Sound of Freedom Breaks Box Office Records, Shakes Woke Media

( – Never has a summer theater hit caused as much drama as the controversial new release, Sound of Freedom. The irony of the July 4th release date isn’t lost on viewers who understand the horrors of children and adults alike having their lives and freedoms ripped away from them as they are trafficked into futures of abuse in what can only be described as modern-day slavery.

Human trafficking is considered the third largest criminal industry on the planet, following right behind drug dealing and arms trafficking. Despite the size of this very real problem – one that is partially fueled by a frightening and distinct lack of knowledge and awareness – critics have chosen not to promote the movie as a critical tool, instead going as far as picking apart the fictionalized depiction of a true story, calling the concepts conspiracy theory, aligning the ideals presented with QAnon, and more.

Spoiler Alert: What It’s Really About

The movie itself is a depiction of the life of Tim Ballard, founder of a very real organization called Operation Underground Railroad. Ballard initially worked for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) where his primary focus was on locating and arresting individuals involved in the creation and distribution of illicit materials featuring children. Ballard, deeply impacted by the work he was doing, was further troubled by the realization that while his work was apprehending predators, they had not actually managed to save any children.

Ballard decides to embark on a journey that can only be described as incredibly brave. He gains the trust of another predator and is successful in meeting and rescuing a trafficked child, Miguel. His mission then takes him to Cartagena, Colombia, where he begins his search for Miguel’s sister, Rocio, and other victims.

A massive sting operation rescues 54 children, all put up for sale by the same woman who had initially kidnapped Miguel and Rocio. Ballard later finds out that Rocio had been sold to an armed forces group deep in the Amazon – in unmapped wilderness considered to be a no-fly zone. He locates the camp, kills the rebel leader, and ultimately returns Rocio to her father.

Tim Ballard went on to testify before Congress. His work has been instrumental in propelling legislation requiring the federal government to cooperate when there are trafficking investigations involving other countries. Operation Underground Railroad remains an active organization dedicated to leading “the fight against child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation around the globe.”

Controversy Around the Movie

Sound of Freedom, filmed in both Colombia and California, was actually completed in 2018. Originally planned for distribution with 20th Century Fox, the film was later purchased by The Walt Disney Company. The filmmakers worked diligently to recover their distribution rights, after which the movie was presented to faith-based Angel Studios. A round of successful crowdfunding finally led to an official release date.

Despite its global distribution and success, the mainstream media has been less than supportive. Rolling Stone, for example, called the movie a “QAnon-tinged thriller” designed to appeal to “dads with brainworms.” Liberal writer Mike Rothschild bashed the film during a recent CNN appearance, claiming the film was based on “bogus statistics… and fear.”

Movie goers were also put on edge by descriptions of what they felt were attempts to keep the public from seeing the movie. TikTok user @stephaniesmith643 described being in a theater where the lights did not go down and the voiceover narration for blind people was audible for the entire theater. After about 15 minutes, the theater gave everyone free passes and asked them to leave, fueling chatter that Hollywood was attempting to block the movie’s success.


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♬ original sound – Stephanie Smith

Awareness is key. Despite negative media chatter, the movie does have an incredible amount of support. Mel Gibson himself spoke out about the movie and its importance in spreading awareness of the human trafficking industry.

Dr. Steve Turley also did an episode on the movie and the audacity of mainstream outlets having the nerve to attempt to discourage people from seeing a movie designed to create awareness of such a profound issue.

Human Trafficking by the Numbers

It is believed that there are almost 500,000 children being exploited in the global human trafficking trade. Together Freedom estimates there are a minimum of 20,000 children under 18 being used in some sort of slavery in the US alone, with up to 80% being girls forced into sex work.

Because of the criminalization of sex work in so many areas, many cases of human trafficking go unreported out of fear. Many are afraid that their involvement will result in arrest and prosecution instead of true rescue, even if they were forced into the trade.

In 2013, the United Nations designated July 30 “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.” This year’s theme focuses on reaching “every victim of trafficking, [leaving] no one behind.”

The Department of Homeland Security established the Blue Campaign, a public awareness campaign to inform the public about human trafficking, back in 2010. You can visit its official website for information regarding the indicators of human trafficking and how to report suspected cases to federal law enforcement officials. You can also get help through the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

The best way to combat human trafficking is to educate yourself and share your knowledge. The Sound of Freedom was expected to have a broad theater run through July 13th, but many theaters will continue to show this groundbreaking film throughout the rest of the month, if not through the summer.

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