Nice People Networking

Hunting for sex-traffickers abroad — by posing as johns

Tim Ballard, founder of Operation Underground Railroad, is "arrested" by police in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as part of a sting on child sex traffickers there in November 2014. (Operation Underground Railroad)
Tim Ballard, founder of Operation Underground Railroad, is “arrested” by police in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as part of a sting on child sex traffickers there in November  2014. (Operation Underground Railroad)
By Tom Jackman

The American men walked into the darkened brothel in Bangkok and were soon offered a variety of prostitutes, young and old, male and female. “You go in and try to look like a john as much as possible,” one of the Americans said later of his undercover role. “Try to act like them, talk like them. You don’t go in and order a glass of milk.”

The men moved from brothel to brothel, each “packed with foreigners,” the American said. “You’re sitting next to these perverts, not only having to interact with them but become one of them. It’s common to go shop around. You sit there, get a price,” he said. “It was probably the darkest underworld playground of the devil that I’ve ever been in.”

The American was former Washington Nationals baseball player Adam LaRoche, and he described participating in a “rescue” operation last year with The Exodus Road, one of a number of American nonprofit groups that are fighting human trafficking in a new way: by luring pimps into the open, and then working with local law enforcement to arrest the traffickers and free the victims.

Members of the groups, often former U.S. military members or law enforcement officers, pose as American tourists looking to party with groups of underage sex workers. Some groups, such as The Exodus Road and Operation Underground Railroad, invite supporters or television crews to come along to spread word about the horrors, and witness the thrilling moments when sex traffickers are handcuffed, and terrorized children are rescued.

“We believe the problem will never go away unless everybody knows about it and does something,” said Tim Ballard, a former investigator with the Department of Homeland Security who started Operation Underground Railroad, based in Anaheim, Calif.

Read full story on washingtonpost.com

Sep 23, 2016

Category: DR News |

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Last updated December 8, 2016 at 12:39 AM
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