After attending several Life Preservers Project events and learning about their mission I wanted to help the charity in any way I possibly could. Life Preservers Project is unique in the sense that it educates individuals on human trafficking and collaborates with artists and other charities to help eradicate human trafficking. After reaching out to the founder, I was thrilled to know that they needed someone on the board that can help the charity continue to grow.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. It’s a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 20.9 million people around the world and the United States is not excluded from that.
“Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological. Exploitation of a minor for commercial sex is human trafficking, regardless of whether any form of force, fraud, or coercion was used. There is no single profile of a trafficking victim. Victims of human trafficking can be anyone—regardless of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, education level, or citizenship status. Although there is no defining characteristic that all human trafficking victims share, traffickers around the world frequently prey on individuals who are poor, vulnerable, living in an unsafe or unstable situation, or are in search of a better life. Trafficking victims are deceived by false promises of love, a good job, or a stable life and are lured or forced into situations where they are made to work under deplorable conditions with little or no pay. In the United States, trafficking victims can be American or foreign citizens. Some of the most vulnerable populations for trafficking in the United States include American Indian/Alaska Native communities, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-questioning (LGBT) individuals, individuals with disabilities, undocumented migrants, runaway and homeless youth, temporary guest-workers and low-income individuals.” [justice.gov]
Why do I care?
I live in Hell’s Kitchen NYC, and have seen firsthand young LGBT individuals on the streets who get lured selling their bodies for food and money. That’s just the beginning, and often times, they end up entering into Human Trafficking because they are homeless and are promised a better life by traffickers. After living here for a few years, I learned about an organization a few blocks from my home where they educate and provide young LGBT kids who are homeless resources so they do not end up in these situations. I joined the board of that organization and have been involved for over years.
Because of what I see happening in Hell’s Kitchen with LGBT and my work with them through the other charity it made sense to get involved with Life Preservers Project as well.
As human beings, we often forget that it is in our nature to give and help one another. I just want to do my part.
Nikki Samuels, Treasurer
Yaneeke (Nikki) Samuels is a manager within the eData Practice Support department at Morgan Lewis and Bockius.
Nikki has over 12 years of experience in the legal industry with a background in international business and financial services discovery management. In her spare time, she loves taking Pilates classes, reading, traveling and cooking.
Nikki currently sits on the board of two other charitable organizations and resides in Hell’s Kitchen, New York with her husband and two pups.