Human Trafficking Survivors and Supporters Gather to End Modern Day Slavery

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Allies Against Slavery Hosts 3rd Annual Slave-Free City Summit

Kenneth B. Morris Jr.

I realized that I had this platform that my ancestors had built through struggle and through sacrifice. I knew I could stand up and do something about this crime."

Slavery exists around the world and in your city. But it doesn't have to. The Slave-Free City Summit is a unique conference designed to create collaborative solutions to human trafficking across the U.S.

Survivors of human trafficking, services providers, community members, non-profit leaders and law enforcement will be gathering in Austin, Texas on April 22-23 to develop innovative ways to end modern day slavery.

Cities are hubs of innovation and influence, where the ideas, policies and products that shape the broader culture are first born. Today 54% of the world's population lives in urban areas. The United Nations predicts the number of people living in cities will double by 2050. In the U.S., more than 80% of people already call a city their home.

As cities go, so goes the world. Allies Against Slavery is devoted to making cities places where traffickers cannot exploit the vulnerable and survivors can truly heal.

The Slave-Free City Summit features the voices of over 20 national and local leaders who are calling for and creating this change. Speakers include Tina Frundt, Executive Director of Courtney's House and a survivor of human trafficking who has been featured on Oprah, Kenneth B. Morris Jr., who founded Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and human rights activist/performing artist, Brooke Axtell, who was featured on the 2015 Grammy Awards along with President Barak Obama and pop star, Katy Perry, to raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence.

All three speakers have been impacted by human trafficking in the U.S. Frundt and Axtell through personal experiences as survivors of domestic minor sex-trafficking and Kenneth B. Morris Jr. as a direct descendant of the renowned abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Kenneth B. Morris Jr. shared the moment he decided to fight modern day slavery. He says, "I was reading one night as Diana was putting the girls to bed. They were 12 and 9 at the time. I heard them laughing . . . I went into the room, and I wasn’t able to look them in their eyes. I realized that I had this platform that my ancestors had built through struggle and through sacrifice. I knew I could stand up and do something about this crime." Morris's keynote will address the relationship between historical and modern day slavery and how we can end human trafficking across the U.S.

John Nehme, President and CEO of Allies Against Slavery says, "The movement stands at a crossroads. We've seen tremendous growth and progress, yet we also face incredible challenges. The Summit is the place where we are gathering people to envision what the future of the movement might look like."

For those who have been exploited through labor trafficking or sex trafficking, the Slave-Free City Summit is a powerful reminder that they are not forgotten. As Tina Frundt says, "I don't think people understand that there can be sex slaves in the United States. The reason why I'm so compelled to do this work is because I'm a survivor of sex trafficking, and quite honestly, nobody did this for me."

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Brooke Axtell
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