Interview w/ Timothy Ballard
January 11, 2016
Intro: You are listening to Slave Stealer.
Tim: Welcome to Slave Stealer podcast, where we take you into the dark world of trafficking so you can help us find the solution. We are talking here with co-host, Mark Mabry.
Mark: That’s me. And we did a little change in format. This is part two of our ‘Meet Tim’ series, because he has had a really interesting story. And what I found amazing in getting to know Tim over the last few years, is that sacrifice of peace of mind, sacrifice of kind of this level of innocence that 99.9% of the rest of us enjoy. And, to recap, we talked about Tim’s story a little bit, how he got into child crimes, and how he was invited by HSI to be on that team, and then we talked about his family. He has got young kids, and his son is now 15. And, the birds and the bees talk is awkward enough. What about that talk about what dad does for a living?”
Tim: Well, you know, yeah..Let me say this first: I was scared to death some 15 years ago when I was asked to enter this dark world of child crimes. And the thing that scared me the most was the fact that I had kids, and I didn’t know how that would affect me. Would I see an image that reminded me of my kids, would that make me a paranoid father, would that turn me... My wife was scared to death that I would turn into just some cynical, just bitter old dude. And I was scared to death. I mean, you’ve got to wade through the sewer to find the crap.
Mark: And what if the pornography took, I mean, worst case scenario, you turn into somebody that is actually into it? Not that that would happen with you knowing you, but...
Tim: You know, what I have found that’s..a lot of people think that, and they go there, but...
Mark: Those people are stupid.
Tim: The people who had that suggestion are really idiotic. No, but it’s a logical conclusion. But what I have found is, frankly, kind of the opposite. Because when you are exposed to children - unless you are a pedophile, right - when you are exposed to that, it makes you want to distance yourself even more from all things pornography. At least that was my experience, and as I watched other agents who I have worked with, who have to be exposed to this. It turns you off so much to the whole industry, even the legal part of it, because it’s so, frankly, similar that it actually, at least for me, it has had the effect of major deterrent, even from any temptation my own part to even look at regular pornography. Does that make sense?
Tim: And, for the child stuff, it is just a punch in the stomach every time, and it is worse and worse every time. And you learn how to cope, you learn how to be able to see this stuff and still move on. But, like in the last show, I was talking about how the first thing I want to do when I saw particular images or videos, is just grab my kids and bring them to the safest place I know, which is my home, and just hold them. And so the whole concept, the whole idea to your question of how I bring together these two worlds, of what I do outside versus what I do inside - you have to factor in all these things. But my kids do start asking questions.
I was addressing a group that was doing a benefit for Operation Underground Railroad just two nights ago. And they had the kids there and they wanted me to talk about it, and it was so hard, because I’m sitting there, and they say, “Tell us what you do!”, and I’m going, “All right, well I’ll start...”
Mark: How old were the kids?
Tim: Oh, the kids were as young as five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve.
Mark: Oh, geez..
Tim: It was like all these neighborhood kids. And their parents wanted them to know that there are kids who are less fortunate and that we need to help them. That was the idea. So, I thought to myself, “I’ll start with the software that we are building.” The software is called ‘Stars’. It’s a pretty name. Until one of the kids says, “What does STARS stand for?” And it stands for Sex Traveler Apprehension Retention System, right? So, I say SEEEE ugh...I can’t say it, I can’t even say the name of the software!
Mark: Super Terrific Apprehension...
Tim: Yes! So, I couldn’t, and it was so..it’s so difficult. A little kid raises his hand after I’m talking about slavery in general terms, and he said, “Why would someone want to steal a child? Wouldn’t they rather steal an adult because they’d be better at being a slave and a stronger worker?” I just looked at this little kid, I was like, “I know exactly the truth of your question, I know how to answer that, but I cannot answer that.” And so these issues that I was grappling with at this charity event, are the same issues I grapple with every day with my kids. When they see something on the news, and with my small children I just tell them, you know, I help kids, we help kids, we help kids who’ve been kidnapped. That’s all they know, and they seem ok with that. But as they get older, they start asking questions. And it intersects at the same time that I need to start talking to them about the birds and the bees. My wife and I are very open, I mean, I think my job has made me the most desensitized to all things sex, like I can say anything to anyone, because the conversations that I have had with people, with perpetrators especially during interrogations, where we were talking about things, or undercover, where they’re selling me kids. There is nothing that makes me blush, right. So, I can just take my kids and sit down, and say, “Hey”, talk about everything, embarrassing things, everything from pornography to masturbation to dating and all this stuff. It is rare that we talk about that, somehow it leads to the fact that - again these are my more adolescent, teenage kids - it always leads to some kind of an explanation that they are asking me for about, “Why would an adult want to do that to a child?”
Mark: When they say THAT, what ..I mean..
Tim: I mean they kind of..they know, I mean, they figured it out.
Tim: They do, because they know what is what we’re talking about. And so, I think, in the world of child pornography and sexual abuse of children, you don’t want to be graphic with the kids at all, even with my teenage kids. I kind of let them just figure it out and let their brain stop them where they should be stopped, because the brain will do that.
Mark: Oh, adults don’t even grasp it.
Tim: Adults don’t grasp it. I was sitting with my father-in-law - a brilliant man, PhD - we were in his kitchen, this was when I was an agent, and I heard him, he started talking.. What had happened was that I arrested one of his friends - not like a close friend, right, but...
Mark: ”So, what did you do today, Tim?” “Well, I busted Larry.”
Mark: I have heard this story.
Tim: He knew this guy, he had been to his home. So he knew this guy, and he started saying, “You know...I kind of feel bad for this particular individual, because it’s not really their fault. I mean, these girls dress in a certain way that is provocative, and it is not totally their fault.” And, I’m just dying. I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, what?! You are telling me that a 5-year old puts on clothes, and now it’s not the pedophile’s fault that they look at the 5-year-old!” And his eyes almost popped out of his head! He says, “Five years old?! Why are you talking about 5-year-olds?!”
Mark: He’s thinking the 17 ½-year-old.
Tim: He’s thinking 17, 16 years old, where you can’t really maybe tell the difference between a 17- and an 18-year-old, right. His eyes popped out of his head, and he says, “What?!” I said, “Yeah...Dad, you don’t know this, but what George was looking at was 5- to 7-year-old children, boys and girls, being raped, ok?”
Mark: They sent a picture in the tub.
Tim: Exactly. Being raped by adults. And he just kind of put his head down, shook it, and he said, “Now, that is weird..” I remember he said, ”That is just weird...”, and he walked out of the kitchen. He couldn’t handle it, and I don’t blame him. Our minds don’t even let us go there. And this is the problem. This is the problem that, frankly, is the obstacle to the solution. And the problem is we don’t want to see, we don’t want to believe it. I remember in the very beginning, in the early 2000s, when we were taking cases, child porn cases, to the judges, federal judges and state judges on pornography cases, on child pornography cases. And they were sentencing them to the most minimal sentences. Like this one guy had this collection that was unbelievable, categorized it by the names - he would name the kids in the videos, and create little files for them. It was unbelievable. He had hundreds of thousands of videos, images and everything else. And when the judge sentenced him, he sentenced him to four or five months in jail, but weekends only.
Tim: And, I thought, “What is going on?!” The prosecutor I was working with, she said, “You know, the problem, Tim, is they don’t get it.The judges don’t get it!” They don’t get it. And we asked the judges if we could please show..during the sentencing they brought me in, and said, “Agent Ballard wants to show you the images.” He said, “I don’t want to see that junk! I don’t want to see that junk.” He’s embarrassed to even look at it. The human side of him doesn't want to even watch him looking at it, so he says, “I don’t need to see, I don’t need to see it!” So, we didn’t show it to him, and then that sentence came out. I guarantee you, I guarantee you that he doesn’t want to accept it. You know, the reports indicated that the kids were as young as five or four years old. His brain - my theory - wouldn’t let him grasp it, wouldn’t let him grasp it. And so he just gave him this super light sentence. But if I would have just opened that laptop, and say, “You have to watch this, you need to see this.” Now, I’m not advocating for showing child porn to people.
Tim: At all! At all!
Mark: But, maybe we emphasize, highly illegal: if you download this, even for altruistic, I’m-going-to-expose-myself, but...
Tim: You will go to jail. Don’t do it! Don’t do it!
Tim: But what I’m telling you is, be aware that it is there, and we have got to talk about it. It hurts...You mentioned that when you talk about this, and this is why people don’t want to talk about it, you hit the nail in the head: you lose part of your own innocence.
Tim: And every time you talk about it, some more of your innocence, even as adults, it goes away. You have to sacrifice that, but you sacrifice it for the kids. Because if we don’t sacrifice a part of our innocence to know this is happening, they have no hope, because we are the adults, we are the ones who will...if anyone’s going to save them, it is going to be the adults, that have the power and the influence and the ability. But if we don’t know about it, we are not going to save them. But to know about it, you must sacrifice some of your innocence. And so that’s what we ask people to do: sacrifice some of your innocence, listen to this show, go to our website, learn about trafficking. It’s the fastest growing criminal enterprise on earth. Two million children, and more, are being sold for sex, over ten million children sold for labor. Add all the adults, we’re on a 30-40 million range. I mean, wake up! Help them out! But it does require a sacrifice of innocence.
Mark: So, back to the question at hand, did you actually have, have you had a sit-down, “Ok, let me talk to you about this, son”? Like, let me ask it this way: have your kids seen the documentary?
Tim: Here’s my policy and my wife’s, I mean, every kid is an individual, right. Every kid you treat differently, because it is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution to raising kids.
Mark: You have how many?
Tim: I have six kids.
Mark: That’s awesome!
Tim: So, our kind of general policy, guideline on the documentary, which is ‘The Abolitionists’ documentary, which films my team going into different countries and helping the police infiltrate trafficking rings and so forth...
Mark: Catching you soliciting pimps for underaged girls.
Mark: Asking “Hey, will she do this, will she do that?”
Tim: Oh, yeah.
Mark: Your kids have to hear you saying that.
Tim: My kids are hearing that, yeah. So, what we’ve decided is, generally speaking, if this particular video or this particular documentary includes children, who are being sold, who are, say, 12 years old, then I’m going to let my 12-year-old watch it. And that is because I think it’s important for him to see what he has and what someone else doesn’t have. “Someone your age is being trafficked. You get to play football; they are being sold for sex.” And, I think it’s important for kids to recognize what they have, and then it instills in them a sense of responsibility: “How can I help that kid, who doesn’t get to play football? What can I do?” And it makes them aware of the world and aware of what’s happening. So, that is kind of how we deal with it. And then again I let them watch it, I don’t rehash it with them, I don’t bring it up too much, at least graphically.
Tim: I let their mind stop them where it needs to stop.
Mark: Smart. I like that principle that you said with adults, with kids, with everyone - they will go to a point that they are ready to go to.
Tim: Right. But here’s the point that I was making too - once you are an adult and you have real influence to help, it changes a bit in my mind, right.
Mark: Especially if you are a judge.
Tim: Especially if you are a judge. I don’t want it to stop where your mind wants it to stop. And this is our job at Slave Stealer podcast and other places, other people’s responsibility, who are in the know-how, who have seen it, you’ve got to say “No!” No, I’m not going to let you stop. I am not going to let you shake your head and walk out of the kitchen. I’m going to make you stay until your mind grasps this enough to where you are going to act. And that’s the problem, is people hit that point where their brain wants them to stop, and they shake their head and walk away. We can’t have that. If we do that, these kids will not be liberated.
Mark: If that happens in 1860, you have still got millions of slaves in the South.
Mark: Because we have talked about it.
Tim: Absolutely. That’s why, because people shook their head and walked out of the kitchen.
Mark: Yeah. You have got to show it to them. There are so many questions - I’m trying to think of a logical order here. You talked about it with your father-in-law, and we are not talking about 17 ½-year-old girls.
Mark: We are talking about kids that are groomed, And, maybe.. let’s define the term. We kind of need to have like a trafficking glossary on our site. But grooming, and, maybe in the case of Lady, that we talked about - that’s when you explained it to me, you know, when I was going to go be a scoutmaster. I had to go through the whole ‘how to identify a perv’, right, and one of the terms they used was grooming. And they’re like, “Well, when you prepare a child for…” whatever. But you really broke it down for me in the case of this 11-year old virgin, who was sold to you in Columbia. I was there watching, she was a virgin.
Mark: However, she knew exactly what was going to go down.
Mark: What do they do to groom a child and how were you made aware of it? Like, give me how you came to that knowledge. Because this episode is kind of about you and the topic.
Tim: So I came to the knowledge the only way I think anyone can, and that is experiencing it firsthand. For me, that was going undercover, pretending to be someone, who is interested in that black market, and getting into that market, becoming a player in that market. So, in the case of this little girl, who they were calling ‘Lady’ - and that surely wasn’t her real name, it was a name the traffickers gave her - in that case, we were pretending to be solicitors of child sex. We were working with the Colombian police pretending to be Americans, who travel to Colombia to engage in sex with children. And what had happened in this case, because we were working in that capacity and because we presented ourselves as wealthy Americans, I hinted to the trafficker that we would be interested in sharing profits and investing in his trafficking business. The reason we did that was because that all of a sudden, if they believe us, that pushes them to open their books and open their business and explain the business plan. And that’s how we learn how they do this. I would say things like, ”Look, I could probably get you a million dollar investment in this, but I need to know how it works; I need to know how you get these kids; I want to know you maintain the kids, how you groom and prepare them,” and so on and so forth. And the guy was more than happy to tell me what he does.
Mark: I have a photograph of your hands around this little pattern napkin. It was like a napkin business plan...
Tim: Sure, yeah.
Mark: Of a sex hotel for kids.
Tim: That’s right.
Mark: I have a picture of that. I’ll post it, because it is so disturbing when you realize what those numbers represent, volume and quantity and velocity of children and child rape.
Tim: Yeah, it was the dirtiest, most evil business plan that anyone could ever dream up.
Tim: ..on that napkin. That’s right.
Mark: I’ll post that.
Tim: And that was like our third or fourth discussion about how their business operations work. So, what they explained to me was, “Look, it’s easy to get the kids. You find poor families.” You don’t want to do a hard kidnapping, you know like the movie ‘Taken’. Does that happen? Yes. Is that the likely scenario? No. Why? Because you kidnap a kid, a hard kidnapping - meaning go into their house, like what happened with Elizabeth Smart, go into the house, pull them out. Well, you are going to kick up a lot of dust around you. Why do that if you are a trafficker if you can instead make it a peaceful kidnapping. Not peaceful for the child, right.
Tim: Hell for the child, peaceful for the trafficker. In other words, they can kind of do this without fearing much consequence. So, what they do is they go to poor families, and these guys had actually hired or were working with, contracting with, a beauty queen in Cartagena. She had won a pageant, a beauty pageant. So, kind of people knew who she was; she had been on the news, she showed up in music videos, and so people knew who she was. So, they walk into the house with this beauty queen, and they say, “Look, look at this beautiful woman. She doesn’t have a worry in the world. She is paid, she is wealthy, she is beautiful, she is famous.” And then they point to the 9-year old daughter, and say, “we focus” - they told us “9 years old is where we start”. And they say to the mother and father: “Your 9-year-old daughter is just as beautiful as this girl; we just got to train her. We can train her, and she can become a model and an actress.” And they fill the parents with all sorts of dreams that they never believed were possible for their child. And certainly this is legitimate, because they are looking at the star, who is in their living room saying, “I can do this for you. And we’re going to give you a scholarship. You can come to our school and learn how to be a model for free.” At that point, they bring them into the modeling school, and they teach them some things. And when they get comfortable, they say, “Now you are going to watch this video.” And the video will be pornography. “This is part of being an actress, it’s part of…you need to understand this world.” And when kids are at that age - nine, ten, eleven - their minds are still developing and forming, and if someone tells you this is right, this is right, this is right, eventually your mind develops as a 9- or 10-year old into believing, “Ok, this is right, this is right.” And so they start seeing that. We had evidence that some of them were being drugged, you know, threatened: “If you go back and tell your parents that we are doing these things, you are going to be in big trouble.” And again, kids are very… Elizabeth Smart, when we get her on the show, she can talk about this, where a police officer walked up to her, while she was in captivity, and said “Are you Elizabeth Smart?”. I mean that, it would have been over!
Tim: And she said, “I am not. I am not Elizabeth Smart.” Because she was scared to death because they, her captors, had told her, “If you ever reveal who you are, we will kill your sister, and your family.” And as Elizabeth tells it, everything they had told her they are going to do to her, they did it. They told her they are going to rape her, and they did it. They told her they are doing this particular thing - sex acts - and they did it. They told her they’d chain her up, and they did it. So, when they told her that they are going to kill her parents if she reveals who she is, why would a 14-year-old not believe that they are going to do it?
Mark: They’ve got all power.
Tim: All power. And she has received criticism for that, you know, like, “Why didn’t you run away? Did you want to be there?”, you know... People just can’t comprehend how the mind of a child works. And that’s what these kids go through - they are scared into not revealing what is really going on. So, they groom them, and they said it, it will be a year and a half, or more, while they are grooming them, all under the hospices of this modeling school. And of course they are being trained to be models as well, and then eventually they say, “Ok, so this is your test. You are going to this party on this island, and these men are going to come from America, and you are going to do the things that you have seen being done in the pornography videos, and do whatever they want.” In a nutshell, that is how it works. I mean, that is how it works, that is the reality.
Mark: And variations of.
Tim: And variations of that.
Mark: So, they can do everything up until the point that she is not a virgin to claim...
Mark: “Hey, it is a virgin.”
Tim: And they can, and they want to do this because their virgins are premium, right. Already, a child, in most black markets, a child will go for about a double or more than double of what an adult prostitute will go for. But then, if that child is also a virgin, then it’s quadruple, or more of that price. So, it’s a premium to sell a virgin child.
Mark: Wow...Give me, you’ve talked about it - like pulling people’s blinders off, and those moments where people are opened up, and the one with I think your father-in-law, who gets it now - that was pretty dramatic. What about..give me another one. You don’t have to name names, I just like hearing about people’s response. Are there any high profiles that you are allowed to share, that, maybe change the name, change the whatever? Somebody that you have shocked, that should have known?
Tim: Yeah. I was in the office, probably a year or two ago, of a governor of a certain state. We were explaining who we were and what we did, and he was absolutely shocked. And, kudos to him for being honest, saying, “Wait, wait, wait, what?! There is how many kids? There is how many kids being hurt and trafficked in the world? And what does that mean? They do what?!” He didn’t know, he didn’t know anything! And again, I’m not blaming him for not knowing. It is not something you go seek out, right? It is not something that your advisors seek out to tell you. It is hard to talk about. And I don’t know that you know the answer - why aren’t we talking about it more? Why, why, why, why? I really believe because it is that.. it is so dark a topic. It is not even...you know, slavery in the nineteenth century - it was politically divisive. It was a political nightmare to get involved: go back to the Lincoln-Douglas debates and everything. I mean, it was a divisive and a political issue. This is not even a political issue. There is nobody standing on the side of the pedophiles - well there are some: NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which deserves its own show someday.
Mark: Do they have a logo?
Tim: Well, there are all sorts of different..Look them up: nambla.org.
Mark: Is that weird?
Tim: You might have cops knocking on your door tonight.
Mark: That is what I am saying.
Tim: No, no, no, you won’t. You can look them up.
Mark: What are the pop-up ads I am getting after that?
Tim: Yeah, be careful when you go: nambla.org. I mean, it is a legitimate organization, legitimate in terms of legality, right. And, they are just a group that is pushing for a..
Mark: Oh hell!
Tim: What did you find? You got...I told you to be careful when you go to that...
Mark: No, it is not...and luckily, I’ve retained that innocence: I have never seen child pornography. It is a cartoon on the front their page - it is an adult asking a little boy, “What can I do to make you happy?” And the little boy says, “I like hugs.”
Tim: Boom! And that’s their whole message. If you go into...When I was an agent, I would go all into it and learn about it, what they believe in. And they actually talk about how kids, psychologically and emotionally, need sexual healing and sexual exposure from adults. And why not adults, who know what they are doing? And so they make it sound as though the kid wants to be hugged, the kid wants to be touched. Why is it so bad? And they bring up science, where they show that children are sexual beings based on this story and that. Of course, they are human beings! Their sexuality is attached to everybody; we are born with it. But that doesn’t mean you are ready to bring it out and force it on a child, because that’s what you would be really doing, forcing it on a child. Their brains aren’t developed to the point where they can make those kind of decisions, or comprehend the kind of consequences of that activity. I mean it destroys...I’ve seen kids destroyed over this. And here they are saying they just want to hug, “Just hug me, that is all I want.”
Mark: Oh, here’s the other one, right. They are just headlines and we’re not going to go off on NAMBLA forever, because it does deserve its own show. Maybe we bring one of these idiots in.
Tim: Yeah, bring them in, let them take it.
Mark: Or, we bring in some of the people they are attacking. And I thought of this this morning, ok. I’ll read a couple headlines: ‘When Labor Loved Liberty (And Before They Changed Their Minds)’ about the labor unions formally supporting..whatever. ‘Remembering Michael Jackson’, and they’ve got the old black version of Michael, ‘Remembering a Lover of Boys’, ‘Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons’, ‘The Non-Wisdom of Crowds: Defender of Anonymous Outraged by our Lack of Passivity’. Now, this one’s interesting: ‘Hipster Vigilantism and the New Populist Attack on Free Speech’. That is what they are calling it: speech, right. And then, they say ‘Anonymous Decidedly Illiberal Campaign to Silence Us’. Dude, is Anonymous getting on these guys, because they would be an awesome ally.
Tim: I don’t know, but let’s check, let’s look into it - let’s absolutely look into it. But these guys have conventions; it’s a political movement to legalize this kind of behavior.
Mark: They called Oprah a liar, by the way.
Tim: And so...
Mark: Saying she wasn’t, she wasn’t molested as a child. Ok, I’m off on NAMBLA.
Tim: Ok. So, we’ll go back talking more about that, but the point is, that, except for these few total whackjobs, who think that this is a healthy thing for children, it is really just obviously serving their own selfish lust and pleasure and evil. Dark, dark souls...But, for the most part, this is not a political issue, right, it is not a political issue. Everyone will be on the side of solving this. So, what is the obstruction? It is simply, “I don’t want to know; I don’t want to see it.” It’s the ostrich, the ostrich effect, sticking our head in the sand: “I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to...I have kids, grandkids. I can’t think about it.” And that’s where we have to make the change, that’s where we have to convert people to look at it.
Mark: What are the more offensive things that people have said to you? Maybe on purpose or not on purpose. I don’t need the top three, because it’s hard to think in superlatives, but give me five offensive things people have said to Tim Ballard, unknowingly or knowingly.
Tim: Offensive, in terms of just this topic in general?
Mark: Yeah, that you’re like, “I used to respect you three minutes ago, before that came out your mouth.”
Tim:I think the one time I can remember where I got the most offended...and frankly, you actually just did it to me earlier today, accidentally. I wasn’t so mad.
Mark: Oh, when I wondered if you would turn into a perv by looking at...
Tim: Yeah, it was so...I felt really bad because...
Mark: That wasn’t a personal attack, by the way.
Tim: No, no no, it wasn’t. And I want to clear this up. I don’t have a whole lot of examples of people, who say things offensive in terms of why this should or shouldn’t be legal or illegal, right. I mean, I’ve had perpetrators during interrogations defended, you know. A guy named Ernst Luposchainsky, for example - you can look him up, we arrested him in Minnesota... And he was pretty, I mean he was offensive, but I mean, geez, he was just such a joke. You are looking at this guy and you are almost, almost...somewhere in between laughter and vomit. You know, you are just like: “Are you serious? You are saying this?” You know, but he would talk about like the benefits of child pornography and how it helps the poor kids. “These kids get paid, they get paid for their sexual services, and we are helping them, we are helping their families.” He would talk about the tiger and the meat analogy. I remember we talked about, and this is all during his interrogation, where he would say, “Look, you have got to feed the tiger meat. If you don’t feed the tiger meat, he will eventually attack human beings.” So, he is actually saying, “Children are being raped, that’s horrible! Now, a consensual sex with a child, that is a different story. But, children are being raped against their will, I’m against that. Oh, I’m so against that!” You know, he would say...
Mark: Just for the record, you were quoting him on the “consensual sex is a different story”?
Mark: Ok, just making sure it wasn’t like...
Tim: Yes, quoting.
Mark: You, parenthetically saying “Hey, consensual sex...”
Tim: I’m sure some out there would love to misquote me on that and accuse me. So, the tiger and the meat, right. “You have got to feed the tiger meat, you have got to feed the tiger meat, and then he will never rape the kids.” And the meat is child porngraphy. “Make it legal. Let them look at it, because then they will just look at it, and then they will get satisfied and the kids will be safe.”
Mark: Oh, yeah, totally!
Tim: Because it doesn’t, it certainly doesn’t fuel your evil passion by looking at it, right? Like for example, a man who watches pornography, he never watches pornography with an int to actually engage in sex with a woman. He just watches it for, you know, for the pleasure in itself. Yeah...baloney! Any dude, who watched porn will tell you, right, “I would like to translate this to my bedroom,” right. It is no different with child pornographers. They are looking at this, and they want to act out. So it is just the opposite - you are fueling the fire, not putting it out. But, I mean, that was offensive. And, by the way, that Ernst Lupochainsky case, we got to do a show sometime on that. That was the hardest case I have ever did. In the middle of that interview, ok, while he was telling me all this stuff, he would not break, he would not break, he would not break. So, what I had to do...because he believed that all men were closet pedophiles, he just believed that story...
Mark: I love this story.
Tim: He just believed that. It was his way to justify his own feelings, of course. But this puritanical society - that is what he called it - has stopped the natural flow of love between a man and young, little girls. But on this show, I have got to read...he had this postmortem message he put on all his child porn collection. We will prep and I will read his message.
Mark: Oh my gosh.
Tim: It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. But the point I am making here is, I had to go undercover - this is just a teaser - I had to go undercover...
Mark: Don’t blow it, because I know the punchline, and it is unreal.
Tim: Yeah..as myself. So, I pushed my buddy away, the other agent, who was interviewing the guy. I was still wired up undercover, you know, and I said, “Hey, listen man, listen Ernst, help me out. I mean you are right. Reading your stuff - it makes me trust you. I have got to look at this stuff all day long. What do you think that does to me? It makes me want that. But there is no one I can talk to. Can you talk to me? Can you help me?” Sure enough, his eyes just light up. He believed it! I couldn’t believe he bought into it. I was...I was...It is one thing when I am Brian Black, you know, or I’m some alias in an undercover operative.
Mark: That is a cute name. Did you make that one up?
Tim: That was the name that I used to use, yeah...Brian Black. So, here I was, Tim Ballard, U.S. agent/pedophile. So it was a totally different thing. I was myself, and that went on for...and then you know, I reported it to my supervisors; they loved it. And that kept on for at least a month, until we could get all the information out of this guy we possibly could about his contacts and networks. And he opened up to me, thinking he was helping me enter into, you know, induct me into the beautiful world of pedophilia. So, someday we’ll do that story, because that is an amazing story. The guy is still in jail.
Tim: So, that is kind of somewhat offensive, but the time I blew up...the sweetest lady on earth - she was, she was just...Lived down the street, sweet kind lady, and I was working in child porn cases, kind of mad - you know you’re just mad a lot, thinking about it. And she said to me, “So, how many agents, you know, end up…?” And again, the same thing you just said, but I didn’t blow up at you.
Mark: Good grief! I feel like such a schmuck, especially in context of the story you have just told me.
Tim: Yeah, it was the first time...
Mark: Because I know you are not susceptible to that.
Tim: Right. And, I would honestly argue that unless you are predisposed and you enter the child crimes group so that you could access it, I think it is just the opposite. And, you know, she said, “So, how many end up pedophiles themselves, being exposed to this?”
Mark: Legit question!
Tim: Yeah...I mean it sounds like a legit question, unless when you are in it, you are like “Wait, whoa, whoa.” Yeah so, by the hundredth time I am watching a child scream in pain, by that time I am like, “I am digging this.” But, I went off, I went crazy. I said, “Do you think it is that?! Or maybe it is, ‘I can’t believe I have to watch this again! I can’t believe I have to subject myself again to this video, and my stomach is punched again and again and again.” It was so bothersome to me, because it is just the opposite of what she was saying. It is like, I have got to endure this. It is like saying this, here is a good analogy: someone who has been doing chemotherapy for a year, right, and every three months they got to go get another dose of chemo. It is like someone saying, “So, how many cancer patients become addicted to chemo? Even after the cancer is done, they still take chemo just because they are addicted to it?” Right?! That is analogous right there.
Tim: Ok? And, it is just like, “Wow, wow,” you know, it killed me. I get it, but it was just, it is...What they don’t understand is the potency of this. It is not! What they think is, she was probably still thinking 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds. I was like, are you kidding me?! It is not what we are talking about! If there is a 16-year old in a child porn video, we wouldn’t even prosecute that, unless you absolutely knew it was a 16-year-old, in like specific cases where, you know, uncles taking pictures or something.
Tim: But otherwise, you wouldn’t. You would be like “Eh...” If you can’t tell...The majority of the child porn cases we prosecuted: 5 years old, 7 years old, 10 years old, that range, right. I know, it’s just... it is just things the vast majority don’t have to see, and I don’t want them to see it.
Tim: I don’t want them to see it. But they need to know it is happening, so that they can be part of the solution.
Mark: On that same thought of things that people unintentionally say that are offensive, how about this? And I have got this one before, even with my little bit of involvement: “Well, she looks like she wants it.”
Tim: Oh, yeah...I get that quite a bit. In fact, right in our documentary, in “The Abolitionists”.
Tim: I have heard a couple of people say that. In an early screening that happened, and my wife who was in the room, it was a very early screening, we brought some kind of influential people in to watch.
Mark: I was there!
Tim: Oh, right! You were there. That’s right!
Mark: I was sitting by your wife.
Tim: You were there. A sweet lady - I think you know her, I think you know who she is - totally innocent, you know, she just...she said, “Can’t you show like a little darker side to this, so that people know? Can’t you show us some kids who are not looking like they want to be here?” And, if you remember my wife, she’s like...
Mark: Oh yeah.
Tim: “Alright! This is tragic, what is happening to these kids! This isn’t a scripted film, this isn’t - we can’t make this up. This is real, and it is their hell. And just because you can’t see it, because you are not the spirit inside of that body,”... know, my wife just… bless her heart, she went crazy.
Mark: She is not outspoken.
Mark: Right? For her to...
Tim: For her to do that... it touched a nerve.
Tim: And again, back to the misconceptions. Are you going to find cases of kids chained up and locked in closets? Absolutely, you are going to find that! The vast majority, the vast majority? No, that is not what it looks like. And in the documentary - most people get it, it is not usually a big problem - but in the documentary, I mean, you are watching the filmmakers put the ages of the kids - of course cover their identities - but they put their ages, their numbers like over their blurred faces. And so you are watching this 12-year old-girl, it says twelve, you know, and I remember that little girl, I remember that she actually had fear in her eyes. But if you weren’t looking straight into her eyes, she did walk into the party, and she knew what was going to happen to her.
Mark: And she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute. Maybe not her, but some of the others.
Tim: Some of them were, that one wasn’t, but some of them absolutely... This little girl was wearing like long basketball shorts and a white t-shirt, and you will see that in the documentary. But others were, the 12-year-olds...
Mark: They are not picking their outfit here.
Tim: Right, right.
Mark: For the most part.
Tim: And they are walking in and people say, “Looks like they want to do that! They want to do it! Look at, they... No one is forcing them to walk in.” And again back to Elizabeth Smart. When you will bring her on the show, we can talk to her about it, and she...If you thought Catherine, my wife, got passionate, wait until Elizabeth answers that question. And she says, because they bring it u, she had plenty of opportunities, in theory, to run. She did. She was in public areas, policeman came up to her, right, but what they don’t understand is trafficking, slavery, so much of slavery is mental. These traffickers enslave these kids mentally, emotionally, not just physically. In fact, they don’t want it; if they can get away with not enslaving them physically, all the better. Remember, they don’t want to kick up a lot of dust around them. So, if they can figure out how to enslave them mentally and emotionally, that is always the first choice, and they do it by the grooming process that we described earlier. They groom them, and then they control them. They control them! And this is why the rehab part is so important, because you have got to undo the damage, and that doesn’t happen overnight. It is a long process. I don’t know, I mean, I have talked to a lot of victims of trafficking, who are adults now and have families of their own, and they have told me, “You know, you don’t ever fully, fully heal.” I mean, there is always something there you have got to battle. And that is what happens, that is why when Elizabeth’s father runs to her, she still denies who she is for a second, and then she opens up. Because it is like a spell, and if you haven’t been through it - and I haven’t, so I can’t fully comprehend it, but I’ve been around it enough to know that you can’t comprehend it, unless it has happened to you. And a child’s mind is not like an adult’s mind. Children don’t think like adults think. Their minds are at different levels of development, they don’t have a lot of experience, they don’t understand the consequences like adults can and do. And so, it is not so difficult for the traffickers to play those mind games, warp them, brainwash them, and make them slaves.
Mark: Well, I think that...we’ll get into, I think, in shows down the road, we’ll have Throwback Thursdays. We’ll go revisit missions and do things, but I feel like that can give our listeners a little bit of insight into your passion, your feeling for what it is you do and how it affects your life. It is not a job you leave at the door, as you are hearing. And so if you have any parting shots along the lines of ‘Here’s Tim’, ‘Get to know Tim’, let’s go and leave our listeners with that.
Tim: You know I...I’d say this that I understand completely. We are talking about awareness, we are talking about people’s ability to see this problem. And I can’t sit back and judge and say, “Come on, open your eyes, open your eyes!” I was the worst of everybody; it was right before me and I was denying. I was denying it. I didn’t want to do it. It took me a long time to say yes, and even after I said yes, I was very apprehensive about how far I would go in this. So, I get it. It is a hard barrier to get around. And even when it is in front of you almost...you know, and then, when it is not in front you, of course, it is sometimes near impossible to get around. So, I get it, I get it, but I also understand that when you see it, when you allow yourself to open up to it, you become converted. And part of that I think is from God. I think God, more than anybody, wants these children liberated. I think he weeps more than anybody for these kids. So, if he can find an adult, who is willing to open their mind enough and not walk out of the room, he will help convert you, and put that passion into you, fill you with his spirit, and call you. He will call anybody, if you are going to help save his kids. And I just want people to go through the same conversion that I went through. I am kind of a missionary for trafficking, right. I mean, I am trying to evangelize here and get people converted to the cause, because that is who I am. I have been converted to the cause. And it hurt!
Mark: The cause of freedom.
Tim: The cause of freedom. But it hurts to be converted, because you must leave something at the door, and that is your innocence. You must leave it. And who wants to give that up? But you must do that. You must make that sacrifice. And it hurts, and you cry, and you have moments that are embarrassing - and we’ll get into some of these. There were times, when I was like a child in my wife’s arms weeping and she is holding me, and I am just shaking. Still happens to me... I used to not talk about it, but I just talk about it now. It hurts, it hurts to get into this cause, because the cause of freedom requires you to fight evil, and evil hurts. But what we want to do here on this show is make converts, because I know this: converts to this cause equals liberty to children. And what greater thing can we do than bring liberty to children?
Mark: Thank you. And, because your last words were so good, I’ll sign off for you from OUR headquarters. Good night!