Take Me Out to the Ballgame! Major League Baseball Taking Steps to End Child Slavery

Those good ol’ baseball games will carry more weight than simply fulfilling childhood dreams and beating a rival team this season.

A group of Major League Baseball players have pledged to donate money for every on-field achievement to the Free2Play campaign, developed by Not For Sale. The Free2Play campaign offers new opportunities through education, music, and sports to children who has been rescued from slavery allowing them to play, a right every child is entitled to.

Dave Bastone, Not For Sale’s co-founder estimates that there are 30 million people living in slavery today, many being children. Despite this high number, many are not aware of how far-reaching the issue of modern-day slavery is.  Not For Sale, an organization with the ultimate goal of ending slavery within our lifetime, developed the Free2Play campaign to raise awareness about the growing problem of child slavery.

Jeremy Affeldt, San Francisco Giants pitcher, has been the headlining MLB pro to bring awareness to the cause. Last year he donated $20,000 to support Not For Sale sports programs for children who were freed from slavery. Affedlt began with donating $100 for every strike out he threw and for the 2012 season, he has increased his donation to $250 per strike out. This show of leadership in the sports world has always been something I adore. So many individuals look up to these sports stars. They are role models and idols to an adoring fan base who only wants to follow in their footsteps and support what they do.

The involvement of majoring sports icons with campaigns such as Free2Play brings an awareness to modern-day slavery that not all non-profit organizations are capable of doing alone.

Affeldt’s efforts along with those who have also pledged to participate in this campaign is something I treasure dearly.

So far this season, 17 MLB players have pledged to participate in Free2Play. This list includes players such as Saint Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holiday who has pledged to give $500 for every home run he hits this season. The campaign also goes beyond Major League Baseball. For example, the University of San Francisco’s women’s soccer team has pledged to donate $15 for every game they win. The accessibility and ease of participation for sports teams and players is unbelievably fluid and exceptionally innovative.

Yet the campaign doesn’t stop with the players. Free2Play allows fans to participate in the campaign as well. Now fans can not only follow their favorite players and teams as they usually would, they can donate for every home run their favorite player hits or for every win their favorite team achieves. There is no minimum donation so even if you can’t give more than $1 per win, you can still participate in this innovative campaign.

If you are a sports fan, put a little money on your team and agree to donate for every win. Take a moment to remember your childhood. Remember those days where you just played and played and never worried about anything but how to win your soccer game or what trouble your imaginary friend has gotten into? Not every child is so lucky. There are children in this world who don’t have the simplest opportunity a child can have – the opportunity to play.

Not For Sale’s efforts to ensure children have the freedom to play are remarkable. Their approach to rehabilitation through play allows children to work through the human and sex trafficking horrors they were subjected to. As Free2Play’s motto states, all kids should be free to play.

Want to Know How to Get Involved?

Become a part of the campaign! Donate through Not For Sale’s Facebook App. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Write to your favorite baseball player to urge them to join the campaign. Become a part of the solution and share this post with your friends and family. As I continue to preach, change can only happen when people know more about the issue.

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