Trump to Screen Controversial Sex-Trafficking Film at Bedminster Club

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Donald Trump will host a screening of the controversial film Sound of Freedom at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club next week. The film, a thriller about the bust of a Colombian child-trafficking ring, has become popular among conservatives while drawing criticism from anti-trafficking experts.

“The film is based on the true story of federal agent Tim Ballard’s mission to save children from child sex traffickers in Colombia,” the former president’s announcement reads. “Liberal media outlets like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Hollywood Reporter have refused to review the film, while publications like Rolling Stone, Washington Post, CNN, and The Guardian have trashed the film and mocked the millions of movie-goers who purchased tickets to screenings.”

Trump’s campaign also pointed out that the film’s producer, Eduardo Verástegui, is a former member of Trump’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity.

Ballard, portrayed by conspiracy theorist Jim Caviezel, is a former Homeland Security agent turned anti-trafficking activist. On Thursday, Vice reported that Ballard has stepped away from Operation Underground Railroad, an anti-trafficking organization he founded, as well as that he has been accused of severely embellishing its work. The reasoning behind Ballard’s departure remains unclear.

Ballard served as an adviser to Trump on the White House’s former Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking. Both Ballard and Verástegui have been invited to attend Trump’s screening of the film.

Rolling Stone has spoken to various anti-trafficking experts who criticized the film for its sensationalized, Taken-style representation of sexual exploitation, which ultimately detracts from efforts to identify and protect victims of exploitation. “What they are learning is so divorced from reality that it does sling back to create harm,” says Erin Albright, an attorney with more than a decade of experience in anti-trafficking litigation. “It creates harm when certain policies aren’t passed because we think trafficking looks one way, and it’s another way. It creates harm when victims don’t recognize themselves in these narratives.”

Caviezel, the star of the film, has a long-documented history of promoting baseless conspiracies regarding child sex trafficking, including absurdist claims that an elitist cabal is harvesting the blood of children for consumption. Ballard once promoted the baseless rumor that the furniture company Wayfair was selling children on its website.

The movie’s production studio has encouraged supporters to purchase tickets for strangers. The film received a major boost last week when Trump publicly endorsed it on Truth Social.

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