photos provided by New Friends New Life
Amal Clooney shared her passion for human rights to a sold-out crowd of 1,700 on April 14, 2016 at the 13th Annual WINGS Luncheon, at the Hilton Anatole, helping New Friends New Life raise over $1 million to support victims of sex trafficking and commercial exploitation. Serving approximately 1,000 women and children annually, New Friends New Life provides holistic services for sexually exploited girls, women, and their children, including access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health and spiritual support. By partnering with law enforcement, corporate sponsors, community organizations and individual donors and volunteers, New Friends New Life helps to provide legal assistance, medical services, budget counseling, job-readiness training, and educational opportunities. Journalist Shelly Slater of WFAA-TV, Channel 8, interviewed Clooney at the luncheon, which also featured an update on the work of the organization by New Friends New Life Chief Executive Officer Katie Pedigo. “If nonprofits can make a difference to just one woman, the work is worth it,” added Clooney. “New Friends New Life gives hope. It’s about being resilient and never giving up.”
Luncheon Chair was The Honorable Jeanne Phillips and Honorary Co-Chairs were Laura Bush, Ruth Altshuler, Caren Prothro and Annette Simmons. Board Chair is Nancy Ann Hunt. “Amal shares the organization’s passion to help women and children, and her perspective, insight and international acclaim, along with her wide appeal to the public, helped us to create an even greater awareness of this worldwide epidemic while raising critical funding to combat human trafficking in the Dallas area and throughout our state and nation,” said Katie Pedigo, CEO, New Friends New Life. Samantha Casas, a student at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School spoke at the luncheon before Clooney. She has worked on anti-trafficking projects and emphasized the importance of helping victims.
New Friends New Life honored national, state, and local recipients of the organization’s ProtectHer Awards for their visionary guidance and leadership in protecting the rights of women and girls: U.S. Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Representative Ted Poe; The 2015 Texas Legislative Session; and Playground Youth Curriculum. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas and U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, served as sponsors of a bill – The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, signed into law on May 29, 2015, to improve law enforcement’s ability to target traffickers and buyers and protect and expand the rights of trafficking victims. The 2015 Texas Legislative Session’s award was accepted by Rep. Tan Parker – District 63 and Rep. Morgan Meyer – District 108. With Texas ranking second in the U.S. for calls to the human trafficking hotline, New Friends New Life testified on behalf of the women and girls of Texas, and policy makers passed 20 bills to help Texas move towards a “no tolerance zone” for traffickers and exploiters. Playground Youth Curriculum impacts the lives of young girls by educating them and empowering them with the language, skills and resources they need to protect themselves and their peers from sexual exploitation and trafficking. For more information, visit www.newfriendsnewlife.org.