The powerful message behind the movie Sound of FreedomSAN ANTONIO – Partnering with 2,600 movie theaters, the movie Sound of Freedom, a religious thriller, has made almost $100 million in box office sales since its release on July 4. Sound of Freedom has been referred to as controversial because of the film’s heavy subject matter. Since child sex trafficking is a sensitive subject to many people, it is understandable why some people may have reservations about the movie. However, the biggest takeaway from the film is that child sex tracking is a real issue that is happening today. The Sound of Freedom illustrates what enslaved children go through every day they are held captive. “It’s already surpassed the illegal weapons trade, and soon it will surpass the drug trade,” said Jim Caviezel, the actor who played the lead character, Tim Ballard. “ Do you know why? You can sell a bag of cocaine once. A 5-year-old child, you can sell them 5-10 times a day, for 10 years straight.” The hard realization that many children are being captured daily to fulfill the needs of traffickers has been mentioned at the end of the movie. According to the Sound of Freedom and Youth Underground, human trafficking is the world’s second-largest criminal trade. It is the fastest-growing illicit trade in the world and generates over $150 billion in profits every year. 40.3 million people are living as slaves worldwide which is five times the population of Switzerland. The United States (U.S.) accounts for almost 52% of global human trafficking with the sex trafficking of minors accounting for the largest percentage. Traffickers make over $9.5 billion annually in the U.S. alone. With approximately 130 people trafficked worldwide every hour, including children, it is incredible that Angel Studios pushed for this movie to be released after major pushback from other well-known companies. According to BBC, the movie was shot in 2018 and bought by 21st Century Fox but was shelved when the studio was bought by Disney. Angel Studios, a Christian-based studio in Utah with the hit show, The Chosen, bought the movie from Disney. The company said that 7,000 investors raised a total of $5 million earlier this year to market Sound of Freedom through social media posts and conventional advertising. Despite Disney shelving the movie five years prior to its release, people are still speaking out about their thoughts on the movie. One critic wrote on Rotten Tomatoes, “A solemn, drawn-out bore,” and another one wrote, “The low-budget message indie has surprisingly become a box office hit for reasons I attribute to good marketing and not to being a good film.” Although there are many negative comments, there are many who were moved by this movie. A critic on Rotten Tomatoes wrote,“Sound of Freedom tells us about a reality we cannot ignore: trafficking in minors and child pornography exists worldwide. This feature film deserves all the attention just for daring to talk about such a critical issue.” Another one wrote, “In a conventional pulp way, we’ve glimpsed the heart of darkness. We’ve seen something about our world that makes the desire to “take action” seem more than an action-movie gesture.” Despite the negative comments, many people leave the film inspired by the film’s message and question how they can help fight against sex trafficking. Tim Ballard, the man whose story was told in Sound of Freedom, created an organization named Operation Underground Railroads (OUR). Ballard is a former Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security, where he was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Ballard was also deployed as an undercover operative for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team. According to the OUR website, their mission is to go to the darkest corners of the world to assist law enforcement in rescuing children and ensure ongoing aftercare. They also provide critical resources to law enforcement and preventative efforts that benefit at-risk children worldwide. Through OUR, many people, including students, can have fundraisers and raise awareness of the reality of child sex trafficking. For more information on how to help, visit www.ourrescue.org/join-the-fight.
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Teresa King is a non-traditional student studying public relations at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) with a minor in multimedia journalism.
Through her years at OLLU, she has collected experience in social media management, event planning, media relations, public relations and journalism. She has previously worked as the Student Director of Public Relations for Lake Front Media and the Salazar-Escobedo School of Mass Communication and Theater. At Lake Front Media, she works on publication design, event planning management, client communication, advertising opportunities, writing stories and the teams’ communication.
In King’s spare time, she leads a youth recovery group called The Landing at her church called Community Bible Church in San Antonio, Texas. King and her husband are also foster parents and are currently raising a girl from the foster system.