Player Ambassador Albert Pujols is power hitting his way through the 2019 season. But he’s also focused on raising awareness about human trafficking, using baseball as a platform for education to fight against modern-day slavery.
Q: What was your response when your wife, Deidre, first approached you about the issue of human trafficking and Strike Out Slavery?
A: When she shared with me what she saw from traveling around the world, I could see her passion to make an impact and agreed that we had to do something. I have been given an incredible platform with the Angels and Major League Baseball, and I feel it’s my responsibility to use that platform to make a difference. We started Strike Out Slavery in 2017 with the Angels and just one stadium, and since then we’ve grown to even more stadiums and teams. It’s pretty amazing, we’ve seen the power of people coming together to learn more and we know we can make an even bigger impact as more MLB teams join Strike Out Slavery. Plus, this year Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have come onboard with support, which is amazing and we are so grateful.
Q: How were the events this year?
A: This year, we had incredible events at Kauffmann Stadium with the Royals and Brad Keller, at Citi Field with the Mets and Robinson Canó, and at our home stadium. It’s been great to have these players and friends come onboard in support as player ambassadors, encouraging their fans to get behind the cause. At each game, there were thousands of fans that came through the pregame Family Festival who had the opportunity to learn about human trafficking and how they could get involved in the fight against it. Through these events we’ve seen local communities mobilized and come together on this issue. The impact has been truly incredible, both Deidre and I have been deeply moved by the response.
Q: What do you have planned for next year?
A: Next year, we’ll be adding new teams and stadiums to the schedule. I hope we continue to expand each year and eventually reach fans in up to 30 MLB stadiums. I know there are more players and teams that have let us know that they want to get involved. With their support, we will be able to realize this vision of empowering cities across the country to get involved and get educated in fighting human trafficking. We are excited for what’s in store for Strike Out Slavery 2020.
If you suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888 or text BeFree to 233733.