Watch the Interview
New, Collaborative Approaches to Combatting Human Trafficking with Mitzi Perdue
Mitzi Perdue is a businesswoman, author, and Founder of Win This Fight, Stop Human Trafficking Now. She holds a BA degree with honors from Harvard University and a Masters from George Washington University. She’s s a past president of the 40,000 member American Agri-Women and she was a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi.
As a columnist for 22 years, her column, THE ENVIRONMENT AND YOU, was the most widely syndicated environmental columnist in the US.
She is the founder and president of “Win This Fight! Stop Human Trafficking Now” an organization that raises funds and awareness for other anti-trafficking initiatives.
Mitzi presents a way that you can, at no cost, raise awareness about human trafficking while also raising funds.
For more information go to http://www.WinThisFight.org
Read the Interview
Hugh Ballou: Greetings, this is Hugh Ballou. Welcome to The Nonprofit Exchange. Every week, we interview a fascinating person who has some wisdom, experience, or something unique to share. As nonprofit leaders, we need to work on ourselves, grow our skills, grow our awareness, and listen to others who have a passion about a topic and have done some important things. Today is no exception. I have a dear new friend, Mitzi Perdue, who is coming in from somewhere very near to me geographically. Mitzi, welcome. Would you tell people a little bit about who Mitzi is?
Mitzi Perdue: I’d love to. I’m so honored and happy to be here with you. What you do is so close to my heart. As for who I am, gosh, I’m not sure where to start, but I’ll plunge in. My late father was the co-founder and president of the Sheraton hotel chain with my uncle. My late husband was in the chicken business. Perdue brought his company from no employees to 20,000. How this relates to nonprofits is both families, which are very long-lived, believe that philanthropy is the glue that keeps a family together and keeps it going across the generations. I am passionate about a belief in philanthropy and a belief that I want to be a part of it.
Hugh: Love it. Philanthropy is the love of humankind. You have a passion for a lot of different things, I’m imagining. I am beginning to understand what they are. You have a passion about human trafficking and how we can get together and make an impact to stop it. Talk a little bit about how you got acquainted with this problem and got involved in it.
Mitzi: I have to approach this with all the humility in the world because almost everybody I come across who is in this field has been in it for so much longer than I have. I am the newbie. It seems to me the appropriate approach is humility. I got into it in March 2019.
On March 11 at 2pm, I heard a lecture on human trafficking. The speaker made me see things that I couldn’t unsee. Before, the words “human trafficking” were words. New York doesn’t make you think of new York. New England doesn’t make you think of England anew. It’s just New England. Human trafficking didn’t really penetrate my mind until I heard this lecture that changed my life enough that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to combat what must be one of the world’s worst atrocities.
Here is what the speaker said. His name was Paul Hutchinson. His specialty is rescuing children who have been sex trafficked. In part of his lecture, the one that began at 2pm on March 11 in 2019, he showed images of children who were just about to be rescued. Here’s what I couldn’t unsee. The story I am about to tell does have a happy ending. The children at this point didn’t know they were going to be rescued, and you could see on their faces terror, fear, depression. These kids were 10 or 12 years old. Let’s say there were a dozen of them. As Paul Hutchinson continued his lecture, and as I have studied and heard in the years since, those children, if they hadn’t been rescued, had a life expectancy of less than seven years. They would die from disease, overdose, or they might even be murdered for their organs. What could be worse than little boys and girls who have that kind of fate ahead of them?
I’m sitting in the audience listening to what Paul Hutchinson has to say, and I’m as moved as a person can be. As I said, I couldn’t unsee the suffering that I saw in those faces. So I started thinking, I’d really like to write a great big check to Paul’s child liberation foundation. I’m sitting there in the audience, and I face something I bet a lot of other people face also. If you have a new cause you really care about, and you’re a philanthropically inclined person, you write a big check to your new charity, which probably means cutting back on a charity you already support. One I love with all my heart and soul is the food bank. Do I want to cut way back on them so I can give more to combat human trafficking? I’m sitting there in the audience thinking, No, I don’t want to cut back on them. I care about the food bank. I suspect that they really count on my donation. I don’t want to cut back, but I do want to help.
I told you that my life was changed seeing these children who were being trafficked and soon to be rescued, but my life was also changed by a thought I had: I own a desk that is probably at least 400 years old. We believe it belonged to a De Medici cardinal. It occurred to me if I sold that, it could bring attention to trafficking, and it could also enable me to write a great big check. I don’t want to part with this thing. It’s part of my inheritance. It’s been in my family for a very long time. But then I thought, Which would give me more joy? Knowing that it saved people from just unspeakable misery or the pleasure I’d get from owning the thing? Guess what? A really clear cut: I would sell it.
But that led me to another thought. Might there be other people in the same situation who don’t have spare cash lying around but would really like to do something about human trafficking? Might they be willing to sell high value property both to get awareness for human trafficking and to be able to donate funds to combat human trafficking? Those two factors, being aware of the problem and thinking of a possible way to help combat the problem, totally life-changing for me. I have been talking too long. Forgive me for monologuing.
Hugh: No, no, I’m spellbound. It’s an enormous problem that I’m sure many of us have no clue how big it is. Do you want to give us an idea of how big a problem is, even just in America?
Mitzi: Yes, I’d love to share what I’ve learned because I mentioned that my life changed that day. It immediately began a saga of learning everything I could about the problem. Here are some things I learned. The United Nations says that there are more than 40 million people in human slavery. To put that in context, that is the equivalent of every man, woman, and child who inhabits California.
Another factor: During the height of the Trans-Atlantic slavery horror, there were 15 million people. This is 40 million people. I am not into comparing one or the other. Just to give you an idea of the extraordinary scope of this unbelievable catastrophe that is befalling mankind.
Another factor that is terribly important: Human trafficking at this moment is the second-largest source of criminal revenue. The biggest one is drugs. The third one by the way is arms sales. Many times, when human trafficking takes place, that money is funneling up to cartel members who are raking in $150 billion a year. Human trafficking co-exists with all sorts of other illegal and deeply harmful activities, including environmental destruction. It does seem to me the worst scourge that humankind endures. As I mentioned earlier, my approach to this is humility because I don’t know that much about it and I am new at it. I do commit to spending the rest of my life doing whatever is in my ability to do about it.
Hugh: It is an egregious sin. It’s right under our noses. 40 million people, that is worldwide?
Mitzi: Yes, worldwide.
Hugh: It’s probably going on right under our nose, and we’re totally unaware of it. How can we become more aware of the problem and how we can participate? First, how can we become more aware of where it is?
Mitzi: The easy answer to that: everywhere. You’ll be staggered. If you live in a town of more than 10,000, I would bet there is trafficking going on right under your nose. In the United States, there are three major hubs that I know of: Atlanta, Dallas, and New York City. I believe New York City is the biggest. Different people have different opinions.
The thing that keeps it going. There are a lot of things, but among them is what I call the evil equation. I’m not using the word “evil” lightly. This equation is there is extraordinary profits to be made from it, and there is almost no chance of punishment. Extreme profits, no punishment, no deterrence = unimaginable suffering.
Let’s get into the two parts of it. Then let’s get into what we can do about it. There is a huge amount we can all do about it. To start with the extraordinary profits, I mentioned the $150 billion. $150 billion? Normal mortals can’t even imagine that much money. But it’s enough to bribe officials. The profit motive is enough to keep it going. Let’s bring it down to figures that I think we can imagine. Not easily, but more easy than whatever $150 billion means.
I talked with a police officer, part of the vice squad in the New York Police Department. It’s the sex crimes division. He told me that a pimp, to use a more common term, in New York City who has four girls in his stable, a term that some use (not everybody does), but he has four girls who he is trafficking. His income is easily $1 million a year. It’s tax-free, so he gets every bit of it. The girls are living a life of extreme misery. They might be trafficked 10 times a night. Some might even be trafficked 20 times a night.
I heard one person describe what her experience had been. These are terms the woman used. It was a sexual conveyor belt. She serviced one man, and the next person came in. It could be as many as 20 times a night. She is suffering, and he is making $1 million.
I am going to give figures for the world as a whole. The chance of an average trafficker doing jail time or any serious punishment for this crime against humanity: 1 in 100 of being prosecuted. You can see why this horrible situation is just exploding because, and again back to the evil equation, extreme profits, no punishment = unimaginable suffering.
We have talked about the extreme profit and almost no chance of paying a penalty. Let’s go to the extreme suffering. The evil equation is my term for this because that’s how I see it. What about the extreme suffering?
I have talked with psychiatrists. I will mention a favorite of mine, Dr. Robert Cancro. He is the retired head of the department of psychiatry of New York University Langone Medical Center. He has treated in his years of practice both the survivors of human trafficking and also the perpetrators of it.
Let’s assume it’s a girl, as 95% are females that we’re talking about. Those are rough figures. If we’re talking sex trafficking, it’s more likely to be a woman than a man. I want to use the term “girl” because she is probably young. This is what Dr. Cancro told me to try to understand what this girl is likely to be feeling. He told me, “Imagine the most depressed you’ve ever been in your life. Maybe someone you really love died, a parent, a spouse. You felt unmitigated pain.” That’s what he wanted me to imagine. Can you get heavier than that? He said in his practice, the average person who came in for depression, not a trafficked patient, under normal circumstances, that girl who is suffering from depression, the depression had a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the case of a girl who is being trafficked, it did have a beginning, but the middle, unless the girl is rescued, goes on until she dies.
Imagine the worst depression you’ve ever had. I can’t speak to what your source of depression would be, but I’m thinking the death of a loved one. I can think of when my late husband died. I felt so much pain that—I’m against suicide, so I would never do it—but I remember asking God, “Could you send a bolt of lightning my way?” I remember what depression is like. I’m thinking, Good Lord, what must it be like if Dr. Cancro is right, and I have to assume that he is, that it’s like that every single day for a person who is being trafficked? Unimaginable suffering.
By the way, I mentioned reasons that a 12-year-old girl who is being trafficked, why her life expectancy is less than seven years. Suicide is one of the biggest causes that will end her life. Suicide, overdose, disease, or organ harvesting.
Hugh: Mitzi, where do they get these girls from?
Mitzi: The fastest answer is everywhere. Traffickers particularly prey on the vulnerable. I’m going to assume that anything that makes somebody vulnerable to emotional distress, economic distress, whatever the vulnerability is, there is probably a trafficker looking for people just like them.
For example, runaway children. I can’t certify that this is true, but I can certify that there are people who say this is true. Within 12 hours of a child running away, there will be a trafficker who will find them. I am pretty sure that doesn’t mean every child, but the average for a trafficker- Say the young person is in a bus terminal. Traffickers like hanging out there, looking for children who look lost. You asked where they come from, and I am giving you one example.
In this case, the runaway child. The child is probably hungry and not sure where they are going to spend the night. This kindly older person comes up to them and says some kindly words, “Do you need a place to stay tonight? Could you use a nice, warm meal? I understand you have a problem. Let me help.” The kindly person changes into a trafficker as soon as they have control of the young person.
Runaway children are a huge source, but one of the biggest sources of all, at least of young people, is LGBTQ children. They are a favorite of traffickers because maybe they have run away, maybe they have had an unhappy home life. They’re vulnerable to someone who seems kind and offers them security and understanding. I don’t know if this is true, but I have talked with one person who felt of runaways, 50% of the LGBTQ runaways end up being trafficked.
Let me give you another example. This is probably closer to home. In our audience, I hope and pray that the parents listening, I hope you don’t have runaway children. That is not the only vulnerability to them. There is online recruiting. One trafficker may be recruiting 100 different children at once from his computer. Since the majority of the predators who are grooming children are likely to be men, I am going to use male pronouns. That predator can be combing Facebook or other social media, finding someone who has been bullied at school or having trouble with his parents.
Let’s assume it’s a 12-year-old girl. As she is maturing, her hormones are making her more vulnerable than she may have been a few years before or a few years later. She is having trouble with her parents. She is having school trouble. Maybe her parents are experiencing financial difficulties, and they just aren’t there for her. In one way or another, she has this great, big need. The trafficker starts corresponding with her. From her point of view, here is an older person, maybe three or four years older, she thinks; he is probably in his 20s, 30s, and 40s, but that’s not how he presents himself. She finds this older person who understands her and is sympathetic. If she is mad at her parents, he will say, “Yes, you have every right to be mad at your parents. They shouldn’t do that.” He drives a further wedge there. I don’t know how they’re so good at this, but very often, she starts to feel that she is understood and loved. She is willing to meet him.
I was hearing a case recently from a law enforcement officer. He said you wouldn’t believe how far these people can get with a 12-year-old or a 13-year-old. He said he was personally part of rescuing a girl who was 13 years old who stole her parents’ car and drove 200 miles to meet the person who became her abductor. Her parents didn’t have the slightest clue in the world that this was going on. What alerted them was in one instant, their daughter and their car was gone. Every red alert that could exist for them went off. They contacted the police, and the police were able to track the car. They got to this little girl. How did she even know how to drive? The parents were bewildered that this could have happened. The story has a happy ending because license plates can be tracked. The police have abilities that we don’t even know about, figuring out phone calls. They didn’t explain to me all the details of how they could find this girl, but they did before her life was completely turned upside down.
I tell that story just to say if you are a parent, I think it’s highly unlikely that your kid is going to be kidnapped. The man in law enforcement who told me that last story said in his belief that 95% of the children who end up being trafficked, and this is his opinion, weren’t kidnapped. They were groomed online. That is growing and growing because of COVID-19, because people are spending more time online.
Hugh: And they’re more depressed, more lonely. We’re sharing this today because we support education of all people who want to impact the lives of others. We especially want to highlight the work that is being done through charities, the work that needs to be done that is bigger than all of us.
*Sponsored by EZCard*
Mitzi, you founded an organization called Win This Fight. Tell us about the inspiration behind that.
Mitzi: The inspiration behind it is I have mentioned three times already that my approach to this is humility because there are people who are doing this with more experience than me. It occurred to me that there is one thing that every single anti-trafficking organization can use, which is more funds and more visibility. I have a lifetime of fundraising behind me. I wanted to use the experience that I have in fundraising to help fundraise for other anti-trafficking organizations. I also wanted to raise awareness.
I want to talk first about the name, and then I’d love to talk about some of the ways of raising funds and awareness for other organizations.
Hugh: Please do.
Mitzi: The name. I mentioned that I wanted to sell a De Medici chest from the year 1600, we think, and have the money for that go to an anti-trafficking organization. Then I thought, Wouldn’t it be neat if we had an auction where people who had valuable items could sell them at this auction and get tons of publicity for the organizations where they wanted to donate the money? I was going to call it the Anti-Trafficking Auction. Seemed good enough to me.
A couple of weeks into it, I got an email from a neuroscientist who did neuromarketing. “What makes you decide you want to buy something?” I’m all ears to hear whatever he had to say. He heard me on a podcast. “Mitzi, the name that you have, the Anti-Trafficking Auction, it sucks.” “Why does it suck, Terry?” He answered, “You want a name that has a call to action, is easy to say, and is memorable. The problem with Anti-Trafficking Auction is you don’t remember it, there is no call to action, and it doesn’t fall off the tongue.” He had gone to the trouble of finding a name that would be right. He said, “Try Win This Fight.”
I said, “Yeah, that’s easy to remember. There is an awkward part about it though. The initials are WTF.” We all know what that stands for. If you don’t, it’s what the, and it rhymes with luck. You would think that would be a great disadvantage. Terry said, “Uh uh. That is the biggest virtue of all. Names that are really memorable have a little bit of wrongness to them. Something that jars a bit and sticks in your mind. You come across as somewhat classy. For you to be saying WTF is memorable and appropriate. Human trafficking is so horrible that WTF is the right response to it.” That is how Win This Fight got its name.
For what Win This Fight does, it is a 501(c)3. The initial expectation was that we would get extremely high value items. There would have been an auction in 2021. COVID-19 interfered. We had donations for the potential auction that included such things as one of the world’s larger perfect emeralds and dinner plates. Why would dinner plates be expensive? They belonged to Czar Alexander II. They were a birthday gift from his father, the Czar of Russia, around 1822. These plates, there are 14 of them in the world. Two of them are in museums in Russia. There are 12 of them that belonged to two brothers who fight human trafficking. They have donated them to this cause. Everybody who makes a donation gets to say which anti-trafficking organization gets the proceeds. These two brothers donated these plates, and there is a Russian oligarch who wants them. We know when the auction takes place he will bid on them.
My favorite of all is there is a man in Taipei, Taiwan. I spent 2019 traveling around the world, collecting amazing donations for this super-duper action. The biggest donation comes from Taiwan. I love Taiwan. This guy knew I was there because I was giving talks on it there, Hong Kong, and China. Here I am in Taiwan. He invited me to have tea in his home in Taipei. He doesn’t speak English; I don’t speak Taiwanese or Mandarin, so an interpreter is there telling us what the other is saying. I am going to guess he is in his 80s. He is a worldly, knowledgeable person who hates trafficking.
He said, “You’re aware that the criminal cartels are going to hate what you’re doing because to the degree that you have any success in raising awareness or money, you’re a direct threat to them. They might murder you. What do you say to that?” I blurted out—because I wasn’t thinking of it, it just came out, “I am 78 years old. I believe in this cause. I don’t care.” The gentleman got up, pushing himself up from the arms of his chair, and walked behind his chair to a wall that had a curtain. He pulled the curtain aside, and there was a safe. I watched as he manipulated the dial and opened the door. He reached in and scooped out what turned out to be a 69-carat perfect ruby. He explained to me that it belonged to a Qing Dynasty emperor. It had been carved and polished 300 years ago. In case you don’t know or it’s hard to guess what a 69-carat ruby looks like, I am holding up to the camera a five-carat ruby [a ring on her finger]. A 69-carat ruby reminds me of a golf ball. I doubt there are very many of these in the world. Here he has donated it.
Because of some of the extraordinary donations that have come in from people who like the formula of a giant auction with spectacular publicity, because there are four public relations firms who have committed to publicizing it- PBS has already created a half-hour documentary on the donations that have already come in. The idea would be once a week to focus globally on the donations that have come in. But the trouble is because of COVID-19, until that is in the rearview mirror, we don’t know what will happen to the economies. I am not sure it’s a good idea to have the auction. The auction the first year would be in New York. I don’t want to have the auction until people will feel economically secure enough to bid up the prices for these things.
I just was hearing this morning that the savings rate in the United States two years ago was 7%. It’s now 30%. People who have got money are saving it, not spending it. That is not the perfect time to have an auction. At best, it would be in 2022. I hope it’s 2022.
While we’re on hold, there are some other things I am up to. The purpose is fundraising for other organizations. Anyone who makes a donation of a high-value item, they get to say which anti-trafficking organization they want it to go to. On the other hand, if they don’t, I have some recommendations of organizations I think do wonderful work.
Hugh: Your function is to be a part of the fundraising for other organizations who are actually doing the work. How do nonprofits collaborate to make a difference to combat trafficking? What are some of the strategic moves that any of us can do to put an end to this?
Mitzi: If they are going to collaborate with me, there are a dozen things they can do. Let me start with what I can do for them. I have already written close to 70 or 80 blogs in which I interview the heads of different anti-trafficking organizations and ask A) what’s the problem that they’re addressing? B) how are they going about it? C) what do they need? I write blogs. The readership of my blogs tends to be other anti-trafficking organizations, funders, and opinion leaders. The blog isn’t huge, but it is growing. The retired deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal religiously reads it because he said it really interested him. There are opinion leaders and influencers who read it.
I am a professional writer by trade. For most of my adult life, I wrote an environmental column for Scripps Howard, who had over 420 newspapers. I was the most widely read environmental writer in the country for a period of years. As a writer, that is my strong point. I can write articles that will interest people who might not be normally interested. This is boasting, but I don’t think I got to be the most syndicated environmental writer without having some clue of what interests people. My skills from 30 years of writing, I am dedicating them all to writing blogs that will help raise awareness for other anti-trafficking organizations. Those organizations can use my blog, which will typically be 500-600 words, I know that they use them in their fundraising letters. I can get them publicity, and at the same time, I can also educate people ever more about human trafficking. I can educate myself.
I have mentioned that I write blogs about other anti-trafficking organizations. I am just happy to enlarge the number of people who know about them. The U.S. government, Health and Human Services, they do spectacular things, but it’s not widely enough known. Or the Salvation Army. They do incredible things. I would guess that a typical person, unless they have connection with the Salvation Army, wouldn’t know it. Or there are universities who have studied programs on counteracting human trafficking. They all have stories and knowledge. Bob Cancro, a psychiatrist who has deep knowledge of what perpetuates all this. Or people in law enforcement. There are so many aspects of it.
I love doing this because it teaches me. If you want to do fundraising, it really helps if other people know what you’re doing. Visibility and fundraising, they are very closely connected. I want to devote my time and whatever talent stack I have to helping promote visibility. Visibility can and often does lead to fundraising effectiveness.
Hugh: People can vote with their dollars. They can vote as much as they want to. Part of your work also is educating people on the problem and why we need to address it, I’m sure.
Mitzi: It is. That is certainly what my blogs are about. I also have been on almost 100 podcasts in the last two years. Anybody who wants a guest on their podcast, I volunteer. I don’t care how big or small you are. I will do anything to spread the word about human trafficking. I would love to talk about something else that I can do to help immediately with fundraising for any anti-trafficking organization. You ready?
Hugh: I am. If they go to WinThisFight.org, is there a place they can contact you?
Mitzi: Yes. Since you have already mentioned smartphones, let me give you a shortcut to get there. One of the easiest ways is to text “WTF” to 51555. It’s my utter, complete intention to repeat that later on. It’s easy to remember.
Hugh: You were going to talk about other ideas for fundraising.
Mitzi: This is an idea that came from a wonderful woman who I have never met, but she supports anti-trafficking and likes the idea of Win This Fight.
Hugh: Is this Rosie?
Mitzi: Yes. Let me do something I shouldn’t do as a guest. I am going to ask you: Who in the world might Rosie be?
Hugh: Rosie the Liberator. During the war, there was Rosie the Riveter.
Mitzi: I knew that wasn’t going to be a tough question for you. Rosie the Riveter, 75 years ago, she came out of her home and into the factories and changed the course of World War II. If the Rosies of the 1940s hadn’t existed, we might be living under fascism. But women throughout the United States, and I have learned since that throughout the world there were Rosie equivalents everywhere. People in India know about Rosie the Riveter. Rosie the Riveter and the women that she represented changed history. They prevented fascism from taking over.
This woman who thought of the idea I am about to explain, her name is Margo Duesterhaus. I have only seen it by email. This is an idea she came up with. She said, “As a tribute to Rosie the Riveter, why don’t we have a 2021 version of that called Rosie the Liberator?” Here’s how it works. It’s both a fundraising effort and awareness effort. The success of it already, I know of tens of thousands of dollars that different organizations have raised for themselves by using what I am about to describe.
You take a bandana that is reminiscent of what Rosie did. You don’t need a bandana though. Notice I am looking sideways. I am making a fist and showing my muscle. You take a selfie of it and post it on social media. I am going to keep wearing it to remind everyone.
Hugh: Do that. I am going to get a shot of you wearing that and post it. That’s great.
Mitzi: Super. Let me do my Rosie pose. This is a campaign in which I invite you to invite other people. It doesn’t have to have a bandana. The pose is what matters. Rosie the Liberator is sideways to the camera. She is making a fist and making a muscle.
I told this to a guy a couple weeks ago who said, “I totally endorse it, but I don’t want to be Rosie the Liberator. I’m fine with gender fluidity, but I don’t want to be Rosie. I’ll be Rusty the Liberator.” For guys who want to be Rusty the Liberator, you don’t need a bandana. Just make the same pose. Then take a selfie of it and post it on social media. Donate $5 to the Anti-trafficking organization of your choice. If you run an anti-trafficking organization, ask your members to do it. $5 isn’t a whole lot. Then invite two other people to do it. That I know of, tens of thousands of dollars have been raised so far.
There was a guy who has connections with his local police department in New Jersey. Right now, it blows my mind, but if you go to WinThisFight.org, you can see a huge number of police being Rusty the Liberator. They posted to social media and made donations. It thrills me to see this taking off. Who would have thought of it? But Margo did. It fulfills one of the goals of Win This Fight, which is raising awareness. If you have gone to the trouble of, and I hope you do, taking this selfie of yourself in a Rosie pose, you are going to be more aware of human trafficking. Your friends on social media are going to be more aware of it. When you post it, please use the hashtag #WinThisFight.
One of the ways of getting to it, if you need more directions, text WTF to 51555. That will take you to directions for how to upload photographs and what else to do. If you have an anti-trafficking organization, tell your members in your newsletter about this. See if some money doesn’t roll in, and some awareness.
Hugh: In our last few minutes we have here-
Mitzi: Hugh, I am going to die. I can’t stand it. The time went by too fast.
Hugh: We’re talking about collaborative approaches. That is certainly one of them. Is there an association of anti-trafficking nonprofits? How do we know who they are?
Mitzi: The United Nations, I am going to have rough figures, has a list of 2,000 anti-trafficking organizations. You can get to it that way. If you want an abbreviated way, do a search on the internet of anti-trafficking organizations. News organizations like CNN have a list of them. It’s real easy to find anti-trafficking organizations in your area or the big, giant ones.
Hugh: We as a culture don’t talk about things related to sex. You have been direct in your conversation about how children are abused. It’s an uncomfortable thing to talk about. However, we really need to talk about this. We go to the church, and we close the door on the outer world that we should care about. Until we know about it, there is not much we can do. We need to talk to each other about what’s going on, how children get into this, and how people are making an obscene amount of money. They are paying off someone so they don’t get caught or get into trouble.
Part of the work of collaboration is we should have groups. You’re Methodist as I am. There is the general board of church and society, which looks across the street at the Capitol building. That is where church gets active in society. If your church has a program like that, how are we as people of faith stepping up to make a difference in people’s lives? This is one that slips by our radar because we don’t talk about such things. Any ideas on how to get more publicity and action in our local area? Any town over 10,000 probably has a sex trafficker.
Mitzi: It might even be smaller. I’ve heard of rural areas that have it. For what to do, I’ll tell you one thing. The subject is as difficult and dark as anything I can think of. But I hear over and over again from volunteers for any anti-trafficking organization that the darker the subject, the bigger the reward, dare I use that word, for combating it. This is something that really matters. Every decent person wants to leave the world a better place. This is something where your effort can really make a difference.
I would love listeners who would like to volunteer for Win This Fight to contact me. If you have a talent stack and you are eager to have it used, let me know. Let’s suppose you just want to do something. I will suggest things for you. I make a commitment to every single person that if you volunteer for Win This Fight, we will turn ourselves inside out to make it a great experience for you. We want you to be working at your highest and best level using the skills and the time and the passion that you have. We will work to make it a great experience for you. You will get the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference in using your skills and talents. We want you. We need you. We will make you glad you did.
Hugh: That is so great. *Sponsored by Wordsprint*
Mitzi, you have given me a lot of inspiration and a lot of facts. I don’t see how I can ignore this in my life anymore. Do you want to challenge people or leave people with a final thought?
Mitzi: I’d like to leave them with a thought that comes from my late husband, Frank Perdue. It has to do with philanthropy. This is something that guides my life. He said, “If you want to be happy, think what you can do for someone else. On the other hand, if you really want to be miserable, think what’s owed to you.”
Hugh: Profound words that live on. Mitzi Perdue, the gift of your time and wisdom and energy today will pay many dividends for many people. Thank you so much.