July 28 2023, Washington D.C. – International Justice Mission (IJM)’s professional athlete program, Team Freedom, is celebrating the launch of the Team Freedom Core: its leadership team comprised of 15 professional athlete families. The Team Freedom Core represent four professional sports leagues and bring their wealth of experience to lead Team Freedom in its commitment to end modern slavery in all its forms around the world.
Since its inception in 2014, Team Freedom has leveraged its influence to bring IJM's work before hundreds of millions of people. Team Freedom members have advocated for survivors, traveled internationally to meet IJM front-line teams and raised over $16 million to rescue and restore people from slavery and violence.
“I joined Team Freedom because I believe in IJM and I believe in the mission in getting every single person out of slavery in the world,” said Clayton Kershaw, MLB pitcher and World Series Champion. “As professional athletes we have spheres of influence that we can use in different ways and IJM is great at taking whatever tangible thing we can do and using that to help the people that need it most.”
The Team Freedom Core includes: Trey and Yesenia Burton (NFL), Tyler and Tiffany Clutts (NFL), Zach and Julie Ertz (NFL and NWSL/USWNT), Matt and Sarah Hasselbeck (NFL), Hunter and Parker Henry (NFL), Jordan and Ivana Hicks (NFL), Matt and Leslee Holliday (MLB), Nick and Amy Hundley (MLB), Clayton and Ellen Kershaw (MLB), Adam and Jennifer LaRoche (MLB), Erik and Bianca McCoy (NFL), Nate and Brittani Prosser (NHL), Deidre Pujols (MLB), Adam and Jenny Wainwright (MLB), Benjamin and Kirsten Watson (NFL).
“Part of the reason I had to get involved with IJM was really in the name, ‘Justice.’ The idea that because you are a human being no matter your background, your socioeconomic status, you have the same values anybody else has and should be treated as such,” said Benjamin Watson, 16-year NFL player and Super Bowl Champion. “With IJM, there is a trusted proven plan in place to create justice and prevent injustices from happening around the world.”
About International Justice Mission:
International Justice Mission partners with local authorities in 29 program offices in 17 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children and police abuse of power. IJM’s mission is to protect people in poverty from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. Learn more at: IJM.org.
About IJM’s Team Freedom:
Team Freedom is IJM’s team of over 100 pro athlete families across multiple major sports, including the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), U.S. Soccer and U.S. Olympics. Team Freedom families are committed to using the global power and influence of sports in IJM’s work to protect people in poverty from human trafficking, slavery and other forms of violence.