A few weeks ago, Benjamin Watson and Matthew Slater of the defending-champion New England Patriots invited a guest to lead the team’s couples Bible study — Philip Langford, who serves as President of the U.S. division of International Justice Mission.
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In addition to the Bible study, Langford talked about IJM, a global, Christian organization that protects people in poverty from violence. It partners with local authorities in 11 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and other forms of abuse against people who are poor. IJM aims to rescue and restore victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and help strengthen public justice systems.
Those in attendance were moved. After hearing Langford speak, they wanted to help combat human trafficking and be a part of what God is doing. By the end of the night, the players and their spouses had decided to create a “pledging” campaign for their first playoff game, which takes place Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET against Tennessee in New England.
Coinciding with National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Watson, Slater and several teammates are leading a group effort to pledge a combined $2,000 per point scored by the Patriots during the wild-card game. The funds will go to urgent needs that IJM identifies.
Said Watson in a release, “[My wife] Kirsten and I have partnered with IJM for a number of years in a variety of ways, and I am excited to come together with my teammates to raise our voice and resources, to call attention to and tackle this terrible crime.”
“During Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we want to drive awareness among Patriots fans and others that modern-day slavery still exists and hope that supporters will join in pledging alongside us to make a tangible contribution to the fight,” Slater said.
Through the players and their families promoting the pledge and effort, numerous fans will learn more about modern-day slavery, as well as the solution to end slavery. Fans are able to donate to the campaign as well.
Should the Patriots’ run through the playoffs continue past the wild-card round, the Patriots players and their families have pledged financial support for every one of the team’s playoff games.
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— Bears tight end Trey Burton using football to raise money for human rights organization IJM
— Pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg both in the fight to end modern-day slavery