ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — Future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols is using his celebrity for a good cause.
He and wife Deidre are raising awareness about human sex trafficking.
As fireworks lit up the night sky over Angel Stadium Saturday night, the two were busy spreading the word about the serious subject.
“The reality is like more slavery exists on the planet now than ever before in history,” says Deidre.
It’s estimated that more than 40 million victims are affected worldwide. In the United States — the estimate is well over 400,000.
Albert says it was Deidre who educated him on the subject.
“I didn’t know the problem this big issue is happening globally. And in our backyard, too,” Albert says.
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen says back yard is literal and figurative. Just outside Angel Stadium, the problem is also pervasive
That is one reason why the couple formed an organization called Strike Out Slavery – which sponsored a resource fair before tonight’s game.
The idea was to connect families with groups like the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force.
Stacy Jewell was sold for sex after she was abducted at a bus stop.
“We won’t let our 9-year-old and our 5-year-old go down the street to school by herself,” Jewell says, “We’re going to monitor that. But now monitor the social media. Monitor the engagement.”
Experts say change will only happen when we re-examine what it means to be a man and eliminate the appetite for illicit sexual encounters.
The aim? “To be empathetic human beings in the world and to see women in a respectful lens. Not as objects to be used for our own self gratification and sexual pleasure,” says Benjamin Nolot of Exodus Cry.
As families walked through a number of resource booths — kids were treated to fun activities like face painting — as a start to a conversation over something Deidre Pujols says we can no longer turn a blind eye to.
“We need people to hear the different capacities that this is happening. So they can be aware,” she says.
Strike Out Slavery is in its second year. The program expanded last month with participation from the Washington Nationals.
For more information about Strike Out Slavery, click here for their official website.