I recently watched the "Sound of Freedom" movie and it was enthralling.

But I'm hardly qualified to be a movie critic, so I'll leave that to the experts -- or better yet, ignore everyone else and go watch it for yourself and make your own judgment.

Instead, I want to focus on the overriding message of the movie.

There is slavery and child-sex trafficking in the world today. A lot of it.

------------ Nat. Ctr. for Missing & Exploited Children's Tipline is 800-843-5678 --------------

According to The Exodus Road, "Child trafficking in particular is more prevalent in low-income countries where children are forced to enter the workforce. However, if we look at the numbers per million, over half of all forced labor exploitation occurs in either middle- or high-income countries."

That means, yes, places like Honduras and Columbia (as highlighted in the movie) do have problems with child trafficking, but so do places like the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

  • The United States is #1 in the world for sex trafficking

  • More than 500,000 children a year go missing in the US alone

  • More than 50% of victims are between the ages of 12 and 15

  • 25% of child pornography is created by a neighbor or family member

  • Over 500,000 online sexual predators are active each day

  • Over 80% of child sex crimes begins on social media

  • As of 2021, there are 252,000 websites containing images or videos of children sexually abused

Here's a chart highlighting the problem:


In the USA, child sex trafficking is real, and it even hits close to home here in Southern Utah.

Some more facts from the Exodus Road:

  • 80% of children in 25 countries report feeling in danger of sexual abuse or exploitation online.
  • More than half of respondents to a Unicef survey of people aged 18-24, experienced at least one online sexual harm during childhood (they were asked to do something sexually explicit or were sent something sexually explicit).
  • Facebook flagged a staggering 73.3 million pieces of content under “child nudity and sexual exploitation” from Q1 to Q3 of 2022, just 4 million short of 2021’s overall total of 77.5 million.
  • In just nine months of 2022, Facebook had almost equaled 2021’s content removals for child exploitation. It was a similar story on Instagram (6.08 million pieces of content flagged from Q1-Q3 of 2022 compared to 8.38 million in 2021) and TikTok (140 million pieces of content flagged from Q1-Q3 of 2022 compared to 141.7 million in 2021).
  • Reports of potential incidents of online child sexual exploitation increased by 35% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to new data released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Helping groups like Exodus Road and Operation Underground Railroad (that's the one founded by Tim Ballard) is a start and offering financial help is awesome..

It's also important to keep our own children safe. Here are some tips, again from, Exodus Road:


In order to effectively protect your children from exploitation, you need to know the danger. As a parent, you need to understand how traffickers think, what grooming looks like, and how easy it is for traffickers to pretend to be someone else online. You need to stay up to speed with new technology and be aware of what it’s capable of. As digital natives, your children will adapt more quickly than you do. They may even know more and understand technology better than you already. So it is imperative to educate yourself on the digital world your children inhabit.

In an effort to help you with this, we have recently launched Influenced, a set of interactive workshops for parents and teens to educate and empower you to teach your teen about online safety, and to equip your teen to stay safe in an online world and avoid exploitation. Read more about Influenced here.  


A child navigating the digital world on their own is like a child trying to drive a car on the interstate. They need to be taught how to navigate safely, be aware of what dangers they may encounter, and know what things to look out for.

  • Have regular conversations with your kids about the digital spaces they inhabit.
  • Help them understand the dangers of each platform and the risks of sharing information with strangers online.
  • Set ground rules for online interaction and be proactive about following up on them.
  • Create a safe space for your child to ask questions and share their feelings and encourage them to come to you if anything doesn’t feel right.


Even with teaching your children how to safely engage online, the risk of coercion or exploitation is always a reality. Knowing the signs to look for that indicate when grooming or exploitation is happening, or will potentially happen, could be the key to intervening before it’s too late.

On their own, any one of these could be just another day in Teen-ville. But when several are present, it may be an indication that there is something darker occurring.

  • Spending excessively more time online
  • Isolating or avoiding friends/activities
  • Inexplicable tiredness or anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Calls or texts at strange hours
  • Evasive behavior or language
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skipping school
  • Regular headaches/stomachaches
  • Extreme emotional reactions

If you suspect your child might be involved in a potential trafficking situation, don’t panic. From a place of compassion, ask direct and clarifying questions to identify the danger and come up with a plan to address any damage that has been done. If you need help or support, you can reach out to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (see below), which provides a wide range of support services for victims and their families.


There are coordinated efforts, both domestically and internationally, to provide resources and enact legislation to address online trafficking and exploitation.

  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children runs a cybertipline (1-800-THE-LOST), which serves as the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children.
  • UNICEF coordinates a global collaboration called We Protect Global Alliance. This is a worldwide effort to pool resources and understand the best ways to protect children online and how to most effectively address it at a country level.
  • In April 2023, Congress reintroduced a bill to protect children from online exploitation. The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies, or EARN IT Act, would remove existing legal immunity from corporations that “knowingly facilitate or profit” from sexually explicit images of children.

------------ Nat. Ctr. for Missing & Exploited Children's Tipline is 800-843-5678 --------------

Sound of Freedom pay it forward website

Sound of Freedom join the fight against child sex trafficking

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