Summer 2024

Bears tight end Trey Burton using football to raise money for human rights organization IJM

Trey Burton might be best known in Philadelphia for his “Philly Special” touchdown pass in the Super Bowl, but he’s now in his first season with the Chicago Bears after signing a four-year deal this offseason.

With a heart to help others, Burton has decided to use his platform as a football player, and the production he has on the field, to help those trapped in sex trafficking and slavery around the world.

“God tells us at the end of James 1 to take care of the orphans and widows in their distress,” Burton told Sports Spectrum. “My family and I feel like God is telling us this is the fight He wants us to fight. So we are donating $1,000 a catch and $2,500 a TD to help end trafficking across the world.”

Starting with Monday’s Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks, Burton will be making the donations to International Justice Mission, an organization that is trying to put an end to slavery and human trafficking.

Burton has been an advocate for IJM since his rookie year, and has traveled to the Dominican Republic the past two years. On the first trip, he visited IJM’s field office, met with government officials and police officers who supported IJM, and saw how the staff conducts its daily operations. On the second trip this summer, he went with a group of NFL players and met with the country’s vice president, Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez.

He wrote about his trip to the DR for The Increase in July:

This is what God is calling me to do. As a professional athlete, we gain more notice and often will gain access to people or places that others might not have easy access to. When we arrived at the Vice President’s office, she saw me and said, “I saw you make that pass in the Super Bowl! You are my favorite player!” I was a bit shocked. I know people around the world watch the Super Bowl, but you don’t fully expect this from other countries. The headline in every D.R. news and sports media outlet during our trip there shared that NFL players care.

I believe God gives us these abilities and privileges in order to glorify Him. This is not something I take lightly — we’re here to do His work. I’m 100 percent certain that sex trafficking is an issue God hates; He tells us in His Word that He wants us to care for the orphan, the widow and those in distress (James 1:27). What’s happening around the world is unspeakable. There are more than 40 million people in slavery around the world today, more than any other time in history. No one should ever have to endure these things.

You can learn more about IJM’s work by watching the podcast Gary Haugen, the founder and CEO, did with Sports Spectrum back in December 2017.

The Bears and Seahawks kick off Monday on ESPN at 8:15 p.m. ET. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season.

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