In 2016, during an undercover operation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Paul Hutchinson, an executive producer of the film “Sound of Freedom,” became embroiled in a deeply troubling incident.
This operation, focused on combating human trafficking, took a disturbing turn when Hutchinson touched the bare breasts of an apparently underage trafficking victim.
The entire incident, along with its aftermath, was documented by videographers associated with Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), a private anti-trafficking organization founded by Tim Ballard.
Following the operation, an investigator from the Davis County Attorney’s Office obtained the footage and meticulously detailed the events as part of a broader criminal investigation into Tim Ballard and OUR, which was conducted in collaboration with the FBI.
Despite the graphic nature of the incident and the concerns raised, this investigation was closed recently without any charges being filed.
Descriptions of the footage, now publicly accessible through a request made by VICE News, indicate that at the time, Hutchinson and the OUR operatives believed the trafficking victim to be approximately 16 years old.
Hutchinson, aged 52, has an extensive background in anti-trafficking activism, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship, with interests ranging from ballistic protection technology to private vaults.
Although affiliated with the Child Liberation Foundation at present, he was previously a prominent fundraiser and operative for OUR before parting ways with Tim Ballard for what he described as reasons similar to those brought to light by investigative journalism.
He Didn’t Dispute the Allegations
Despite being provided with a detailed description of the investigative files, Hutchinson did not deny the actions depicted in the videos or dispute that he touched the trafficking victim’s breasts.
However, he vehemently contested her age, asserting that he possessed a sworn affidavit from Mexican federal police affirming she was over 18.
A detailed description of another video showcases Hutchinson potentially contributing to the demand for trafficking while posing as a wealthy sex tourist.
Requesting Young Girls
According to the investigator’s description, he requested younger girls, described as “mas fresca,” from a trafficker who was showing him images of sex workers.
The trafficker, as outlined in the investigator’s description, directed women working with him to find girls as young as 14 to satisfy Hutchinson’s request.
Adding to Demand
It is essential to clarify that there is no implication in the investigative files that Hutchinson’s behavior aimed to perpetuate trafficking; however, experts with extensive experience in undercover work overseas have expressed concerns.
They argue that Hutchinson’s methods may inadvertently contribute to the demand for trafficking victims, a critical point of contention in the anti-trafficking community.
No Charges Were Filed
Tim Ballard, who has hinted at running for the Senate seat previously held by Mitt Romney, declined to comment on this story.
OUR issued a statement addressing the allegations and emphasizing their commitment to anti-trafficking efforts, pointing out that the Davis County District Attorney had thoroughly investigated the matter, ultimately choosing not to file charges.
23 Victims Were Liberated
Paul Hutchinson himself responded to the allegations, stating, “In regards to the undercover mission in Cabo San Lucas, 23 victims were liberated, and some very bad men are now in prison. Your reference to the trafficker testing our legitimacy is a non-story. I have a sworn affidavit by the federal police saying she was over 18.”
Hutchinson further insisted that all his undercover work was conducted with integrity and honor.
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