Matt Ryan won’t be taking the field on Feb. 3 - but he’s taking a stand.
The Atlanta Falcons quarterback has teamed up with several other players, including his longtime teammate Roddy White, to raise awareness about trafficking.
Ryan and White, who retired in 2017, lend their talents to a campaign called It’s A Penalty, which encourages people to take action if they suspect someone is being exploited.
The video above was funded by North Carolina-based N2 Publishing, which has donated $8 million in recent years to 30 anti-trafficking organizations around the world - including metro-Atlanta’s Wellspring Living.
Ryan and White have lent their time to worthy causes together in the past. in 2014, the guys appeared at a dinner at the Buckhead Maggiano’s for donors who made significant contributions during the annual WSB Care-a-Thon. The fundraiser, broadcast annually on News 95.5 AM 750 WSB, benefits the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Combatting trafficking is top of mind among area law enforcement and advocacy organizations. Experts say big events that lure lots of free-spending travelers can also attract a criminal element.
“There will be more opportunity for trafficking to happen. The traffickers know that,” said Wellspring Living founder and executive director Mary Frances Bowley, whose organization offers residential programs for girls and young women, along with life skills and job training. “A lot of times, because there’s so much mind coercion, girls don’t always walk away.”
The city of Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport prepare for the ATL End Human Trafficking Summit, planned for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Georgia International Convention Center.
“The city of Atlanta is committed to ending human trafficking of all people,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement. “We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of vulnerable populations and strengthen the systems necessary to help every citizen of Atlanta thrive."