ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols may have two World Series rings, but his wife Deidre Pujols has been working to be a champion for countless girls and young women.
On Saturday, Pujols teamed up with the Angels to create the first “Strike Out Slavery Day” at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Her organization Open Gate International presented a check for $400,000 to non-profits that have been battling to prevent young women from being used as sex slaves.
For about a year-and-a-half Pujols has been travelling the world to learn more about human trafficking.
“One of the first stories that really kind of penetrated the inside of me was when I heard a little story in Cambodia about a young girl who sold condoms for her mom while her mom trafficked,” said Pujols.
Rebecca Bender says she was trafficked for nearly six years after being lured off a college campus by a guy who pretended to be her boyfriend.
“I was a varsity athlete. Honor roll student. I had no at risk category and yet I was trafficked,” said Bender.
Stacy Lewis says she was 19 when she accepted a ride from a man at a bus stop.
“At the time, I was headed to college so I was very excited about my future and it was stolen from me in the blink of an eye,” said Lewis.
Nearly a dozen groups were on hand during a resource expo to educate parents and their kids.
Pujols says it’s a problem that’s hitting home — right here — in Southern California.
“Human trafficking has no economic favor. It has no cultural favor. It has no gender favor. It doesn’t care about anything,” said Pujols. “And if we don’t educate our people then it’ll just keep perpetuating.”