February 26, 2020, WASHINGTON, D.C.— Major League Baseball’s (MLB) and MLB Players Association’s (MLBPA) support and leadership in the fight against the $150 billion-a-year industry of human trafficking-in which 40 million people are currently trapped.— has reached far beyond the baseball diamond.
Adding to their social responsibility umbrella to educate fans as well as their $500,000 pledge to anti-trafficking nonprofits, MLB and the MLB Players Association jointly established the MLB-MLBPA Human Trafficking Grant Advisory Board and have asked International Justice Mission (IJM) to have a presence on the Board. In addition to the Board, they’ve also put together an Executive Council consisting of MLB players and human rights activist Dr. Richard Lapchick who are leaders in the fight against trafficking and are tasked with speaking into the development the various elements of this new, joint social responsibility initiative.
Director of Strategy of IJM’s Team Freedom Pro Athlete Program, Jaclynn Willert, is serving as the IJM representative on the Board to provide counsel as MLB and the MLBPA work to generate awareness of human trafficking in marquee MLB events and put an end to what is considered “modern-day slavery.” Also serving on the Board are MLB’s Vice President of Social Responsibility Melanie LeGrande, MLBPA’s Senior Director of International and Domestic Player Operations Leonor Colon, and other nonprofits, such as Empower Her Network. IJM’s success as the largest international anti-slavery organization in the world - in rescuing more than 53,000 victims from violence, convicting almost 2,000 perpetrators in local courts and helping to protect over 150 million people - will provide experienced insight to serve in an advising role on the Board towards their allied goal. IJM has also been working for several years with MLB players who are major advocates and champions in this issue as part of IJM’s Pro Athlete Program “Team Freedom.”
IJM’s Director of Professional Athlete Partnerships Donald Brown stated, “We applaud MLB and the MLBPA’s commitment to end modern-day slavery, and we are excited for the triumphs that will arise from this unified belief in the mission of justice. We are determined to end slavery in our lifetime, and a historic partnership like this can be a hinge that swings open doors for freedom for all people.”
About International Justice Mission:
International Justice Mission is a global organization that protects people in poverty from violence. IJM partners with local authorities in 19 program offices in 11 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and other forms of abuse against people who are poor. IJM works to rescue and restore victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and help strengthen public justice systems. Learn more at IJM.org.