now - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ourrescue/ - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ourrescue - Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/ourrescue - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/operation-underground-railroad/ - TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ourrescue   Please note that while we strive to present accurate and up-to-date information, we may occasionally make errors or present facts that are not entirely precise. We encourage our listeners to do their own research and fact-checking, and we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Matt Cooper joins Tim to reflect on Operation Triple Take, O.U.R.’s first mission to Colombia which spun into a huge roundup of traffickers from the entire region and the rescue of over 50 people, most of whom were children. Tim tells the story of how the operation began, starting with a conversation with a trafficker named Feugo on the beach at Playa Blanca. Within minutes of talking, Feugo offered not only to supply children for a party but to go into business together to build a child sex hotel.  Seeing this offer as an opportunity to rescue even more children, Operation Triple Take lured traffickers from the entire region, including Miss Cartagena, famous in town for recruiting kids to her modelling agency. In reality, these young children were being sold.  Tim talks about a particular survivor who now works and advocates for O.U.R. to help rescue more victims of child trafficking. The fact that these children are taking matters into their own hands is an incredible testament to the success of the operation. Tim triumphantly talks about the prosecutions that have now been finalised and the many lives that have been changed forever.  Sadly, one of the greatest threats to children right now, aside from traffickers, are people who disparage others in the nonprofit industry. Tim and Matt talk about the unexpected battlefield at home fuelled by politics and inflated egos and how they are determined to keep fighting for the children, despite the lies and deceit being spread about Operation Underground Railroad.   Want to get more involved with Operation Underground Railroad? - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/ - Donate: https://www.ourrescue.org/give-now - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ourrescue/ - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ourrescue - Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/ourrescue - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/operation-underground-railroad/ - TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ourrescuePlease note that while we strive to present accurate and up-to-date information, we may occasionally make errors or present facts that are not entirely precise. We encourage our listeners to do their own research and fact-checking, and we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, Tim and Matt are joined by Joel Pabelico, an investigator within the DA’s office in Riverside County. Joel has the very special assignment of being the handler of K9 Chewie, one of our K9 dogs that we sponsored to be trained with Jordan Detection K9. In this episode, Joel shares how K9s are trained to sniff out electronics in search warrants, and how a dog can be used to fight child crimes. Joel works predominantly in child sexual abuse material cases where suspects tend to hide illicit photos and videos on devices that are easily concealed. This includes USBs, SD cards and cell phones. So how does a dog smell out images of victimized children? ESDs, or electronic scent detection K9s, are trained to identify specific chemical odors that are present in digital devices. Joel talks us through the process of executing a search warrant with a K9, and gives examples of interesting behaviors that the dog will display when a particular scent has been detected.  Chewie and Joel were paired up on day one of training and he talks about their deep bond that can’t compare to any other type of relationship. K9 dogs like Chewie have been instrumental in many child crime rescues and Joel shares a notable case they cracked together in Riverside County involving a livestream. Make sure you check out Chewie’s Instagram account where Joel posts photos to commemorate these operations and spread awareness to help combat this type of crime.   LINKS: Chewie’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/k9_chewie/   Want to get more involved with Operation Underground Railroad? - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/ - Donate: https://www.ourrescue.org/give-now - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ourrescue/ - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OURrescue - Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/OURrescue - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/operation-underground-railroad/ - TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ourrescue Please note that while we strive to present accurate and up-to-date information, we may occasionally make errors or present facts that are not entirely precise. We encourage our listeners to do their own research and fact-checking, and we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Our first-ever employee, Matt Cooper, joins Tim today to share the reflections on the early days, starting with a crazy phone call and Matt leaving college to join Tim in Utah. Now 10 years and 150 employees later, Tim and Matt return to their first operation in Haiti, where they rescued 26 kids. Two of which Tim went on to adopt.  Back in those days, Operation Underground Railroad had just enough money to complete two operations, after which, their financial future was uncertain. All they knew was that they needed to rescue.  We talk about Operation Underground Railroad and how Tim had to fight another battle he didn’t know existed: bureaucracy and hypocrisy. There was also quite a lot of backlash around the use of the name “Underground Railroad” by white people. It was seen by some as being a racist act to use this name. Matt and Tim discuss how when the focus is on the rescue, it helps people to see what racism actually is and what it isn't. Reflecting on the details of that first rescue in Haiti, Tim and Matt talk about the operation uncovering a fake orphanage selling children into slavery, including a US citizen who was taken during a church service. Matt shares how he was thrown into the operation in ways he didn’t anticipate and the impact it still has on him today.  This work is never done and Operation Underground Railroad needs your help to rescue as many children as possible. To help us carry out more operations, please head to ourrescue.org/give-now and thanks for listening.   Want to get more involved with Operation Underground Railroad? - Website: https://www.ourrescue.org/ - Donate: https://www.ourrescue.org/give-now - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ourrescue/ - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OURrescue - Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/OURrescue - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/operation-underground-railroad/- TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ourrescue   Please note that while we strive to present accurate and up-to-date information, we may occasionally make errors or present facts that are not entirely precise. We encourage our listeners to do their own research and fact-checking, and we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In The Trenches tells the stories of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.): an organization dedicated to rescuing victims of human trafficking and exploitation worldwide. O.U.R. works with national and international governments to provide cutting-edge forensic tools and training, develop intel, go undercover, carry out rescue efforts, and conduct aftercare for the survivors of human trafficking. O.U.R. Founder and CEO, and In The Trenches host Tim Ballard will explore these operations with special guests who are taking bold action in the fight to end human trafficking and exploitation. From undercover operators and aftercare specialists to survivors and advocates, these fighters will share behind-the-scenes accounts from around the world. O.U.R. exists to shine a light worldwide on the global issue of human trafficking and exploitation. From O.U.R.’s inception in 2013 to now, O.U.R. has assisted in the arrest of thousands of predators, and in the rescue of thousands of brave survivors who are now on the path to healing. We will not stop until zero humans are sold or exploited. The stories told in In The Trenches are a strong weapon in this war against modern-day slavery and human trafficking.To help support O.U.R. and rescue and care for more children, please head to https://www.ourrescue.org/give-now and thanks for listening. Please note that while we strive to present accurate and up-to-date information, we may occasionally make errors or present facts that are not entirely precise. We encourage our listeners to do their own research and fact-checking, and we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Jan 15th
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