I am rather embarrassed to say a few years ago I had no idea that we lived in a world where human beings are being trafficked like they were in the time of slavery. Today human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business ($99 million in Dallas alone) that affects people of all ages, all races, in every community around the world.
Sadly, Dallas is one of the prime locations for this, both for people being sold into human slavery, and women and children of all ages, being sexually exploited with little hope of ever finding a way out. By using force, fraud, or coercion predators exploit human beings for labor or commercial sex. Women and children, often as young as 12 years old, are often lured with false promises and manipulated by people they trust. Then, they are forced and coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or other types of labor. If they try to get out they or their families are threatened, leading to a never ending cycle of abuse.
It is not a pretty topic, in fact for many it is too uncomfortable to even discuss. But it is a reality and without the discussion, change will never occur.
Thankfully, organizations like New Friends New Life are here to change that, publicly having that conversation and bringing awareness to the issues facing thousands of women in our community every day, thus changing their fate and future.
New Friends New Life restores and empowers formerly trafficked teenage girls, and sexually exploited women and their children. Through support groups and spiritual guidance, education and job skills training, interim financial support, and general counseling they transform the lives of these women and their children, ending what is often years of physical and mental abuse, addiction and poverty.
Additionally, through the work they are doing within the local community, and across the state, they are shining a spot light on the problem, bringing awareness to the issue, training every day individuals, like you and me, on what to look for to help prevent teenagers and women from falling prey to predators in their future.
It is amazing work, impacting our community every day. And, you can help. Coming up on April 10 New Friends New Life will hold their annual Wings Luncheon, this year featuring a conversation with Kevin Costner, interviewed on stage by my love, Gary Cogill. Gary has interviewed Costner dozens of times through the years for his films like Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Tin Cup and Robin Hood, and we have both enjoyed seeing his band in concert a few times. As with any interview Gary does, you never know what he will ask, ensuring this will be one fun luncheon.
The academy award winning director will also be joined by Wings Luncheon Honorary Chairs First Lady Laura Bush and Ruth Altshuler. The response for the event has been great, with only a handful of tickets/tables still available for purchase. Tickets start at $175 a seat, available here.
Gary and I are so proud to help support this wonderful organization and hope you can join us. If you can’t attend the luncheon, please check out the New Friends New Life website, learning more about the impactful work they do, and help if you can.