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The Controversy of the Child Trafficking Film, “Sound of Freedom”

Sound of Freedom is a thriller film that quietly rose the ranks in the recent season of blockbusters that have premiered over the past few weeks. Earning its place among the best-performing movies of 2023, alongside other hits such as ‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘Barbie’, Sound of Freedom explores human trafficking at its ugliest roots. 

Unfortunately, while Sound of Freedom has gradually become popular as more audiences get the chance to watch it for themselves, the film has found itself in hot water recently. In an ironic turn of events, Sound of Freedom has broken the Internet even further, but for all the wrong reasons.

Just a few days ago, Fabian Marta — a funder of the film, has been arrested and charged with felony child kidnapping according to recent reports. As sad as it sounds, the impact of Sound of Freedom cannot be denied. 

However, with the impact that it brings, also comes along a string of other controversies that plague the film as well. Yes, there are other questionable aspects that surround the film to this day.

Sound of Freedom is a film adaptation of the real-life events that surrounded Tim Ballard, a former Homeland Security agent, and his fight against sex trafficking through Operation Underground Railroad — an anti-trafficking organization that Ballard had founded.

Starring Jim Caviezel, who plays the role of Ballard in the film, Sound of Freedom has been on the receiving end of a lot of controversies despite its success at the box office — with earnings estimated to be around $164 million as of this article’s writing. 

Critics of the film have pointed out that Sound of Freedom has missed the bigger picture of the campaign against child sex trafficking. Some have pointed out the film’s inaccurate depiction of child trafficking, criticizing the film’s inclination towards conspiracy theories and other myths that surround child trafficking.

An anti-child trafficking expert was able to capture the main essence of the criticism towards Sound of Freedom, she said the film is, “grounded in this sensational perspective of what child trafficking would be”.

Sound of Freedom is also a huge hit among members of QAnon, a far-right conspiracy group that clings on to the belief that a huge global trafficking ring is actively kidnapping and abusing children. 

Even Ballard himself parted ways from Operation Underground Railroad after an internal investigation of the organization was conducted. Leaving the public with more questions than answers.

Child trafficking is a sensitive topic for many, and while the efforts of films such as Sound of Freedom to bring more awareness to the issue are appreciated — more diligence and understanding should be taken in order to properly handle conversations around global issues such as sex trafficking of children.

By Neil Gregorio

Neil Gregorio is a graduating university student who writes as a hobby; when he is away from the keyboard, he spends his time watching Japanese animated shows and jamming out to his favorite rock music.



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