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Tim Ballard says he’s fighting human trafficking in Mexico

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jun 25, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Operation Underground Railroad CEO Tim Ballard was in Mexico on Tuesday, saying he’s consulting on anti-human trafficking operations there.

“I am still consulting,” Ballard said at a news conference near Cancun, “and, no, I don't go (on undercover operations) unless you have a good disguise for me.”

Ballard resigned last year from Operation Underground Railroad over accusations of sexual misconduct. Former employees in Utah claim they never actually saw him rescue children from human trafficking.

Ballard is fighting back against such claims in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. He appeared at a news conference Tuesday near Cancun with that state’s governor and members of law enforcement.

A news release said that in the last 2 ½ years more than 74 minors and 127 adults have been rescued from trafficking in Quintana Roo.

Speaking in Spanish, Ballard maintained human trafficking is happening there.

“And the reason why we work here is because the demand for child trafficking comes from the United States,” Ballard said.

“We are still very committed in fighting against this problem because it is transnational, right?”

FOX 13 asked for specifics about Ballard and his work in Mexico. After the news conference, a representative of Ballard sent an email saying, “Tim and his colleagues have posed as sex tourists – often targeting suspected spas or brothels identified by government investigators.”

The email went onto say traffickers provide Ballard and his team with information they pass to local authorities.

“Mexican officials made clear today how helpful Tim’s undercover work has been to their investigations,” the email said.

Back in Utah, one of Ballard’s assistants, now suing him and claiming he sexually assaulted her, is seeking a protective order against Ballard. A judge has not yet scheduled a hearing for that petition.

Ballard has previously denied any assaults or misconduct.

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