With the recent social media firestorm bringing heightened attention to missing young teens and women in the Washington DC area, the Executive Board members of NBWA decided to have its hand in raising awareness on Human Trafficking. Many Americans believe Human Trafficking to be a third-world issue and define its place here in the US as prostitution, an illegal and consented act. In fact, there are many forms of human trafficking, otherwise known as modern day slavery. Many young men, women and children are brought to American suburbs as a domestic worker, under the pretense they will be paid handsomely and given the ability to provide for their families back home. In most cases, this turns out to be a fairytale turned nightmare. Many are forced to work long days and nights, with meager accommodations, no access to a phone or computer for communication back home, and never see a dime of the fortune promised. In it’s most horrific form, sex trafficking, unthinkable acts are committed against young men, women and children, unnoticed in a dark perverse world that has gone eerily overlooked in America for far too long.

The rise of independent news stories has shed a small spotlight on a growing epidemic, though there are many national organizations that have long committed themselves to creating awareness, fighting for legislation, and putting an end to Human Trafficking. NBWA recently helped to sponsor one of the most dynamic organizations in the fight, CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Human Trafficking) and their 19th Annual From Slavery to Freedom Gala. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) is a Los Angeles–based nonprofit organization that is working to put an end to modern slavery and human trafficking through comprehensive, lifesaving services to survivors and a platform to advocate for groundbreaking policies and legislation. Over the past two decades, CAST has supported thousands of survivors through every phase of their journey to freedom from counseling, to legal resources, to housing, educational and leadership training and mentorship. Through these programs, CAST has helped empower survivors to overcome their traumatic pasts and become leading voices in shaping policy and public awareness to ultimately put an end to the fastest growing criminal enterprise of the 21st century. The Gala was supported and attended by celebrities Russell Simmons and Kate Bosworth, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. NBWA’s Executive Board, Members and guests shared in a moving evening that left each person eager to learn more about what can be done to eradicate Human Trafficking and Slavery for good. For more information about CAST and their incredible work, and how you can help, please visit their website

NBWA Executive Board, Members and Guests (L-R) Renee McDonald, Cheryl Washington Esq., Renee Taplin-Jones, Donna Harris-Lewis, Mia Wright, Michelle Harrington, Jada Paul, Reggiena Lewis and Keana Essex.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, CAST CEO Kay Buck, CAST Survivor & Advocate Tzighe Mesfun (2017 Courage Award Recipient), and Butch Schuman (2017 Founder Award Recipient).

Russell Simmons

Actress Kate Bosworth and 2017 Courage Award recipient Tzighe Mesfun