Local Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) representatives are asking the local communities to Rise Up and Get Loud about Human Trafficking Awareness on July 30. They are asking businesses and residents to wear yellow and blue, and decorate their houses, cars, and businesses with yellow and blue balloons and streamers to show support of this awareness.
The color yellow represents O.U.R., and blue represents child abuse awareness and is internationally recognized as the universal color for human trafficking prevention.
Residents are also asked to post something on social media about the topic of human trafficking. At 6 pm on Thursday, there will be a live stream broadcast from O.U.R Founder and CEO Tim Ballard. Each day for the ten days leading up to this live event, members of #RiseUp posted ideas of how people can #RiseUp against human trafficking on social media.
For more than ten years, Ballard worked as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security. During that time, he worked on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force as an undercover agent for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team. Ballard left the department in 2013 and founded the non-profit organization Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). In 2015, he testified before the United States Congress, and he has briefed a number of world leaders on the issue of child sex trafficking, including President Donald J. Trump. He was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning U.S.-Mexico border security in relation to child sex trafficking.
Child/human trafficking is not just a conspiracy theory. It is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world. Since COVID-19 hit, there has been a 90.46% increase in CyberTipline reports between January and June 2020 versus the same time period in 2019, according to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). And the numbers are still rising.
“This is not some small thing,” said Ballard. “This is the fastest growing enterprise in the world, the trafficking of people, of children for exploitation. It’s time to get loud. Kids can’t protest. They can’t riot. They can’t march in the streets. And so we can’t hear from them. But we need to stand up and be their voice once and for all. And we have an opportunity to do it. Thursday, July 30 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day for the whole world. And we are going to get loud that day, and we need you to join us. We need to stand tall, stand brave, stand courageously for the children in the face of these societal changes. We have to make sure they have a position; that they are being considered. Because so far this year, they have not been considered.”
Ballard said that people can obtain more instruction on how they can “get loud” on July 30by texting “Help them” to 51555. Those who do will receive text messages with further instruction on how to join in the cause, Ballard said.
“Together, we can be heard loud and clear that we are a community of #Abolitionists, and we will not back down!” said Moapa Valley resident Amy Bailey Warburton. “Clark County is the second highest trafficking area in the nation. Many traffickers and those being trafficked live seemingly ordinary lives to the untrained eye. Would you know what to look for in order to assist someone in need?”
If you would like to help this amazing group of people as they work to abolish human trafficking, you can purchase items from the O.U.R. store. Watch Operation Toussaint on Amazon Prime. Donate to O.U.R. Moapa Valley Break the Chains. And show your colors with yellow and blue decorations and clothing.
Other agencies involved in abolishing human trafficking and helping those in crisis include: The Embracing Project (702) 463-6929; Rape Crisis Center (RISE) specific program for trafficked adults/kids (702) 385-2153; Refuge for Women; St. Judes Ranch Healing Center now being built to service sex-trafficked kids (702) 294-7100.
“All of these agencies take monetary donations,” said Moapa Valley resident, Erika Whitmore. “But they also need hygiene kits, aftercare kits, blankets, and clothes.”
Join with caring and compassionate people all over the world on Thursday, July 30, and Rise Up for Children.
For more information, visit ourrescue.org.