May 22, 2019

On today's show, Adrian talks with actress Laurie Holden about her efforts to end child slavery.  Later in the show, Bruce Gale brings us an interview with one of our earlier Peace Fund Kid Heroes, Joshua Williams.

All children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. Yet, millions of children worldwide live in slavery. 

Human trafficking is one of the largest issues facing humanity today.  Human trafficking is modern day slavery and it occurs when one person uses manipulation, threats and/or violence to control another person in order to take advantage of them for economic gain. In disasters, conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies, children can become separated from their families. Left without protection, they are easy prey for traffickers to exploit either by force or with false promises.

Trafficked children are subjected to prostitution, forced into marriage or illegally adopted; they provide cheap or unpaid labor, work as house servants or beggars, are recruited into armed groups and are used for sports. Trafficking exposes children to violence, sexual abuse, HIV infection and violates their human rights.

Trafficking is not just an issue that happens to people in other countries. The United States is a source and transit country, and is also considered one of the top destination points for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. Children are especially susceptible to the deception and manipulation of traffickers. Traffickers recruit at locations that commonly attract youth - like schools, malls, parks, even protective shelters and group homes.  

This brings us to today's interview with Laurie Holden...

Laurie Holden
Laurie Holden

Laurie Holden is an American-Canadian actress and human rights activist.  She is known for her work on Dragged Across Concrete, The Shield, The Walking Dead, The Americans, Dumb and Dumber, X-Files, etc.  @LaurieHolden

Laurie is also a human rights activist, and dedicates much of her time and effort to enriching and protecting the lives of women and children victimized by the sex trade through her philanthropic work with Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating modern day slavery.  She volunteered in the field in Cartagena, Colombia with O.U.R., on a mission that helped liberate 55 young sex slaves and brought down notorious sex trafficker Marcus Bronschidle. The successful sting operation was featured on ABC's Nightline and is the subject of the documentary entitled The Abolitionists

Laurie serves on the Board of Alamasi Collaborative Arts, a Zimbabwean dramatic arts collaborative. She also actively supports Home from Home, a South African non-profit NGO that provides shelter and education for orphans infected and afflicted by HIV.

Joshua Williams
Joshua Williams

Since he was five years old, Joshua Williams has been passionate about feeding others, and through persistence and the help of family members, has been able to accomplish his dream of helping others. In 2005, he started Joshua’s Heart Foundation to help end food insecurity in his community.  JHF is a youth run organization dedicated to the fight against global hunger and poverty.

At eleven years old, Joshua Williams became the youngest recipient ever of the White House Champions of Change Award.  Since 2005, Joshua’s Heart Foundation has distributed over 2.2 MM pounds of food, served over 500,000 meals to families, raised over $770,000 to Stomp Out Hunger and donated over $100,000 in toys, books and clothes.

Bruce Gale brings us an interview with our earlier Kid Hero, Joshua Williams.