Earlier this year, Sound of Freedom was released to broad acclaim, with Jim Caviezel in the starring role portraying a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) special [undercover] agent Timothy Ballard. Sound of Freedom keeps the audience glued to their seats since it is a dramatic, truth-based story of a hero rescuing children from sex trafficking. Beyond being entertaining, the film has highlighted the evils of child sex trafficking on our southern border, a problem Americans have been complicit in for too long.
Child sex trafficking is a specific category under the umbrella term of human trafficking, which has two major categories—forced labor and sex trafficking—with child sex trafficking (children under 18) as a subcategory. However, trafficking requires no physical movement of a person. In addition, human smuggling is not human trafficking, but can easily descend into human trafficking. For most countries, human trafficking is primarily a domestic or internal problem. Nevertheless, for America, there has been a dramatic increase in transnational child sex trafficking since January 2021 due to our de facto open border and unaccompanied alien children (UAC) policies. Nearly every number associated with illegal immigration has set historical records yearly for three years—including Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 (ending Sept 30, 2023).
Over the last thirty years, America’s religious and cultural landscape has changed dramatically. Not only does the notion of America founded on Judeo-Christian values and principles seem offensive to many, but even the idea of America as a nation with legally enforceable borders is morally suspect. These changes in the American worldview are symptomatic of a broader decline in moral standards, whereby secure borders and the rule of law are reinterpreted as vehicles of oppression. With this in mind, the links between the dramatic collapse of America’s shared religious identity and human trafficking, particular the sex trafficking of children, bear close examination.
Child Sex Trafficking
A recent report on human trafficking shows that 27.6 million people—are in modern-day slavery. Rebecca Munson gets to the heart of the matter: “Evil has swept every corner of our world. The modern slavery problem illustrates this reality like none other.” Human trafficking writ large is a $150 billion-dollar-a-year industry and is rapidly growing, according to experts.
Nevertheless, the most heinously wicked human trafficking is child sex trafficking. Published estimates claim that some 6.3 million people are in commercial sex exploitation, including 1.7 million children (Table 1), in sex trafficking worldwide. However, some experts claim that the numbers are likely much higher. Although a worldwide evil, the U.S. is the #1 destination of trafficked people and Mexico is the #1 supplier. The economic logic an open border creates (cheap labor and drugs) overrides what some call mere moral concerns about the significant growth in child sex trafficking, which can be estimated by examining Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs), which likely correlate highly with child sex trafficking.
In 2014, then-Vice President Biden warned that between 75 and 80 percent of UACs are brought into the United States by smugglers, many of whom “routinely engage in physical and sexual abuse, and extortion . . . .(p. 1).” According to a U.S. Senate Committee report in (December 2022) “…the number of UACs entering the U.S. reached record highs. As that number has increased, the Biden administration reduced the protections for those children against abuse and trafficking.” The diminished protections are evident from policy changes to HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is responsible for UACs.” In 2021, HHS weakened its requirements for background checks on potential sponsors and related adults (p. ii).” These changes reduced identity and address verification and put UACs at increased risk for child trafficking, according to numerous experts.
All these changes occurred during an explosive growth in UACs, which “…swelled to more than 146,000 in FY 2021 and 152,000 in FY 2022. So far, in FY 2023 [as of July 5, 2023], there have been more than 70,000 encounters of unaccompanied alien children. In March of 2022, it was revealed that the ORR had lost track of some 20,000 UACs. On April 18, 2023, it was exposed that another 85,000 UACs were lost, or the ORR did know where they were. On April 26, 2023, a Health and Human Service (HHS) whistleblower, Tara Lee Rodas (working for ORR), testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement, shocking many in the audience with her testimony:
Whether intentional or not, it can be argued that the U.S. Government has become the middleman in a large scale, multi-billion-dollar, child trafficking operation run by bad actors seeking to profit off the lives of children… It is a terrible thing when you blow the whistle to try to save children and you’re retaliated against for trying to help…
Child sex trafficking is perpetuated in the U.S. by open borders due to American and Mexican government actions and inactions—primarily DHS, DoJ, HHS, NGOs (including some religious NGOs), and the ORR (responsible for UACs). So, how can this continue when most Americans oppose current border policies (Pew Research)?
Since taking office, President Biden has promulgated open borders with a series of stated and unstated policies documented in excruciating detail by long-time investigative reporter Todd Bensman in his recent book, Overrun. Bensman argues that America is facing a border crisis because of the federal government’s failure to enforce numerous laws regarding immigration by federal officials (e.g., Border Patrol, ICE, Immigration Courts, DoJ, HHS, et al.), which has significantly degraded the rule of law and enforcement on the border and in the country. Since January 2021, the total may be more than 10 million people illegally entering America.
According to Bensman (2023), there were 400,651 Border Patrol Apprehensions (BPA) in FY 2020. However, in FY 2021, there were 1.659 million (a record) BPAs, and in FY 2022, the number reached 2.37 million (a record) BPAs. FY 2023 numbers are 1.4 million (after eight months), which will easily break all records. Nevertheless, BPAs only tell part of the story.
The other critically important numbers are the “got aways.” The term got away is “an unlawful border crosser who is directly or indirectly observed making an unlawful entry into the United States” but is not apprehended. Since 2021, the “got-away” numbers have skyrocketed. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (April 2022) told the House Judiciary Committee “that there were 389,515 got-aways in FY 2021, while Fox News reported in October  that there were 599,000 “got-aways” in FY 2022.” FY 2023 numbers are expected to be higher, and the total “got-aways” since January 2021 are some 1.6 million.
Even more concerning may be the “special interest aliens,” which, according to DHS, refers to an “illegal alien from a nation that either promotes terrorist activity, harbors terrorists, or poses a possible security threat to the U.S.” These numbers have skyrocketed including some 70,000 from terrorist nations in the last two years. In addition, there are rising concerns about military-age men–Russian and Chinese nationals (who have Chinese Communist Party (CCP) affiliations).
When a nation loses faith in the value of its heritage, the inability to hold together communal institutions like the rule of law and secure borders seems destined to follow. A new moral order is increasingly taking root where national sovereignty, the idea of individual nations regarding their own self-preservation and perpetuation over an amorphous common humanity, no longer holds sway. As is evident from the strong correlation between Christianity and patriotism, it is religious practice that informs moral beliefs. Recent reports show the lowest level of belief in God ever recorded by Gallup in July 2023, buttressed by a Wall Street Journal (March 2023 poll), demonstrating a rapid decline in religious faith and patriotism. George Barna (for ~30 years) has cataloged a corresponding decline in the Christian worldview and an emerging syncretism (or watered-down Christianity) with increases in secular worldviews including Marxism.
As Judeo-Christian influence declines, other spiritualized forms of social justice religion and worldviews are quickly rising to take its place. These quasi-religions, combining Marxism and environmentalism, are not conducive to maintaining the national cohesion necessary to impose order on the southern border and counter child sex trafficking. A leftist of the sort described may argue that their alternative moral vision mandates open borders as a form of compassion. But even then, the issue is a failure to exercise stewardship over an inherited nation which will not be a shining beacon of hope to immigrants in the future if its borders are not secured. Christianity, in contrast to postmodern false religions and secular worldviews, enables us to look beyond the present, maintaining the necessary institutions, like law enforcement (and the rule of law), that will make civilization possible for generations on.
The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3 (NLT)
If America is to survive, it must reverse its moral decline or descend further into an abyss at an ever-accelerated decline. Not addressing the evils of open borders, which itself enables other evils, will certainly hasten America’s decline and that of our friends and neighbors. Sound of Freedom dramatically demonstrates the wicked scourge of child sex trafficking committed by evil men, women, and organizations, but also of elite individuals and governments that are either complacent, passive, or active enablers. Americans must speak the truth about child sex trafficking and demand that the federal government truly secure our borders with all alacrity. Other steps are required, but the goal should be to make open borders and human trafficking (especially child sex trafficking) part of the dustbin of American history while returning to the foundations that have sustained America. James Madison was prophetic:
But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there not virtue among us? If there be not, we are a wretched situation…To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty without virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.
Jim Caviezel makes it abundantly manifest in the Sound of Freedom: “God’s children are NOT for sale” by reminding us of Jesus’ priority for children:
If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6 (NIV)