The Abolitionists: Why We’re Seeing the Movie We Don’t Want to See

On May 16th we’re asking everyone to go see the movie, “The Abolitionists”– a hidden-camera-documentary about child trafficking. And here’s a disclaimer:

We’re terrified to see this movie.


Those who know Brooke know she’s a happy-ending kind of a gal. She has the Pride and Prejudice Blu-Ray on repeat- and we’re 99.9% positive this movie will not be light, fun, or happy to watch. Soni gets easily overwhelmed about the scary things in the world. And somedays Whitney would like to run to the mountains with her kids and lock them inside and pretend like sad things aren’t happening.

But that isn’t possible, nor is it right.

A few months ago, we sat down with Tim Ballard and learned of his organization, Operation Underground Railroad. Tim calls himself a modern day “abolitionist,” rescuing children from the horrors of sex slavery. This is something very sad to think about…but after hearing the truth we’ll never be the same. Here are a few things we learned:

–There are 27 million slaves in the world today. That’s more slaves than in the 300 years of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade combined. 2 million of these are children.
–Human trafficking is the third most lucrative crime in the world and it is the fastest-growing international crime.
–Every 30 seconds a child is sold into the sex trade. The average price to rent a child for the night is $300– $1000 if the child is a virgin. The average age of a trafficked child is 13.
–There are over 100,000 children in the United States who are being trafficked. This is happening right under our noses and it is a direct result of pornography.

This information is very difficult to hear. But the bottom line is this: We’re Christians. Surely none of us want to stand before God and tell him we turned away from hard things we saw or heard. We don’t want to be the Levite or the priest who “passed by on the other side” of someone who needed help (Luke 10). Especially a child.

Last October President Russell M Nelson quoted Boyd K. Packer as saying this: “We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out.”

President Nelson then said, “Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world.”

As our friend Fiona Givens recently told us, “We need women who are not afraid of the dark.”

It’s not enough anymore to ignore the dark spaces, the problems, the wounded on the side of the road. We can’t pretend they’re not there. Nor can we be afraid. In order to fight the dark we have to face it. We have to organize, direct, teach, speak out, and lead. We have to be willing to educate ourselves and others and use our faith to make important things happen.

We want to be those kind of women.

Child trafficking is evil in its worst form– and short of learning karate and joining the #OURrescue jump team, it can be difficult to know how to help. But here’s what we CAN do:

1- See “The Abolitionists” Monday, May 16th (trailer). Most theaters are only giving this movie ONE chance. It must do well opening night so theaters will continue to play it and so it will spread. Click here to find one of the 480 participating theaters near you. It may be difficult to see, but I promise you will leave inspired and empowered. (Plus, 15% of your ticket price goes directly to rescuing children!)

2- If you can’t see the movie, buy tickets anyway and give them away. The goal on Monday is to sell seats so the theaters will continue playing the movie. More exposure of the movie = more people educated on the issue = more kids rescued.

3- Please spread the word! Post the trailer on social media and TELL people why you feel strongly about supporting the film. If there’s not a theater close enough to you, get others there Monday night so it WILL come to you. Direct people to this link to find theaters near them.

4- Donate to Our Underground Rescue here.

Fighting darkness takes time, energy, and resources. It’s not easy to figure out how to put filters on a computer, talk to our kids about pornography, or learn about child trafficking.

But this is the generation God put you in.

For some reason, He needed you here, at this time, in this place. These are the evils of our day, and we are His hands. We can be the faith driven women President Nelson is pleading for, anxiously engaged in good causes and fearlessly fighting the dark.

Do we WANT to see evidence of this kind of evil in the world? No. But will we face it? Yes.

Join us. This Monday night, choose to stop on the side of the road.

UPDATE: Our friend Sandra Turley posted these words on her IG and we thought it would be helpful here, coming from one who has seen a screening of the film: “Some of my girlfriends have said they simply can’t see this because they will cry too much…please listen up: yes, you will shed a tear, but the movie is not overly explicit nor is it too much to handle…the producers have done an extraordinary job to allow us to see and learn what needs to be done to save children across the world without showing us the images that would haunt our nightmares. But let us remember, children and adolescents are living the nightmare….Information is power and  we need to use our power to save children from sex slavery.”


The three of us will be watching “The Abolitionists” at the following theaters. We’d love to see you if you are in one of these areas! If not, use this link to find which of the 480 theaters is near you. Remember, this is a ONE NIGHT event, pending it’s success! Let’s pack the theaters!

Brooke: Cinemark Tinseltown in Layton, 7:30
Soni: Cinemark Farmington Station Park, 7:30
Whitney: Edwards in Idaho Falls, 7:30pm (She’s driving 180 miles to see it! We double dog dare you to drive farther ;))

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  • James Dooley - We’ll see the 7:30 show on Monday, 16 May, at Tinseltown, Layton.ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - And the Christian obsession with virginity is also feeding that higher price tag.

    And there are plenty of Christians engaging in the trade. Just like it happens under our noses, it happens with members of our communities.

    We dont need to fight trafficking out of religious obligation, but shared humanity. Use your cross as a rallying symbol if you must, but dont hand out free passes to church members because they show up once a week. If you want to seriously stop trafficking, start at home, in your community, with your own belief systems.ReplyCancel

    • Jenn - It not just a Christian thing. Muslims believe in the virgins in heaven waiting on them. Pagans believe in virginity and its purity. Most of man kind is obsessed with virginity. Some African nations paractice mutilating girls to keep virginity. The list goes on. The factor in this is not religion, it’s about standing up and doing something.ReplyCancel

  • charles fife - I would like to know more on how to stop thid dick crime against humanity!ReplyCancel

    • Susan Florence Ryland - This is horrific and the problem feels overwhelming!! What can a disability pensioner in Brisbane Australia contribute?ReplyCancel

      • Kendra - Susan, non of us can do what these brave heroes are doing, but we can support them in their mission! Donate, spread the word about their organization, share articles and stories about their work, petition your local movie theaters to bring this documentary to your community. Become educated on how this heinous industry operates, and do what you can to educate others. You can do all of this from the comfort and safety of your home. You can also help educate others on the porn industry, and how the images produced are a direct result of slavery. Regardless of what people believe about workers in the porn industry, the vast majority of them are drug addicted runaways, who are manipulated and coerced into selling their bodies to feed the addictions of others. These addictions lead to even more human trafficking. Porn is not a victimless habit. It relies and thrives on slavery. Educate yourself, then warn your neighbors. Knowledge is the best weapon against this most heinous evil. God bless you in your efforts!ReplyCancel

  • Jana Danzer - Be the person that changes comes someones day today with a smileReplyCancel

  • Zach Speck - Thank ya’ll so much for sharing this. Like the gentleman in the trailer said, “Good people don’t know how vast this problem is.” I knew that child prostitution was a problem, but had no idea that it was this big of a problem.

    Justice will come and will repay everyone according to their acts – whether they be good or bad. Rest assured.

    I will do my best to raise awareness and do what I can to help stop this. Again, thank ya’ll for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Laura Hodges - What a great cause. Let’s each do what we can. Additionally, stand up for women and children’s rights and privacy and take a stand against those corporations who’s policies endanger women and children. Namely Target with their corporate bathroom policy!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - I wish I had known sooner and if there it’s another showing I’ll buy a ticket and encourages others to go…I’ll fight for these things…I’m already very aware of the truth of this world…but due to very personal experiences with my own sexual assaults and my daughter’s and my PTSD I’ll not attend personally… Please remember there are those more personally aware of this world’s evil and bear the scars of it on their very souls. They will fight but be patient if it’s hard for them….ReplyCancel

  • Anne Riggs - Is there any way I could buy a copy of this movie?ReplyCancel

    • Jmi - Anne, check with your local Anti-Sex Trafficking organizations, they should be able to arrange for another showing. I was able to see it in the Hawaii State Capital theater hosted by the Hawaii State Anti-Trafficking Coalition and Ho’ola Na’Pua (

  • Michelle F Busath - My prayers for all people affected by these horrible truths. May we all be directed, through inspiration from a Loving Heavenly Father, to learn how we can stop this great evil and bring our Women and Children back into a loving, safe and healing environment.ReplyCancel

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