By Jaclynn Willert, Director/Founder Team Freedom “Pro Athletes Ending Slavery”, International Justice Mission
Fresh off the energy and focus of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January, the work to protect people from human trafficking and slavery must continue. For International Justice Mission (IJM), it’s a 365-day-a-year-effort. We partner with local authorities in 14 countries to protect people from modern-day slavery and violence, rescue and restore survivors and bring criminals to justice.
Right now, there are over 40 million children, women and men being trafficked or trapped in modern-day slavery – making it the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. The number of people enslaved today would fill every NFL stadium nearly 20 times over. It would fill Angel Stadium every day for almost 2.5 years. That may sound daunting, but we’re working to change that and we need you. This year, IJM is shining a spotlight not only on the human trafficking that occurs around the Super Bowl and the week leading up to this big sporting event, but the reality that trafficking happens every day all around the world.
Together with “Team Freedom,” IJM’s pro athlete community, we’re using our power to stand up on behalf of those who are abused. Team Freedom includes families from the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympics and US National Soccer, all using their platforms and power to inspire others to take tangible and impactful action. These are families like our dear friends Deidre and Albert Pujols, trailblazers who lighted a fire in MLB in the fight against human trafficking. They have continued the conversation about human trafficking with Strike Out Slavery events in MLB parks and the work of SOS’ Player Ambassadors all baseball season long.
IJM’s pro athlete team is taking a stand around SBLV because everyone deserves to be free. 150 Million people from 30 countries will tune into the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay. What could be possible if many of those same people tuning in on February 7 came together – with one organized voice – in the fight to end slavery? Join the IJM SBLV team and take a pledge to help end trafficking in our lifetime. We need YOU – we need everyone – in this fight! Let them hear us.
If you missed our Guest Blogs on Ways to Fight Human Trafficking at Home and Shopping Fair Trade, check them out for effective ways to work against human trafficking in your daily life! You can also learn more about International Justice Mission and its work here.