I recently spoke at Florida Awareness Day, a large anti-trafficking rally in Orlando sponsored by the Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force.
More than 1,500 people attended and found out that trafficking is happening right in their own backyards.
After I spoke, the organizers called me back on stage and presented me with the Polaris Star award given annually to a modern-day abolitionist.
The Polaris Star, also known as the North Star, is the star that slaves used to find their way north to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
The Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, which sponsored the event, is a strategic central Florida partnership of law enforcement (local, state, national), government agencies, schools, non-profits (including Born2Fly), the faith-based community, safe houses, embassy consulates, and many others.
It's one of the most effective local coalitions in the U.S. and it's why there are so many arrests of traffickers throughout the area.
At the event, I spoke specifically to young people and encouraged them to be "audacious abolitionists." (Audacious is my new favorite word.) If traffickers are audacious -- and they are -- we have to be even more audacious to stop them.
150 years after the official end of slavery, it's sadly still alive and well right here in the US -- so we still have plenty of work to do.
You know my goal is to work myself out of a job, so thank you for helping me do that.