Sixth Annual “Priceless” Luncheon Addresses Human Trafficking

Keynote speaker Deidre Pujols shares her vision in helping vulnerable populations

Dr. Sandra Morgan, Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWF) director, is on a mission. Her passion is to eradicate human trafficking. With a pediatric nursing background, Morgan began her anti-trafficking work in Athens, Greece in 1994 by serving on the board of the Athens International Nurses Association. After returning to the U.S., she volunteered with the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force and began to work with Waymakers, a nonprofit that serves as administrator of the task force. In 2010, Dr. Morgan became director of the GCWJ, which provides training and resources to enable leaders to promote justice against human trafficking and modern day slavery.

“Our work over the last 15 years has been to study the complex issue of human trafficking in our own backyard and beyond,” says Morgan, who is recognized globally for her expertise in combating human trafficking and working to end violence against women.

The sixth annual “Priceless” fundraising luncheon in support of the GCFWJ is being held September 22 at the Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach and will feature keynote speaker Deidre Pujols, wife of acclaimed Angels first baseman Albert Pujols.

In November, 2016, after traveling around the world to learn about human trafficking and other exploitations, Deidre founded Open Gate International, dedicated to identifying vocational opportunities throughout the world that will provide vulnerable individuals the opportunity to gain independent economic success.

 “We want to give them a chance to be legitimately trained and employed,” Deidre says, to which Morgan adds, “Deidre’s vision of offering job training to human trafficking survivors and to those at-risk drew me immediately to her organization.”

In addition to supporting survivors, Deidre is bringing the issue of human trafficking to the big leagues through Strike Out Slavery, an initiative founded in 2017 to encourage baseball fans to learn about modern day slavery. Strike Out Slavery Day will take place on September 15, 2018, at Angel Stadium, with a pregame awareness festival and headliner Nick Jonas entertaining at a post-game concert.

Albert is solidly behind Deidre.

“Over the last two and half years, I have seen my wife travel across the globe learning about and fighting the issue of human trafficking. She has supported me in my career, and now I know it’s my time to support her as she fights for these important issues. I’m blessed to jump aboard with her on this fight.”

“He is my biggest supporter,” Deidre says. “And, Dr. Morgan is amazing! She has been a big supporter of Open Gate International since we started. I am honored to be keynote speaker at the ‘Priceless’ luncheon and look forward to meeting people doing powerful things in addressing human trafficking.”

Stacy Jewell, an award-winning artist and anti-human trafficking advocate, will be speaking at the “Priceless” event.

“Her value as a survivor advocate informs the work of Open Gate International and the education platform of the Global Center for Women and Justice,” Morgan says.

 Statistics state that human trafficking enslaves 45.8 million people in 167 countries. Morgan educates politicians, law enforcement, educators, and healthcare practitioners, both here and around the globe, with cutting-edge practices in trafficking prevention and changing laws to prosecute perpetrators and sex purchasers to the fullest extent.

“Everyone has a platform to use in this battle,” Morgan says. “Deidre has her sports and culinary arts platforms, and I use my nursing and education platforms. We want everyone to understand that they have a platform and a part in ending human trafficking.”

Visit Vanguard.edu/Priceless for tickets and information.

Sidebar: Dr. Sandra Morgan and Deidre Pujols find common ground in fighting human trafficking.