Did you know that there are more people in slavery right now than there were when slavery was legal? And millions of those are children who have been trafficked into sexual slavery.
Sound of Freedom, the new film written by Alejandro Monteverde and Rod Barr and directed by Monteverde, stars Jim Caviezel as Timothy Ballard, a real-life figure who quit his job as a federal agent to dedicate himself to rescuing children who have fallen victim to human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Coming to theaters on July 4th, Angel Studios (the same studio behind the popular series on the life of Jesus, The Chosen), and the filmmakers would like this incredible true story to reach as many as possible. In order to meet this goal, a "pay-it-forward" system has been set up to give people a chance to purchase a movie ticket for someone who cannot afford one. It's called the #2MillionFor2Million campaign in honor of the two million children trafficked around the world. Please go to Angel.com/sof for details on paying it forward or benefiting from a free ticket.
Jim Caviezel as Tim Ballard in "Sound of Freedom." © 2023 Angel Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Sound of Freedom starts in Honduras where Roberto Aguilar (Jose Zuniga) and his two children, Rocio (Cristal Aparicio) and Miguel (Lucas Avila) welcome an attractive woman, Giselle (Yessica Borroto), into their home. She's offering a chance for both children to participate in an audition that could give them a leg up in life as child models. Only, when Roberto goes to pick up his kids at the appointed time, they're nowhere to be found. Thus begins his nightmare of empty beds.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security agent Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel), dedicates himself to taking pedophiles off the street. Going home to his large family including his wife, Katherine, (Mira Sorvino), he feels dissatisfied that he hasn't done enough to save children from being exploited.
Through interrogation of the last guy he arrested, Tim discovers there whereabouts of some missing kids and apprehends a trafficker trying to cross the border from Mexico. That's when Miguel comes into his life and changes him forever. As Miguel tells Tim his story, Ballard learns that Miguel and his sister, Rocio, got separated in Columbia after being trafficked from their native Honduras.
Lucas Avila and Jim Caviezel in "Sound of Freedom." © 2023 Angel Studios. All Rights Reserved.
There's a problem, though. His superiors won't give him the go-ahead to pursue the lead internationally and find Rocio. After consulting his wife, he quits his job and heads to Columbia, embarking on an epic search for one young girl in the midst of hostile territory and unimaginable odds.
Cristal Aparisio as Rocio in "Sound of Freedom." © 2023 Angel Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Sound of Freedom plays like an action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat at the same time as being a drama about Tim's first foray into rescuing trafficked kids. Caviezel's acting is spot on as he expresses Tim's horror at the reality these victims have endured and his determination to liberate them. Lucas Avila as Miguel is magnificent at conveying the intense emotion of a trafficking victim coupled with the innocence of a child who just wants his sister back. A troubling aspect of the film, though, is that it makes integration back into "normal" life after being exploited look too easy.
"God's children are not for sale," is what Tim says when he's asked why he puts himself in harm's way to rescue these children. When you come out of the film, you might ask yourself, "What can I do to help?"
One of the best things someone can do is be informed about human trafficking and other social issues. A great place to begin information-gathering is on the website of Tim Ballard's organization.
In 2013, Tim and Katherine Ballard founded O.U.R., Operation Underground Railroad, as a private foundation dedicated to rescuing children from human trafficking. Their organization continues the work Tim started and that depicted in this movie. Unlike in the film, aftercare for victims is one of the four pillars of the organization's efforts.
If all you do after seeing this film is pray for an end to child sex trafficking, it has provided one more intercessor for these children of God. If you are being called to do more, O.U.R. offers many ways to be of service to the efforts to rescue God's children. Visit them at ourrescue.org.