Film about man's crusade against child sex slavery discussed, previewed at Comic Con

Published: Monday, April 21 2014 10:52 p.m. MDT

"We need the people to step up," he said, noting that the film was privately paid for and that donations go solely to Operation Underground Railroad. "Whatever money comes in goes to spreading that bright light (on the issue)."

Ballard said the objective is to shine a light so bright that those who are enslaving children will decide it's too dangerous and quit. He said there are many parallels between their efforts to free the estimated two million children in sexual slavery and the efforts of abolitionists in the 19th Century.

"Our goals are high. We want to stop the problem," Ballard said. "We believe we can stop this and we can."

David Barlow, who helps run Operation Underground Railroad, said the film will help people confront the realities of the problem.

"It's something somebody doesn't want to see, they would rather look the other way but we can't solve it until we stare it in the face," Barlow said.

He said it was a partnership with a production studio in Utah — Creative Media Group — that led them to Comic Con, but that the reception had been great. The average donation, he said, was $105 and pointed to the "OUR" acronym for the nonprofit organization.

"It's 'OUR' cause, it's something we're doing together with the public, something people can be involved in," Barlow said.

Shannon Black, of Orem, attended the panel discussion and said she was interested in the way it emphasized story telling and the tool it can be to affect change.

"I was already aware of the human trafficking issue, but this was really interesting thinking about the difference between what can be done through political channels and as a private citizen," Black said. "I believe personally that stories can be a great vehicle for social change… helping society come to terms with the ugliness under the surface."

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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