INTERVIEW: Free documentary screening tackles horrors of human sex trafficking

The most recent documentary by Operation Underground Railroad, Operation Toussaint, showcases efforts by Tim Ballard to arrest traffickers and rescue children in Haiti | Image Courtesy: Operation Underground Railroad via website

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Jennifer Saunders about the free, local screening of Operation Toussaint


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — A free, local screening of a documentary on Wednesday, July 18 is aiming to tackle the horrors of human sex trafficking.

Operation Toussaint, a follow-up documentary to Operation Underground Railroad’s The Abolitionists, follows operatives of the private organization in their efforts to rearrest human sex traffickers and save children who are victims of those crimes in Haiti.

“Do you know what the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the United States is all about,” Operation Underground Railroad said on their website. “This 32 billion dollar industry doesn’t have the same national stage or attention as obesity, the war on drugs, racism, or terrorism, and yet it is one of the most heinous and evil practices on the Earth today that is affecting millions. Every 30 seconds, a child is sold….for sex, labor, or organ harvesting.”

Jennifer Saunders is one of several local people working to bring the new documentary to a screen in east Idaho as the group tries to bring awareness to the realities of human sex trafficking throughout the nation and the world.

“It’s a really great film,” Jennifer Saunders told KID NewsRadio. “They do focus on a particular sting that they go on and it actually happened this last January. Really well done.”

Operation Underground Railroad readily acknowledges the topic is difficult to grasp, much less discuss openly. But, officials with the organization also continue to emphasize how vital the conversation is to making a difference.

“It’s a topic people don’t want to talk about because they don’t want to think about it,” Operation Underground Railroad wrote on their website. “It’s too hard for most of us to comprehend this kind of darkness, but if we don’t face it, the evil will continue.”

Those hesitant to dedicate an entire evening to watching a documentary about human sex trafficking, especially given the horrors most victims are forced to endure, shouldn’t worry, Saunders said.

“I know people are concerned of, ‘Oh, sex trafficking, I’m don’t know if I want to know about this,'” Saunders said. “But, you come away hopeful and excited that you can make a difference.”

Saunders also said while the documentary highlights difficult topics and realities, the film is appropriate for teenagers to see.

“After watching the film, I would definitely would say it is something they could come to,” Saunders said. “There were a lot of teens in the room [during the screening] last week and it’s something that they’re familiar with already. It’s not like we’re introducing them to new things. But, it puts it in a way that really opens their eyes…to what’s going on.”

Operation Toussaint will show at the Paramount Theater in Idaho Falls on Wednesday, July 18. Admission is free and Saunders said attendees will receive free popcorn, free drinks and be automatically entered into a raffle for prizes. Tickets are not required in advance and seating opens at 7:30 PM, with raffles starting at 7 PM.