On December 10th, 2013 Special Agent Tim Ballard turned in his Homeland Security badge and resigned from his employment with the United States government. He had spent over a decade rescuing children from child sex tourism both domestically and overseas. Though his job was difficult, he was proud that his country was one of very few in the world who was actually doing anything about this problem. However, mired in red tape and bureaucracy, Tim left to begin saving the children that he saw falling out of the purview of the US government. These children constitute over 90% of the children lost to child sex slavery and he could do nothing to help them while in the employment of the US government.
This is a story about the lost children and the rescue team’s exploits as they investigate and liberate enslaved children from around the world.
Screenshots from the film:
Behind the scenes photos:
From The Producers/Directors:
This journey of making The Abolitionists, although more dangerous, draining and time consuming than any film we have ever made, has become an extremely personal story that is difficult to talk about. We have grown closer as a crew as well as with the rescue teams we follow. We are like family with those that have embarked on this journey together. The experiences we have shared as a crew, have often times been so emotionally overpowering that we don’t speak for days. We have held these trafficked children, look into their eyes and know that never again will we ever be involved with another film that will ever match the importance of the project we now find ourselves engaged in. We assisted in rescuing over 57 children as a result of OUR’s (Operation Underground Railroad) efforts. Seven traffickers have been removed from the streets and sent to prison… but that is only part of the story. In the ongoing operations, throughout the filming of the project, over 450 children have been rescued and 139 traffickers have be imprisoned.
Our footage is continually turned over to the police where it was used in various courts to replace the child’s testimony so they would never be forced to take the stand against their oppressors, saving these children additional emotional trauma.
We wanted to bring something new to the documentary category that people haven’t ever seen. We wanted to take the audience with us on the journey and never let go of them. We wanted the viewers to experience what we saw and felt in the moment and I believe we accomplished this in an entertaining and inspiring way.
We also knew going into it that we needed to make the film PG-13 so young moviegoers could be witness to what was happening all around them… to caution them and wake them up while not scaring audiences away from the theater due to the darkness of the subject matter. The goal was not to sicken people but rather to inform them and motivate them to do whatever they could do as individuals, within their own sphere of influence, to stop this plague of human trafficking.
This has been an emotional and spiritual journey, filled with miracles that we couldn’t not begin to count. We will always cherish and look back with gratitude that we were chosen to bring it to audiences everywhere.
Gerald R. Molen’s Thoughts:
In 1851, a young wife and mother named Harriet Beecher Stowe, furious at a political system that supported slavery, took pen to paper and began to write a series of stories that would change forever how Americans would view slavery. It was published as a novel in 1852 as Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. An executive order to proclaim the freedom of all slaves.
Sadly enough, in 2015, slavery still exists and in greater numbers than ever before. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in history and it continues to grow.
Throughout time, individuals like Ms. Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Martin Luther King and Oskar Schindler, have stood up for human rights at whatever the cost. Many giving their lives that others may be free from oppression.
The Abolitionists is the Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Schindler’s List for our generation. Our goal with this film is to open the world’s eyes to the epidemic of human and child sex trafficking.
I belie it’s no coincidence that this film comes almost twenty years after we released Schindler’s List. The men and women herein are simply modern-day abolitionists. Each of them with the same heartfelt mission as those before them: to liberate God’s children from slavery and oppression.
May we stand with, support them and together work to end slavery once and for all.
We all can do something.”
– GERALD R. MOLEN
Academy Award Winning Producer
“Schindler’s List” and “Jurassic Park”