It is unfortunate that not enough attention has been paid to a worldwide scourge: kidnapping people and using them as slave labor or pressing them into sexual bondage.
In an ongoing effort to combat the damaging effects of companies with ties to human trafficking, Timothy Partners, Ltd. (“TPL”), the advisor to Timothy Plan family of funds, has been taking ground on the fight against this depravity. By filtering investments in these companies, Timothy Plan aims to make a positive impact on our culture and promote investment options aligned with Biblical principles.
According to the U.S. State Department, an estimated 27.6 million people worldwide are being trafficked at any given time. Human trafficking is “a crime whereby traffickers exploit and profit at the expense of adults or children by compelling them to perform labor or engage in commercial sex.”
Children are especially vulnerable. The “trade” in children is facilitated by a global market in child pornography. Social media companies are also enablers, using increasingly sophisticated algorithms that yield personal information. An estimated 500,000 child predators are active online every day, according to Operation Underground Railroad.
The awful trade in child sex gained much more exposure during the July 4 weekend, when Angel Studios began showing a major film, “Sound of Freedom” starring Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ,” “The Thin Red Line,” “G.I. Jane,” TV’s “Person of Interest.”)
Based on the true story of Tim Ballard, a former U.S. government agent who quit to devote his life to rescuing children from global sex traffickers, it should strike a nerve with the public.
Written and directed by Alejandro Monteverde (“Bella” and “Little Boy”) and produced by Eduardo Verástegui, who starred in “Bella,” the movie was shot as a real-life thriller, with plenty of action and suspense. High quality is a given, since it was produced by the same studio that makes “The Chosen,” the ongoing megahit series about Jesus and his followers.
It’s this kind of entertainment that Timothy Plan, which I founded in 1994, has worked to foster. We support the Christian Film and Television Commission’s Movieguide®, which encourages Hollywood to make family-friendly films. And each year, Timothy Plan’s advisor TPL sponsors the Kairos Prize® for spiritually uplifting screenplays.
We exclude companies like The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) and Meta Platforms, Inc. (NasdaqGS: META) (Facebook and Instagram) from our investment portfolios because they consistently violate our Biblically Responsible Investing standards.
The 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report found that by far, Facebook is the No. 1 platform used by sex traffickers to recruit victims. Researchers found that 59% of all online sex trafficking of children and adults occurs on Facebook. The report states that 65% of child victims recruited on the internet were found on Facebook, with the majority (89%) between the age of 14-17. Facebook also owns the second-most active child recruiting site, Instagram (14%).
Stringent moral filtering criteria at Timothy Plan ensure that shareholders’ money is not invested in any company that has a pattern of contributing to the cultural pollution of society, including human trafficking. This research is provided by ICSRI through a software tool called eVALUEator. eVALUEator also offers a free tool for investors called Christian Investing Tool (christianinvestingtool.com).
For example, Timothy Plan’s Liberty filter excludes bonds by private companies Cargill, Inc., Mars, Inc., public companies The Hershey Co (NYSE: HSY) and Nestlé S.A. (OTC: NSRGY) for using children in the chocolate production process, mostly in West Africa. The companies say they are cleaning up their act. Fine. When and if they do, they might be welcome again in Timothy Plan’s portfolio holdings.
Timothy Plan also excludes Apple Inc. (NasdaqGS: AAPL), which makes iPhones in China and which lobbied against H.R.6210, the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.” The law was aimed at stopping well-documented horrors against the Muslim minority Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region. A later, less stringent version was signed into law by President Biden on Dec.23, 2021.
Apple Inc. also lobbied against the H.R.1187 which would have required businesses to report to the Treasury Department if they discover that a supplier or other business partner is using Chinese forced labor. Timothy Plan also omits Nike, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) and several other companies that exploit Chinese slave labor.
Now is the time to review your portfolio holdings to see if you own any of the above-mentioned companies.
Internet Watch Foundation, an online watchdog, reported that in only two years, they confirmed 118 cases of child rape and trafficking on Pornhub. A 15-year-old girl was rescued after 58 videos of her being tortured and raped were found on Pornhub. Hear more stories like hers on Pornhub Exposed [no images, only audio].
These are not adult performers playing a role in a movie, as bad as that is; these are real videos of women and children being violated, abused, trafficked and traumatized.
The good news is that the campaign has had a major impact. According to anti-Pornhub site Traffickinghub.com, Pornhub is on the run:
“In January 2020, Pornhub was the largest and most popular porn website in the world, the 10th most visited website across the Internet (more than Netflix, Amazon, or Yahoo), and the third most influential tech company in society only surpassed by Facebook and Google.
“By January 2021, Pornhub deleted 80% of the site totaling 10 million videos, lost all payment processing (MasterCard, Visa, Discover and PayPal), upended its business model and is now a global pariah — facing 7 major lawsuits and under investigation by multiple governments for child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and other illegal activity.”
Timothy Plan’s advisor TPL, is encouraging concerned citizens to sign a petition to shut down Pornhub once and for all. More than 2.3 million people have signed it.
On opening day, July 4th, the “Sound of Freedom” movie outpaced the “Indiana Jones” movie by Disney grossing more than $14 million in revenue.
Operation Underground Railroad, the sponsor of the film, is hoping to sell two million tickets to put the film on the map. The figure represents the two million children trafficked annually.
Timothy Partners, Ltd. is equipping those in the battle such as local pregnancy centers who are on the frontlines serving those who have been affected by human trafficking. One way we’re doing this is by buying out movie theaters on July 14 to host screenings of educational films on the subject like “Sound of Freedom.”
We’ve even partnered with Salem Little Rock’s “The Dave Elswick Show” in Little Rock, Arkansas where we’ve bought out a movie theater to host the movie.
These screenings serve as a platform for education, fostering awareness, and sparking conversations within the community. By shining a light on this pervasive issue, Timothy Plan aims to empower individuals to make informed choices and take a stand against sex trafficking.
May this film light a fire not only in America but around the world.
Art Ally is the founder of the Timothy Plan family of Biblically Responsible Investing mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
Before investing, carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the investment company. This and other important information can be found in the Fund’s prospectus. To obtain a copy, visit timothyplan.com or call 800-846-7526. Read each prospectus carefully before investing.
Because the Timothy Plan Funds do not invest in excluded securities, the Funds may be riskier than other funds that invest in a broader array of securities. There are risks when a fund limits its investments to particular-sized companies, and all companies are subject to market risk.
Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. To read more about Timothy Plan and access fund information, including the prospectus, fact sheets, performance, and holdings for each Fund, go online: mutual funds at fund.timothyplan.com and ETFs at etf.timothyplan.com. Mutual Funds distributed by Timothy Partners, Ltd., member FINRA. ETFs distributed by Foreside Fund Services, LLC, member FINRA. Timothy Partners, Ltd. is not affiliated with Foreside Fund Services, LLC.