Katherine Taulman Vaughan


I have awaited the Sound of Freedom film for a long time, ever since I saw interviews with Tim Ballard and heard his spell-binding stories of trafficked children. Then when Jim Caviezel was cast to play Tim, the entire topic exploded in my mind as these two men described the horror associated with this demonic practice. How thrilling it was to learn of a modern-day dragon slayer.

When I finished the first draft of Raine’s story, I realized the ending was tepid at best. But then that damn muse kept whispering something about child pornography and that I should tackle a most unpleasant subject. Years passed and child trafficking haunted me as I went down some filthy rabbit holes and learned about the most abhorrent multi-billion-dollar business imaginable. It was in the Atlanta airport that I started seeing signs of trafficking. “Report suspicious activity…” I wrote down a number just in case.

I had been exposed to abuse issues when I wrote a book about cults years ago. Interviewing former members and their children, I learned that the children were expendable. And because they were left alone much of the time, strangers and pedophiles were free to abuse them.

One tween told me her mother’s boyfriend tied her to a bench in the back of his van while he delivered dope around Denver. The mother had left him to babysit while she prayed and chanted all day. The girl wasn’t willing to reveal what else took place. Eventually, she was reunited with a relative outside the cult. I visited them, and we had an intervention of sorts. It was gut-wrenching watching the lovely woman who had accepted responsibility for this child, learn what the girl had been through. It was a quick but serious class on Cult Life 101.

But by far the most heinous situation I witnessed was a young mother (Ophelia) whose 3-year-old daughter (Ellie) had been raped by her stepfather. The cult’s leader had joined them in marriage and not only did the husband abuse the little girl, he impregnated Ophelia. Now the young woman was 8 months pregnant with the child of a man who raped her toddler. (Names are fictitious)

I became involved when a therapist asked me to drive Ophelia and Ellie to her office for a session. I drove to their mobile home and collected the very pregnant mother and her hollow-eyed – very quiet, daughter. The woman had heard of me because the cult had advertised me as a pariah, so she was skittish about being around me. She was conflicted hearing stories about me as an ogre, yet here I was helping her heal her traumatized child. It was one of those “show me, don’t tell me” moments. I gave her as much exit-counseling info as we had time for, and I didn’t see her again. I heard her baby was stillborn and one of the cult leaders put it in a shoebox and explained that the baby obviously had some karmic backstory to account for. I don’t remember where the infant was buried, but I do know Ophelia left the cult and became an outspoken critic.

Those seeds were planted when I was a naïve journalist just starting to investigate unpleasant topics, and I filed them away in my “repugnant file.” Then years later as I wrote the ending of Raine’s story, the horrible tales resurfaced like bubbles in a fetid pond. Only now I was older and wiser, and I learned that sexual abuse has no particular profile. I found that child abusers come in all flavors: doctors, lawyers, pastors, politicians, coaches, teachers, and Hollywood– anywhere a perverted adult is in authority over a child. It made me sick writing some of the scenes I did, but somehow, I was compelled. I wanted to awaken my readers to the sad truth about a pandemic that no one wants to talk about because it’s so ugly.

So, forgive me.
Sound of Freedom’s theme is that “God’s children are not for sale.” I would add that neither were they created to be abused by degenerates who might appear harmless, but instead, these miscreants are amoral and empty inside with nothing but a deep, dark hole where their souls once resided.

If you are a human trafficking victim or have information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.

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