Saturday, August 11, 2018

Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues Then and Now by Timothy Ballard

Timothy Ballard. Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues Then and Now

  • Foreword by NFL head coach Mike Tomlin. 

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain (September 4, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162972484X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1629724843

Two stories, more than a century apart…
In the 1800s American South, Harriet Jacobs is enslaved and tormented by a cruel master. He relentlessly attempts to force her into a sexual union, and, when rebuffed, he separates her from her children and spends a lifetime trying to coerce her and then recapture her when she escapes to freedom. Jacobs outwits her tormentor and eventually reunites with her children, works in the cause of abolition and reform, and helps newly freed slaves with education and aftercare.
In 2012, Timothy Ballard encounters a grieving father in Haiti whose three-year-old son has been kidnapped and sold into slavery, along with thousands of children who were orphaned after an earthquake devastated the country. Inspired by Harriet Jacobs, Tim pledges to track down the missing child and leaves his job at the Department of Homeland Security to establish Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). This foundation infiltrates black markets in human trafficking, liberates victims, and provides a comprehensive aftercare process involving justice and rehabilitation for survivors.
Slave Stealers alternates these two riveting stories, weaving them together to expose the persistent evil of trafficking and sexual exploitation that has existed for centuries—and inspiring us to find a way to end it. Filled with heartbreaks and triumphs, miracles and disappointments, hair-raising escapes and daring rescues, this gripping book provides insight into this terrible evil and the good that can be done when caring people step up and stand in the light.

My Thoughts

Author Timothy Ballard, founder, and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), which rescues children from child-trafficking organizations throughout the world, explains that when he was starting out the severity of the problem with human trafficking was just being discovered. 

—Old slavery was founded in deep hate and racial discrimination and politics; new slavery is for the most part based on profit and opportunity rather than race and policy.

Ballard left his job with the government to form this nonprofit and has relied heavily on history - lessons from Harriet Jacobs and others. 

He retells historical accounts and compares them with children kidnapped and forced into human trafficking. Each account is agonizingly heartbreaking and the depictions barely prepare you for the thoughts of the conditions associated with those enslaved.

Tragically, slavery is more prevalent today than in the past. 

So, how does Operation Underground Railroad combat this?
O.U.R.'s underground Jump Team leads coordinated efforts in conjunction with law enforcement throughout the world. When victims are rescued, a comprehensive process involves assisting the victims with recovery and rehabilitation while bringing the perpetrators to justice.
How does one help?

We do as abolitionists, before us, did. We know from history that the Underground Railroad worked because people worked together to provide safe houses and aid slaves who were fleeing. We work together to deter, disrupt and dismantle child exploitation and to liberate those held captive.

We become Slave Stealers.

In closing, this book clearly makes the reader more aware of the parallels of history to present-day and teaches us we all need to work together to help heal our world.

I received an advanced copy of this amazing book from Julianne Muszynski Associate Vice President of Havas PR. 

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