Operation Underground Railroad presents new documentary in Rexburg

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REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) – Residents of Rexburg learned on Saturday how they can join the fight against human trafficking.

Tim Ballard founded “Operation Underground Railroad” in December 2013.

His new human trafficking documentary, “It’s Happening Right Here,” debuted at Paramount 5 Theater in Rexburg on Saturday.

“It’s a problem here, it’s happening here,” Ballard said. “By some estimates, as many as 100 or 200,000 children in the United States were in the sex trade. That’s true. And the United States is now in the top three, according to the US State Department of countries of destination, countries for human trafficking.

Experts say trafficking can and does happen in the biggest cities and the smallest communities.

The foundation’s documentary details how, in the first week of a new program, law enforcement, assisted by Operation Underground Railroad, arrested several pedophiles and contributors to sex trafficking in a small California town.

“It’s not just something that’s happening out there overseas, in Asia, in Africa, in the Middle East,” said Matt Osborne, director of international operations for Operation Underground Railroad. “It’s happening in the United States. It’s happening in New York, Chicago. But it’s also happening in Rexburg, Idaho Falls.

Students and residents who viewed the documentary were deeply moved.

“As far as, you know, all the fights we have,” said BYU-I student Caleb Bower. “You know, just like society today, like all the different opportunities we have to get involved and a difference, this just seems like one of the biggest, if not the biggest fights of all time”

Audience members participated in a question-and-answer session after the screening. Many of them asked how they could get involved.

According to Ballard, documentary makers hope more people will use the knowledge they share to find their own solution to end trafficking in their communities.

“You have this knowledge now. I think you have an idea. You will run it. We will support him. That’s what we’re hoping to come out of these things,” Ballard said.

For more information on the Underground Railroad operation, visit ourrescue.org.

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