WASHINGTON, D.C. – Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors, announced today that it has named Erica May Scherzer as an ambassador for the organization. Erica is a human rights advocate who has long-supported nonprofit causes in the regions she has lived. Erica joins Polaris to fight for greater resources and action against the $150 billion a year criminal industry that continues to exploit 20.9 million people in forms of modern slavery worldwide.
Erica is focusing her attention on advocating for stronger anti-human trafficking legislation at the federal level, working with everyone from constituents to Members of Congress to ensure survivors of human trafficking not only have a voice, but greater support as they work to rebuild their lives. Erica’s first string of meetings with Members and Congressional staff began at the end of September. Erica, who moved to Washington, D.C. when her husband, Max, signed with the Washington Nationals in January 2015, lives in the D.C. region during the baseball season and Phoenix, Arizona, in the off-season.
“I’ve had the tremendous honor to meet countless people receiving services from nonprofits across the country and they continue to inspire me. As I’ve traveled throughout the U.S., I’ve not only learned that my activism and community work for vulnerable populations is intertwined with human trafficking, but that survivors need more support from all levels of government,” said Erica May Scherzer, Polaris Ambassador. “I’m honored to join Polaris to equip communities to address and prevent human trafficking so we can ultimately disrupt these exploitative networks and restore freedom to survivors.”
“Polaris is thrilled to have Erica on our team, as she builds upon her indelible impact in D.C., Arizona, and Michigan by supporting America’s most vulnerable populations nationally,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris. “The fight against human trafficking remains severely out-matched. Traffickers continue to reap billions in profits while anti-trafficking work is chronically underfunded. Our nation not only needs stronger laws, but more financial resources from government at all levels to ensure the laws that are passed are implemented effectively. Erica’s voice is indispensable to this work.”
Erica first met Polaris staff in Spring 2015, and has volunteered in Polaris’s Washington, D.C. office since the beginning of September. She has attended numerous training sessions with staff at Polaris, which operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline and the BeFree Textline.
Originally from Colorado, Erica has thrown herself into a variety of causes, such as women’s empowerment, education, at-risk children, animal welfare, and endangered species conservation in Arizona, Michigan, and D.C. Erica has already had a profound impact on the D.C. region since moving here in January. Earlier this year, Erica rallied other Washington Nationals spouses to support the team’s “Night OUT” event, the largest LGBT community night in professional sports. Over 3,000 people attended in 2015. Erica also helped start a women’s empowerment program at the Nationals’ Youth Baseball Academy, which held its first event in August with 16 scholar athletes.
People can receive help or report a tip of suspected human trafficking by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a text to Polaris at “BeFree” (233733).
Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris acts as a catalyst to systemically disrupt the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. By working with government leaders, the world’s leading technology corporations, and local partners, Polaris equips communities to identify, report, and prevent human trafficking. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.