Dear Salvo friends,

The film Sound of Freedom has sparked a national discussion on child trafficking, thanks to the persistence of producer Eduardo Verástegui, Angel Studios, and many others who worked tirelessly to bring the story to the American public. The film centers on a Colombian rescue operation to retrieve trafficked children spearheaded by former Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Tim Ballard.

When Verástegui first learned of Ballard’s work eight years ago, he said, he couldn’t sleep for days. “What can I do to end child trafficking?” he asked himself.

Then he answered his own question. “I’m a filmmaker. I have a weapon of mass instruction.” Movies can move people. So, he set out to make a movie to bring world attention to what was happening to millions of the world’s children.

The movie was finished in 2020, but major studios turned it down. Netflix, Amazon, every studio Verástegui approached for three years said no. At some point, he literally prayed for an angel to come and rescue the film. Then, in spring 2023, Angel Studios came along and said yes. And so, with a crowdfunded marketing budget, Sound of Freedom opened on July 4th – and outperformed every other movie, including one from one of the biggest production companies in the world (Disney) and one of the biggest film franchises of recent decades (Indiana Jones).

But it’s not the performance of the movie that matters, said Verástegui, it’s the topic. Thankfully, people agree and have turned out, despite mainstream media outlets eschewing it early on as something tied to a QAnon conspiracy.

Kevin Sorbo recently pointed out, drily, that media outlets defended Netflix’s Cuties, which overtly sexualized little girls, but have criticized Sound of Freedom. And Salvo’s Katie Breckenridge has also reported on credible evidence of rampant pedophilia in Hollywood:

Caroline Heldman, a professor at Occidental College, said one of the reasons we don’t speak up about sexual abuse is that “it reveals things about our culture that we don’t want to know.” She continued, “If we don’t speak out about it, we are part of the problem, because we are contributing to a culture that normalizes this” and “by normalizing something, it becomes invisible as a problem.”

Salvo has consistently maintained that there is a knowable design for human sexuality and that when we deviate from it, real harm is done. And usually, the harm falls hardest on those who are most vulnerable – the children. People think child trafficking happens somewhere else, said Verástegui, but it’s everywhere, especially in our own backyard. The U.S. is the top world consumer of child sex and pornography in the world, and Mexico is the number one provider of children being trafficked to supply the demand.

If you have not seen Sound of Freedom, I hope you’ll make plans to see it and support it soon. Also, check out Operation Toussaint, a 2018 documentary that follows Tim Ballard’s rescue operation in Haiti. You’ll find it here, ad-free, on YouTube, and here, also free, on Amazon Prime.

Pornography is a $150 billion business, and it is a major driver of child sex trafficking. Thankfully, a discussion has been launched. Let us keep it going.

Terrell Clemmons
Deputy Editor, Salvo

-- Now Online: Salvo 65, Summer 2023 --

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