Operation Underground Railroad

We exist to rescue children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation | www.ourrescue.org #OURrescue | Founder: @timballard89

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O.U.R. fully sponsors more than 20 Electronic Storage Device (ESD) detection K9s across the U.S. These K9s assist law enforcement agencies in their communities to conduct search warrants. The dogs are specially trained to sniff out devices such as USB drives, hard drives and SIM cards that often contain evidence needed to prosecute child predators.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Our K9s have been busy the past couples months! Check out these highlights from February and March:⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ K9 Lucy in Arkansas helped execute search warrants that led to the arrests of six child predators and the rescue of one survivor. One man is facing up to 20 years in prison for possessing child sexual abuse material that he allegedly uploaded to his Tumblr account.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ In Iowa, K9 Mousse's efforts led to the arrests of two individuals and the identification of two child victims. Mousse also sat in on police interviews with many of the victims to help them stay calm in otherwise stressful situations.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ An assistant track coach for a school in North Dakota is facing charges for the possession of child sexual abuse material. K9 Jib assisted in the search warrant of the man's home after law enforcement received a tip that he had shared sexually exploitative images of children on Twitter.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Three individuals in Minnesota were arrested after K9 Sota and local law enforcement uncovered evidence of their crimes. During the execution of one search warrant, Sota discovered a small USB drive hidden in a tightly wrapped pile of clothes; the drive contained hundreds of sexually exploitative images of children. After the drive was found, the suspect admitted to downloading the child sexual abuse material. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ We are pleased to see the great work these K9s continue to do to keep kids in their communities safe.

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Between January and March, O.U.R. and its regional partners are honored to have helped repatriate 34 migrant domestic workers from the Mediterranean who have been exploited and trafficked on the job, and support their journeys back to their home countries in West Africa. ⁠ ⁠ Many women travel from Africa to the Mediterranean in search of employment opportunities, and unfortunately, upon arrival, find these agencies are false. The “employers” take the workers’ phones and documentation and begin the dark cycle of exploitation. There is a mixture of labor trafficking that often also includes sexual exploitation.⁠ ⁠ If the women are able to escape, they risk the vulnerability of being identified by local law enforcement and falsely imprisoned for not having personal documentation. Oftentimes, their employer will accuse them of stealing, and having false criminal charges placed against them as well. Once they are in prison, however, O.U.R. can step in and provide all of the services needed in order to facilitate their freedom.⁠ ⁠ One of O.U.R.‘s full-time contractors in the Mediterranean helps organize and facilitate the paperwork necessary to get the women out of prison. Once the negotiations have been finalized with local law enforcement and the court, O.U.R. purchases the survivors’ flights home to freedom.⁠ ⁠ Before arriving, O.U.R. aftercare has arranged with a local partner to meet them at the airport. They provide transportation and organize aftercare services and vocational training for them as needed. ⁠ ⁠ In one of the West African countries, donations have helped fund a new aftercare program run by O.U.R.’s partners, to support these women as they return home. ⁠ O.U.R. is grateful to have repatriated 34 survivors from the Mediterranean back to their homes in Africa, and the team will be nearby to offer any additional support to the survivors as they heal and integrate back into life at home.

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In Thailand, an operation known as Operation Tofusung began last September to rescue four underage females from an offender. The O.U.R. Ops Team came across an online profile selling minors for sex, which the Department of Provincial Administration (DoPA) verified and launched an official investigation. This led to O.U.R. Ops Team members going undercover to help on the operation together with the local police.⁠ ⁠ Since the rescue operation in September of 2020, the offender has been on the run. In March of this year, the trafficker was finally located and arrested by the Royal Thai Police.⁠ ⁠ He has been charged with human trafficking-related charges, and his request for bail has been denied due to the nature and seriousness of the offenses. ⁠ ⁠ At the time of his arrest, another survivor, age 16, was rescued and is currently in an aftercare facility where she is receiving care and support from O.U.R.’s Aftercare team and local government agencies. ⁠ ⁠ We are grateful that the Royal Thai Police were able to locate and arrest the trafficker after he fled from law enforcement. ⁠ ⁠ The survivors involved in the operation are currently on their path of healing, and O.U.R. will continue to support them in whichever way they need.⁠