SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue of kidnapped children from slavery worldwide, today announced that it has officially merged with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to combine efforts in the fight against human trafficking.
O.U.R. was founded in 2013, and Ed Smart (Elizabeth’s father) came on as the director for prevention and rehabilitation in August of 2014. His role is to help governments in the countries O.U.R. rescues children establish programs to help the freed children recover. He is also working with partner organizations in these countries to provide safe havens for rescued victims.
“Ed is very well connected and a great asset to our team because he knows all the players in the game and he’s so passionate about it because of his personal experiences,” Ballard said about Smart.
The idea to completely merge the similar-minded nonprofit organizations came from Ed Smart. “We are actually one organization.
We’re keeping our separate names, but we’re one board,” Elizabeth said. “We loved that they are an action-oriented group. I wanted to lend my name to a cause that liberates children.”
“In September of 2014, as we discussed the future O.U.R., Elizabeth and I both felt there was a terrific synergy between our missions and it would be powerful to see the two organizations merge to maximize the potential of preventing sexual abuse, rescuing children and providing them with an opportunity for a better future,” Smart said.
Following the victims’ liberation, the hardest battle begins. The Smart’s will work with victims and governments following raids to ensure these children don’t fall back into the same lives